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Masters' was BBC drama at its very best

By Billy Weir

Published 14/04/2016

Jacket in: C'mon now Jordan, he won fair and square, stop trying to take Danny's new coat off him
Jacket in: C'mon now Jordan, he won fair and square, stop trying to take Danny's new coat off him
Jonathan Smart

The facts made it seem like an open and shut case, overwhelming evidence that there would be only one verdict for the all-American sporting hero.

No, this wasn't the latter stages of The People vs OJ Simpson, this was an altogether arguably more unlikely outcome on BBC2 as Jordan Spieth somehow contrived to chuck away the Masters' green jacket on Sunday night.

And why do I mention the case of OJ, a TV drama like no other in that everyone seemed to know whodunnit and with little chance of a surprise outcome?

Well, history was about to repeat itself as the dutiful new husband that I am decided to swap the trials of Augusta for the tribulations of LA and the world's most famous case.

It seemed a choice that 12 good, true men would have made, Spieth with nine holes to play had just rattled up four birdies in a row to take a five-shot lead, so, nice chap that I am, I offered to abandon the golf and catch up with an episode of OJ's dramatisation.

Some 50 minutes later when it was over, I returned to the Masters to see Spieth standing with one glove on, looking suitably bang to rights longing for a white pick-up truck to take him away as commentator Andrew Cotter wondered: "What is happening, what is going on? This is the unravelling of the master."

I quickly switched over to Sky just in case I was dreaming but no, somehow, Spieth from a position of seeming invincibility, had bogeyed holes 10 and 11 and at hole 12 couldn't have run into more trouble had the big clown kept spitting the ball back at him. It was crazy stuff.

"If someone had told you what was going to happen in the last 40 minutes you would have asked what they were smoking," said commentator Ewan Murray.

Spieth's first drive at the par three met a watery end, meaning a drop back up the fairway for his third and then the worst shot in sporting history since Stan Bowles put a bullet in a table on Superstars or Geoff Thomas' effort for England against France. Search for both of them, comedy gold.

No laughing matter for Spieth as his second ball met a similarly damp end, but it would soon dry off with the fifth shot finding a bunker and two shots later it finally disappeared down the wee hole and if he could he'd have jumped in beside it.

"It's heartbreaking to see this," said BBC co-commentator Paul Azinger, who did a sterling job adding a generous dollop of angst-ridden American despair as in the background the Beeb were jumping up and down with joy that suddenly people were tuning in in their droves for the unlikeliest of denouements.

No finer man then to enlist for the summing up as the dust settled on Spieth's sinking feeling as Peter Alliss climbed back into the commentary box to sail the good ship England to victory.

"An amazing day for the English, 20 years after Nick Faldo, will we bridge the gap at last?" mused Hazel Irvine as I mused what the good folk of St Andrews would make of that statement.

"It's been very different and in a way uneventful for two and a half hours, but now it's been worth the price of the admission." And then just when Spieth didn't think he was low enough, Alliss helpfully added: "There's been some great disasters at the 12th hole, you know."

We didn't see Spieth's facial response but I am imagining it would have been the same as that of a young New Zealand back-packer who I heard being told by a wee woman on a train many moons ago that 'we have a lot of your lamb over here'.

Ken Brown could well be related to that woman as when he isn't being filmed throwing balls onto a green to see how fast they go, he chips in with information that we don't really need including that Danny Willett's caddy Jonathan Smart is known as 'Smartie'. What an incredible imagination golfers have.

"Don't go to bed just yet, there's plenty to see," added Alliss desperate that Brown being a tube might have people switching off again just as we were about to get a home winner.

"What a tremendous shot, yabba-dabba-doo," was Brown's next offering, but Alliss, the odd mixed-up name aside, wasn't about to let the young whipper-snapper, well, compared to him, have things all his own way.

"The greens are lightning fast and with the winds and where the flags are positioned, it's like asking someone to climb Everest in their plimsolls with a packet of sandwiches," he said, but it was only Spieth who was tensing up now.

We were never told the nickname of his sherpa, sorry, caddy, but Smartie reappeared when Willett, his round long since completed and on the phone to his wife in one of Augusta's many log resting places, was suddenly attacked in Kato-type fashion.

But this wasn't the pink panther, it was the green jacket, Spieth's miracle escape at the last not materialising and Smartie having a playful roll with his master on a sofa.

"For a fuddy-duddy game it's brutal at times," said a wistful Alliss before Spieth's fall from grace almost became a coup of catastrophe when he presented Willett with his green jacket and almost landed in a heap.

"Oh Danny boy, the green jacket is calling," concluded Irvine.

All we have to look forward to now is the last episode of OJ and co. I think I know what happens, but in BBC2 dramas, you can just never be sure.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good: There are many funny things to have come from Scotland - Billy Connolly, Kevin Bridges, Jim White, The Krankies, the list goes on. But none funnier than former Rangers player Peter Lovenkrands, whose six years at Ibrox have left the Dane with a teeny-weeny bit of an accent. At least we know now what the 'C' stood for in Rab C Nesbitt - Carlsberg.

The bodacious: A most excellent event occurred during Neil Hodgson’s grid walk ahead of the MotoGP in Texas on BT Sport as he caught up with Keanu Reeves. That was no great surprise as Reeves is a massive bikes fan but what did raise a few eyebrows was Marc Marquez going on to win the race - in a bus.

The ugly: On Radio Five on Tuesday night commentator Alan Green uttered the following invitation to listeners of the Manchester City vs PSG encounter: "If you press the red button on TV you can hear this commentary with a graphic display." I lacked the stomach and courage to take him up on the offer.

Belfast Telegraph

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