Golf

GREEN JACKETS AND PENCIL-THIN MARGINS OF REDEMPTION

He has seen one of the biggest collapses in sport first hand.

In 1996, Nick Faldo had a front row seat as Greg Norman blew a six-stroke lead to him at the US Masters.

In the end, Faldo won that tournament by five shots, consigning Augusta to Norman's nightmares.

Last year, Englishman Faldo was a little further back as he witnessed another stunning collapse at the Masters, this time in the commentator's seat as Jordan Spieth (right) drowned his chances at the par-three 12th, finding the water twice en route to a quadruple-bogey seven.

It is safe to say that Spieth, who was leading the tournament at the time, has never been the same player since.

And Faldo believes that the only path back to salvation for Spieth will come in two weeks' time, when he stands at that 12th tee again.

Said the former World No. 1, speaking on the sidelines of his Faldo Series Finals at the beautiful Laguna Lang Co golf course in Vietnam last week: "Jordan needs to get back up there again, hit it to six feet, make the putt and put it all behind him.

"It has definitely rattled him, what happened last year. And I'm sure that he is waiting to get back on that tee and put things right. And you can be sure that all of us will be watching that."

Since Spieth missed that putt and lost the Green Jacket to Englishman Danny Willett, he has had a tame year by his high standards, dropping down the world rankings from No. 1 to his current position of sixth.

Added Faldo: "It is a horrible game. It was one bad shot and then it was mental shutdown.

"On hindsight, going to the right and dropping the ball. It is such a lonely spot out there.

"The green is a pencil line there, so it looks like you are trying to land the ball on a piece of green string. You have no depth perception."

After finding the water with his tee shot at the 12th, Spieth ended up dropping another ball and then hit that into the water as well. And Faldo believes that how the 23-year-old American handles Augusta again, and that 12th hole again, could well decide how the rest of his career pans out.

"He has won there before (in 2015) and he knows he can do that again. But at a course like Augusta, it is all about the mental strength.

"If somebody thinks he can win it, he has a shot. He will be just dying to get back out there and put things right.

"He needs to do that to get over this."