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Spieth’s collapse may spark his career

first_imgWith the continuous shakeup of the leaderboard at the Masters, one player remained the constant.As the plot continued to thicken, Jordan Spieth remained atop the field. The seemingly unflappable 22-year-old was cruising to his second green jacket in as many years.Then, it happened. Spieth’s inexplicable implosion in the middle of Amen Corner on Sunday all but destroyed his chances of retaining his crown as king of Augusta National. In the span of just a few minutes, Spieth went from leader to chaser — from 5-under-par to 1-under. Surely, fans thought their eyes were deceiving them when the tournament leader found the water hazard twice on the same hole.He was indeed unable to rebound from his stunning 7 — a quadruple bogey on the par-3 12th hole.Danny Willett went on to win the Masters and Spieth had to trudge through the process of presenting the Englishman with the green jacket. Spieth showed genuine class during what was surely an agonizing experience.Yet these moments are inevitable in arguably the cruelest sport on the face of the planet. Spieth took home the hardware from the U.S. Open last June, but Dustin Johnson three-putted the 18th green on a fateful Sunday and finished just a stroke worse than Spieth. Johnson collapsed on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay. Spieth lost his magical touch on one hole on the back nine at Augusta. It happens to the very best.Spieth will never forget the burn of the 2016 Masters, but the horror story that was the 12th hole could actually make him even better in the future. He has already snagged two majors. Golfing great Sergio Garcia has never won a major, and he turned pro when Spieth was in the early stages of grade school.Spieth’s Sunday debacle was incomprehensible, but the nature of the sport suggests that something like this was bound to happen at some point in his career. In a sense, this experience could be a catalyst for Spieth to take his game to the next level. He is so young and already possesses such a refined skillset, but he failed to break 70 after shooting a sporty 66 on Thursday. A 66 at Augusta is unreal, yet the Spieth of the future will likely be able to card that score on all four days. He erred on one hole, but one hole can doom a player in this unforgiving game. Ernie Els six-putted the first hole on Thursday and was immediately out of contention.Augusta National is ruthless, yet Spieth was nearly infallible in this tournament. His short game was reliable, as he correctly read the challenging greens time and time again. He just happened to err on one hole, and well, that was that.Spieth has the potential to go down as one of the greatest of all time, and he is precocious both on and off the links. After a devastating turn of events in Augusta, Spieth faced the media and came back with earnest, candid responses.The consistency this young man exhibits from hole to hole and round to round has the capability of blinding fans from the fact that he is mortal. To see this golfing demigod so somber was eerie. While he does not provide fans with the raw emotion of a Tiger Woods, his game in and of itself is something to behold. He was still the personification of equanimity after losing out on Sunday, but a certain fire ought to be brewing from within this competitor. This Sunday was certainly one to forget for Spieth, but he simply will not be able to shake the image of the 12th hole.That is not necessarily a bad thing.This Masters moment will likely fade into the background when Spieth is surrounded by major trophies one day, leaning back on his throne of greatness. Or perhaps this moment might be in the forefront of his mind as he reflects on an illustrious career, noting that Sunday was the day that sparked his transition from great to unstoppableThis was a career-defining moment for Spieth. In other words, the best is yet to come. Josh Cohen is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “Cohen’s Corner,” runs Tuesdays.last_img read more

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Manny Machado makes his Dodgers debut, ready for ‘new journey’ with team

first_imgThe addition of Machado had Kemp in a playful mood in Milwaukee.“I’ve know for a couple weeks,” he told reporters of the trade. “Naw, I’m just playing.”Kemp called Machado “one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball, one of the best defensive players in baseball” and said he was “excited” to see him in the Dodgers lineup.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.“He’s doing a lot of great things at a young age and he’s going to help us win a lot of games,” Kemp said.As news of the trade for Machado broke, Justin Turner and Alex Wood were enjoying an All-Star break vacation. A video soon made the rounds of them high-fiving and celebrating on a boat in Lake Tahoe. The moment might have been recreated but the excitement was genuine, similar to the excitement that rippled through the team plane when news of the Dodgers’ acquisition of Yu Darvish broke at last year’s non-waiver trade deadline. This is bigger, Wood said Friday.“Definitely, Yu is an incredible pitcher but, for me … Manny is a top-five guy in the game,” Wood said. “He might be top three as far as talent. It doesn’t get much bigger than that, to me.”The expectations could not get much bigger either. The addition of Machado – “the biggest difference-maker” expected to change teams this season, as GM Farhan Zaidi put it – reinforces the ‘World Series or bust’ presumption attached to the Dodgers.“I’m going to bring what I bring to the field every day. I’m not going to overdo it, not going to try to do too much, not going to try to carry the team,” Machado said of the expectations. “This ballclub is already good enough without me. I’m just going to go out there and be me, bring what I can bring, try to help win games.“Honestly, just go play. Whatever I do out there will talk for itself.” Relieved that the trade speculation will go away, Machado will now have another question hovering over him. Machado is headed toward free agency this winter with a number of teams likely to line up ready to pay the 26-year-old a king’s ransom to play for them.Can anything happen over the next three months that would change that and convince him to make Los Angeles his long-term home?“Honestly, this has all been so fast, everything is so crazy right now, I haven’t even really thought about it, to be honest,” Machado said. “I’m just trying to live in the moment, trying to enjoy this. Coming here, I saw my jersey, saw my hat. I was excited to put the blue on. I’m just looking forward to putting on that jersey tonight.”There is one thing very LA about Machado already. The Miami native is an admitted fan of the NBA’s Heat but also of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant. His dog, an Alaskan Klee Kai, is named Kobe and Bryant is also part of the reason Machado switched from No. 13 with the Orioles to No. 8 with the Dodgers.“No. 8, I wanted to change up, new beginning, new journey, new team, so I wanted to go that route,” Machado said. “I was a huge Kobe fan growing up … so that had a little bit to do with it as well, along with the new beginning.” MILWAUKEE – After months of speculation and an All-Star break that didn’t give him much of a break, Manny Machado knew exactly how he felt about putting on a Dodgers uniform for the first time Friday afternoon.“Relieved,” he said, sitting in front of reporters at Miller Park in Dodger blue shorts, T-shirt and hat. “Relieved it finally got done.“I’m just excited to be here. I know it’s a great group, a great organization. Got a lot of baseball history. I’m just going to come here, try to fit in as another piece of the puzzle that’s already here. Try to go out there and win some games for the ballclub.”Outfielder Matt Kemp memorably posed for a second-base selfie with his future teammate during the All-Star Game. Machado said it was just a coincidence, that he was going to do it with any All-Star who got as far as second base and Kemp “just happened” to be the first National Leaguer to get there. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more