Jordan Spieth Played A Great Masters And So Did The Rest Of

After an absolutely scorching first three rounds of the 2015 Masters, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth shot a 2-under-par 70 Sunday to finish off his first major championship victory. Giving the performance even more historical import, Spieth’s 72-hole score of 270 — 18 strokes under par — tied Tiger Woods’s 1997 record for the lowest score in the tournament’s long history. It was undoubtedly one of the most dominant performances ever seen at Augusta National.But was it the most dominant? Relative to the field, probably not, because not all 72-hole scores are created equal.When Woods shot his 270, the average player to make the cut in the Masters shot a 3-over-par 291, which ranks 31st-lowest out of the 79 Masters staged since the tournament began in 1934. Woods’s score, then, was 21 strokes better than the field average for players who completed all 72 holes, the fourth-best mark relative to the field in Masters history. (No. 1 was Cary Middlecoff, whose 279 was 24.8 strokes better than average in 1955, two years before the tournament instituted a 36-hole cut.)In 2015, the field averaged a 72-hole score of 285.6, 2.4 strokes better than par — the third-lowest average in tournament history — meaning the typical player in this year’s Masters took 5.4 fewer strokes than in Woods’s record-setting year. In turn, Spieth’s 270 was only 15.6 strokes better than the field average, a mark that ranks just 42nd among 72-hole scores since 1934.In fairness to Spieth, 37 of the 41 players ahead of him on that list put up their scores before the Masters started cutting the field down after 36 holes in 1957. Before that, scores such as Charles Kunkle’s 340 in 1956 polluted the overall field averages, making top-of-the-leaderboard performances look far better by comparison. But even if we limit our sample of tournaments to 1957 and later, Spieth’s -15.6 mark relative to the field ranks fifth-best, trailing not only Woods’s in 1997, but also Masters wins by Raymond Floyd, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson:The rest of the field was so good this year that a record four players shot 11-under-par or better, and 58 percent of all players who made the cut broke par. Even without including Spieth’s 270, the rest of the field averaged a score of 285.9, the third-lowest 72-hole average for non-winners since 1957:This doesn’t take much shine off Spieth’s week at Augusta, of course. He’s only 21, the same age as Woods in 1997; Nicklaus was 25, Floyd was 33 and Mickelson was 39 when they posted superior performances relative to opponents playing the same course under the same conditions. But as long as par isn’t what the typical player shoots, the field average should always be taken into account when comparing scores across tournaments and eras — and in Spieth’s case, that slightly lowers the historical significance of his 2015 performance. read more

Ohio State announces Larry Johnson as assistant head coach and defensive line

Larry Johnson watches the team practice before the Blue and White scrimmage April 20 at Beaver Stadium.Credit: Courtesy of Daily CollegianLarry Johnson is officially an Ohio State Buckeye.OSU made the announcement Wednesday, naming Johnson the next assistant head coach and defensive line coach for the Buckeyes, according to a press release.“I am very pleased that Larry Johnson is an Ohio State Buckeye,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said in the release. “I have great respect for him as a family man, as a coach and mentor of young men and as a recruiter. He is an outstanding addition to our coaching staff.”Johnson spent the last 18 years of his career at Penn State, including overseeing the entire defensive line for the last 14 years. He also spent 20 years coaching high school football in Maryland and Virginia, according to the release.“In just a few hours I can tell that Ohio State cares about football,” Johnson said in the release. “There is a winning tradition that is important here. They care about academics and they care about players, and I like the way coach Urban Meyer approaches things. He’s a great teacher. He is very organized and this is what I was looking for.”Johnson is set to replace former Buckeye defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, who announced via Twitter Jan. 9 he was leaving OSU to take a job with the Houston Texans of the NFL. Vrabel’s jump to the NFL comes after Houston announced the hiring of former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien Jan. 3.While coaching at Penn State, six of Johnson’s defensive linemen were first-round NFL Draft selections, most recently Jared Odrick in 2010. Johnson also coached seven first-team All-Americans on the defensive line in his time at State College, Pa., including Courtney Brown, who was picked No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft in 2000.Since 1996, Johnson’s first season with the Nittany Lions, no other Big Ten team has had as many players from one position win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year than the five defensive ends Johnson coached.“I am really impressed with the Ohio State players. I just met a group of players, walked out of the room and thought, ‘wow,’ these are kinds of players I want to coach,” Johnson said. “They were really impressive.”Johnson, who grew up in Williamston, N.C., coached a defense that led the nation in sacks from 2005-09. He focuses on fundamentals and forming relationships with the players he coaches, according to the release.“I’m a relationship guy and I think in order to get the best out of your players you have to develop relationships,” Johnson said in a released statement. “I’m also a teacher. I like to teach the basic fundamentals of football. I want guys who are fundamentally sound and have the ability to play fast and to play relentless.”Johnson’s salary was not immediately available Wednesday evening, per OSU. The man he is replacing at OSU, Vrabel, earned a base salary of $291,004 last season, according to the USA TODAY coaches database.According to PennLive, Johnson was offered to remain as defensive line coach for the Nittany Lions by their new head coach — James Franklin — but declined.The Buckeyes are set to open their 2014 campaign Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. read more