Friday, July 29, 2016
The Jordan Spieth Pendulum Swings
At this time last summer, the world, or at least the golf world, was pretty much Jordan Spieth's oyster. He had won both the Masters and US Open, was one errant drive on the 72nd hole away from winning the British Open, and he would go on to win the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup, and $22 million in earnings. All of this in the summer in which he celebrated his 22nd birthday.
In April, he held a five shot lead at the Masters with only five holes to play and we all know what happened: he gagged up that lead highlighted by a quad on the par three twelfth hole when he put not one, but two, shots in the water. He was bit short with reporters and his fans after that, but, hey, that was understandable, right?
What has followed since was a golf vacation that Spieth took with some of his fellow Tour pros (Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Smylie Kaufman) to the Bahamas to decompress that featured some of this type of frat-boy, animal-house hijinks on the golf course:
Yeah, yeah, they're still just twenty-something kids, but how would you have liked to save your money all year long to go on a dream golf vacation to some upscale golf resort in the Bahamas only to have found those guys playing in front of or right behind you?
The season has progressed, Spieth won a tournament in Texas a few weeks after the Masters debacle, but was never a factor in either the US or British Opens. More to the point, he has been dropping some rather churlish comments in press conferences about how "unfair" it is that he is being held to such high standards in golf's major championships. Well, isn't that just too damn bad.
What young Jordan apparently fails to realize is that he himself set the standards by which he is judged by winning the Masters and the US Open last year. Maybe it would be better if he HADN'T won those events, and then those mean and nasty reporters wouldn't be hounding him with mean and nasty questions like "What happened at Oakmont?" or "What happened at Troon?" or "How could you possibly rinse not one but TWO shots into Rae's Creek when they were getting ready to stitch your name into the lining of that second green jacket?"
Jordan Spieth is a terrific young golfer. There is a lot to like abut him. He may well contend for and win the PGA Championship this weekend (five shots off the lead after the first round), and may win a raft of majors and a score of other Tour events over the next ten or twelve years. Or he may not, who knows, but in the crucible since his meltdown at Augusta, Spieth is appearing to be just another typical young millionaire athlete which a highly inflated sense of entitlement who loves it when things go well, and pouts and whines when they do not. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and the NCAA are full of those types, and why should the PGA Tour be any different?