Masters 2015: Jordan Spieth eyes Rory McIlroy rivalry after major win
Masters champion Jordan Spieth says he is relishing a future rivalry with Rory McIlroy after winning his first major.
Spieth, 21, broke several scoring records in his four-stroke victory over Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson to claim the only major McIlroy is yet to win.
"He's got four majors, something I can only dream about," said Spieth, who finished six shots clear of McIlroy.
"I look forward to getting in the heat of the moment with him a few more times in the near future."
Texan Spieth, who entered the tournament with a win and two second-place finishes from his last three PGA Tour starts, became the first man to reach 19 under at the Augusta National with a birdie on the 15th in Sunday's final round.
However, a bogey at the last meant he had to settle for equalling the record 18-under total set by Tiger Woods when he won his first Green Jacket in 1997.
Spieth, now world number two, also ended the week with a record number of birdies at the event - 28 - and set new low scores at the end of rounds two and three.
"To shoot some low rounds, make some putts, and hear those roars, it was remarkable," added Spieth, only the fifth man to lead a Masters from the end of round one to its conclusion.
"I know being the reigning Masters champion is going to carry a weight with it. I'm sure I'll figure it out in the next year."
The chasing pair
Runner-up Rose is becoming one of the most consistent performers at major tournaments - in addition to his 2013 US Open win, the Englishman has now claimed eight top-10 finishes in golf's showpiece events.
But, having started the day four adrift of Spieth, he only briefly cut the lead to three strokes and pointed to the eighth and ninth holes as the pivotal moments in his round. Rose missed a birdie putt on the par-five eighth and dropped a shot at the next, while Spieth went par, birdie to open a five-shot lead at the turn.
"I got off to a good start but the costly moments were not getting up and down from right of the eighth and three-putting the ninth," said the 34-year-old. "But 14 under round here, I'd take that every year and take my chances."
Mickelson, now a runner-up 10 times in majors, made a stunning eagle from a greenside bunker on the par-five 15th as he closed with a three-under round of 69, but admitted he could not find the "something exceptional" needed to land a fourth Green Jacket.
"I needed to shoot something in the mid to low 60s to get a chance," said the 44-year-old. "I played some great golf but I just got outplayed. I would have taken 14 under at the start of the week and thought that would have won it."
The Rory story
Fourth-placed McIlroy said he would have also taken his finishing total of 12 under at the start of the week but he will have to wait another year to attempt to complete a career Grand Slam of all four majors.
Nonetheless, this was a career-high finish at Augusta for the 25-year-old and he played all four rounds under par for the first time in seven visits to the Georgia course.
"I've played well over the entire weekend, bar a disappointing finish on Saturday, but there are a lot of positives to take from it," said the Northern Irishman, who will also rue shooting 40 on the front nine on Friday. "I didn't quite have enough and it doesn't look like anyone could have kept up with Jordan this week."
The Tiger returns
Questions had been raised about the wisdom of Tiger Woods' return after 64 days without competition - questions his mark of five under largely answered.
But nine-time major winner Gary Player's assessment of Woods as "the worst driver playing golf" on BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek gained credence in the final round as he found just two of 14 fairways off the tee, to finish in a tie for 17th.
Only three times has he concluded a Masters with a score worse than his final day 73 and he looked to be in some pain on the back nine after injuring his hand playing a shot on the ninth hole.
"A bone kind of popped out and a joint went out of place but I put it back in," said Woods after his third appearance of 2015.
"Considering where I was at Torrey Pines and Phoenix, to make the complete swing change and rectify all the faults and come here to a major championship and contend, I'm proud of that part of it."
The British hopes dashed
Ian Poulter's sixth place is his best performance at Augusta, and his third top-10 finish was built on admirable accuracy from the fairway - he found 59 of 72 greens in regulation, the best in the field.
"The way I've played, certainly the weekend, was a highlight," said the 39-year-old, who still is without a major win. "But it was about the missed chances on Thursday and Friday."
The Englishman ended nine under alongside compatriot Paul Casey, who was "ecstatic" with his sixth top-10 finish to a major.
"It pales in comparison to the top of the leaderboard but it's a golf course I've loved and it's good to be back here," said the 37-year-old, who did not play at Augusta in 2013 and 2014.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson said he "left it too late" as he carded five birdies in the last six holes to end the day five under, level par for the tournament.
The Spieth reaction
World number one Rory McIlroy: "Jordan is 21 and it's great to see - great for the game. And I'm sure he'll win many more."
Phil Mickelson: "He's a tremendous player but he's a tremendous individual too. It's hard not to like the guy, hard not to pull for him."
Justin Rose: "Jordan has put in a phenomenal performance. There are many players in the Tiger era who probably rued [such a dominant player], Ernie Els could have won a bunch of championships if not for one guy and Jordan has that same quality now."