Jordan Spieth a winner again heading to Augusta National

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Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler meet the range during a practice day for the Masters golf tournament on Monday, April 5, 2021, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jordan Spieth was a 20-year-old with a 30-year-old head on his shoulders when he first played the Masters and nearly won until Bubba Watson rallied over the last 11 holes to beat him.

Now he's a 27-year-old who has reason to feel much younger.

It's amazing what winning can do in golf, and the timing was never better for Spieth. He had gone 82 starts dating to the summer of 2017 since his last victory at the British Open, a slump so severe that even Spieth began to question if he would get back.

He answered that at the Texas Open with a two-shot victory that sent him to Augusta National with belief he's headed down the right road and the hardware to prove it.

“It's actually been a lot easier for me over the last 12 hours to just look forward versus looking back, I guess. That's exciting," he said.

Spieth arrived at midday as the first full day of practice was in full swing on an Augusta National course that was far different from when the world's best players were there five months ago for the pandemic-postponed Masters in November.

The azaleas were blazing. The greens already had that shine on them from an abundance of warm sunshine. The course is firm.

Billy Horschel realized that on the 15th hole when his second attempt to reach the green cleared the water and landed safely on the front portion of the green. Or so he thought. After he took 15 steps, the ball had trickled to the front. And a few seconds later, it had rolled all the way back into the water.