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updated: 4/13/2014 8:50 PM

Maybe it's best that youth wasn't served at the Masters

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  • Jordan Spieth reacts as his ball misses the cup on the ninth hole in Sunday's final round of the Masters.

      Jordan Spieth reacts as his ball misses the cup on the ninth hole in Sunday's final round of the Masters.
    Associated Press


Not so fast, young man.

Wait your turn. Go back to the practice green. Take the steps that just about every other pro golfer has to take.

Seriously, Jordan Spieth, who did you think you were? Tiger Woods? What did you think you could do, win the Masters at age 20?

You have become my second-favorite golfer right behind 50-year-old Miguel Angel Jiminez with his ponytail and cigar.

You were even my pick to win the Masters, though that admittedly came from the heart as much as the head.

Something about you, Jordan -- may I call you Jordan? -- is very likable. As a Forbes magazine headline put it Sunday, "Jordan Spieth Can Become The Derek Jeter Of Golf."

In retrospect, though, it isn't so bad that Bubba Watson came from behind to beat you for his second Masters title in three years.

Age might be just a number, but the one that matters now is 3 -- the number of strokes you finished out of the lead.

Watson is 35. It's orderly for a player to win major tournaments in his 30s.

At 20? Being the youngest ever to win the Masters? Wearing the precious green jacket in your first appearance in this tournament?

No, no, no.

Nobody should win the Masters if he can't legally celebrate with a couple of bottles of expensive champagne.

A minor winning a major would make the impossible game of golf appear to be easy. The last thing this complicated exercise in futility needs is for a kid to make it look as uncomplicated as you made it look the past year.

Tiger did that when he became the youngest ever to win the Masters and just about everything else. Once in a lifetime is enough of that disrespect to elders.

Think how every schoolkid who skips class to play a round of golf would feel to find out you won the Masters after dropping out of college.

Think how agonizing it would be if you won a major tournament at your age when countless middle-aged hackers would die to just break 100.

Think how over the edge you would send the sensitive Tiger if you replaced him as the youngest ever to win at Augusta National.

All of those developments would be too cruel, so the golf gods decided to tease you a little early before dropping you into a tie for second place.

The gods allowed you to hole out from a greenside bunker, drop all sorts of tricky putts and overall look like this was effortless.

It was a fun Sunday walk like T-ballers on their way toward pizza at Chuck E. Cheese. Then in a flash easy became hard -- a loose tee shot here, a 3-putt there, a ball in the water essentially drowning all hope of victory.

How could everything go from so right to so wrong in so short a time -- a 4-shot scoring swing in two holes at No. 8 and No. 9. Just like that a 2-shot lead became a 2-shot deficit, and catch-up is difficult against somebody who owns Augusta National the way Bubba Watson does now.

The golf gods got you, all right, and you went from stirred-not-shaken to shaken-not-stirred.

Life is like that, young man, as you'll surely discover along the way toward what figures to be a Hall of Fame career.

There will be nagging injuries, opponents chipping in to beat you, days you'd rather be fishing, endorsement opportunities interfering with practice, family obligations disrupting the work schedule …

The world has a way of getting in the way of the best plans, so maybe you should win the U.S. Open in June before you turn 21 and distractions set in.

A good guess is that I'll pick you in that tournament, too.

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