Notebook: Jordan Spieth gets famous locker mate at Augusta
By Doug Ferguson
Jordan Spieth returned to Augusta National last week for the first time since his four-shot victory in the Masters. He saw his name on the permanent Masters trophy. He was treated like an honorary member. And he checked out the new Champions Locker Room.
Augusta National has champions share a locker, and the 22-year-old Texan was curious.
"I walked up to see who I was with," Spieth told Golfweek magazine. "And I share a locker with Arnold Palmer. So it was a very special moment there."
He might have recognized one other thing in that locker room – his 60-degree wedge that he used to win the Masters.
The club asks champions to donate one club that was meaningful in their victory. That wedge is what Spieth used to hit a flop shot over the edge of a bunker on the 18th hole in the third round for an unlikely par save to keep his lead at four shots.
After next year's Masters, the club will be brought down to the Grill Room with the rest of the clubs donated over the years.
KOEPKA'S LONG BREAK: Brooks Koepka, who rarely describes his personality without mentioning the word "chill," should be plenty rested by the time the Florida swing starts on Feb. 25 with his hometown event at the Honda Classic.
Koepka will have played three tournaments during a three-month stretch.
He missed the cut in Las Vegas on Oct. 23. He didn't play again until the Hero World Challenge. He will tee it up at Kapalua at the start of the year. And he will defend his title in the Phoenix Open.
"I love golf," he said. "But not every single day."
He didn't touch a club from Las Vegas until a week before going to the Bahamas and said he felt excited, a feeling he had not had since after the PGA Championship. That's understandable considering Koepka played 13 times in a 16-week stretch from the Scottish Open through Las Vegas. Part of that was the FedExCup schedule, along with his bid to make the Presidents Cup team.
"You take time off when you can," Koepka said. "All we try to do is have everything click at the beginning of April. That's when you want your game to peak."
DIVOTS: Fifteen players are expected to be added to the 2015 Masters when the world ranking is finalized next week. The only tournament on the schedule is the Philippine Open, which will not affect the top 50. Lee Westwood reached No. 50 with his tie for second in the Thailand Open last week. ... The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook is open again after a six-month restoration project that involves re-grassing all the fairways and rough, rebuilding each green and reshaping the bunkers. Jordan Spieth is to defend his title at Innisbrook in the Valspar Championship on March 10-13. ... Keith Hansen of Providence, Utah, who has worked as a rules official at more than 80 USGA championships, has been selected to receive the 2016 Joe Dey Award for volunteer service to the USGA. He will receive the award Feb. 6 at the USGA's annual meeting in San Diego.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has been No. 1 on the PGA Tour's career money list for all but four years of his career.
FINAL WORD: "You have the smallest purse of the year with the best field of the year. Why? Because fathers are playing with their sons." – Jack Nicklaus on the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
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