Nick Faldo is a three-time Masters champion who understands as well as anyone how to navigate the land mines around the Augusta National Golf Club, and he has been indelibly impressed by Jordan Spieth's ability to do so at such a young age.
"It's his mental strength," Faldo said on Golf Channel's "Live from the Masters" on Saturday morning. "We're all talking about this old head on young shoulders. He's already being talked about having the mental strength of Jack [Nicklaus]. Very impressive."
Spieth discusses strategy with caddie Michael Greller (Getty Images)
But even mental strength won't work with poor execution and this is where Faldo identifies the basis for Spieth's having taken a five-stroke lead over two rounds.
"His execution is just spot on," Faldo said. "The number one important thing — my great partner [caddie] Fanny Sunesson, is here this week and we talked about it — is being able to land the ball on the number. And it's not an exaggeration. Your short irons you give yourself plus or minus one yard and with longer irons it's plus or minus two yards. That is the degree of accuracy they're asking.
"If you're plus or minus that one yard the golf ball heads off in the wrong direction. That is what I'm so impressed with, that 95 percent of his shots are landing in the right place and leaving the ball in the right place. He's hitting his bad shots in the right places."
Ben Crenshaw, who has befriended Spieth, similarly identified what seems to be Spieth's intuitive ability to figure out a course's nuances.
"He possesses a lot of imagination," Crenshaw said on Golf Channel. "First time I ever played with him I played with him at our club, Austin Golf Club. It takes a little knowing. He went around there like he'd been there for awhile. He has a knack for seeing things and playing it. He just plays with his imagination so well. It's like second nature to him."