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Masters champ Spieth looks forward to rivalry with McIlroy

Darron Cummings/The Associated Press<br>
Bubba Watson helps Jordan Spieth put on his green jacket for the second time after winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday in Augusta, Ga.

Darron Cummings/The Associated Press<br> Bubba Watson helps Jordan Spieth put on his green jacket for the second time after winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday in Augusta, Ga.

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Having denied Rory McIlroy a career Grand Slam, Jordan Spieth looks forward to a spirited rivalry between two of the game's brightest young stars.

Spieth won the Masters at age 21 on Sunday, April 12, romping to a four-stroke victory and the first wire-to-wire triumph at Augusta National since Raymond Floyd in 1976. The youngster also tied the tournament scoring record with an 18-under 270 total.

McIlroy settled for fourth place, six shots back, and will have to wait a year to make his next attempt at the Grand Slam. He already won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, leaving the Masters as the only big victory missing from his resume at age 25.

"He's got four majors. That's something I can still only dream about," Spieth said. "I'll never hit it as far as he does, so I'll have to make up that somewhere else."

McIlroy began the final round 10 shots behind Spieth, and a sluggish start essentially ended his chances of a historic comeback. He played well down the stretch, finishing with a 6-under 66.

"I look forward to getting in the heat of the moment with him a few more times in the near future," Spieth said. "We'll see if we can battle it out and test our games."

McIlroy needed Spieth to falter to have a chance.

That never happened.

"I didn't start that fast and got going in the middle of the round," McIlroy said. "But even that wouldn't really matter. Jordan just went out and played ... a really, really solid round of golf."

Clearly, the future of the game is bright.

"He's been playing great for a 21-year-old," McIlroy said of Spieth. "He's way more mature than I was at 21."

***

Phil Mickelson knew he needed a truly special round to catch Jordan Spieth.

Instead, he ended up in a familiar spot.

Runner-up.

Mickelson closed with a 3-under 69 that left him tied with Justin Rose, four shots behind the wire-to-wire winner.

On a resume that includes five major titles, it was the 10th second-place finish for Lefty in golf's biggest events.

This won't hurt as bad as some of the others, especially all those close calls in the only major he's never won, the U.S. Open.

Mickelson never got any closer than four shots of the lead, even after holing out an eagle from the bunker at the par-5 15th hole.

"It was just a good, solid round of golf," Mickelson said. "I needed something exceptional."

He was doomed by three bogeys, which prevented him from making a serious run at Spieth.

"Every time I got a birdie here or there, I stalled with a bogey," Mickelson said. "It was a really fun tournament. I thought I played some good golf. I just got outplayed. Jordan was phenomenal."

***

Tiger Woods stirred up quite a frenzy on social media when talking about an injury to his right hand during the final round of the Masters.

After an errant drive at the ninth hole, Woods struck a hidden tree root while hitting his second shot off the pine straw.

Woods screamed in pain and let the club fly out of his hand. He shook his hand walking toward the green but managed to salvage par on the way to a closing 1-over 73.

Afterward, when asked about the injury on CBS, Woods said "the bone popped out."

That amateur diagnosis led to plenty of derisive responses on Twitter.

The apparently gruesome injury notwithstanding, Woods said he was proud of the way he played at Augusta National, finishing with a 5-under 283 in his first tournament since he walked off the course at Torrey Pines in early February, his body hurting and his game a mess.

Woods said he'll take some time off before playing in his next PGA Tour event, with an eye toward getting ready for the U.S. Open in June.

***

Spieth finished off the first wire-to-wire victory at the Masters since 1976 with a dominating four-stroke triumph Sunday. Woods won his first green jacket in 1997 with an 18-under 270. Spieth matched that score with a closing 70.

It was a thoroughly dominating performance from start to finish. Spieth seized control with an 8-under 64, the best opening round at the Masters in 19 years. He set Masters scoring records for both 36 holes (14-under 130) and 54 holes (16-under 210).

Spieth also set a Masters record with 28 birdies, three more than Mickelson's mark of 25 from 2001.

Mickelson and Rose tied for the runner-up spot. McIlroy was six shots back.

No one got closer than three shots throughout the final round.

Woods was never a factor, doomed by some wild shots off the tee. He was even for the round and 13 shots behind Spieth.

Mickelson? He always makes things interesting.

Needing a miracle to catch Spieth, Lefty put his second shot at the par-5 15th into a bunker right of the green. No problem. Mickelson holed out the shot from the sand for an eagle, pushing him to 14-under par.

Unfortunately for Mickelson, he was still four shots behind Spieth with only three holes to play.

Rose, playing with Spieth in the final group, was also 14 under.

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