Spieth: Phenom or phoney?

The Scoop

Is Jordan Spieth a genius or just getting away with it? We get passionate about the Open champion in this week’s Niggle…

Joe Urquhart: I’m going to say this now or I will never say it: I don’t like Jordan Spieth.

Mark Townsend: What don’t you like about him? I can’t think of a single fault. His caddie Michael Greller is the luckiest man on the planet.

Joe Urquhart: I don’t know. Maybe it’s jealousy.

Alex Perry: It’s probably jealousy.

Joe Urquhart: I just find him very irritating. The constant chatter. Every time he hits a bad shot it’s “Gosh darn it Michael”, or like when he hit that flyer out the rough: “Wow, that’s the third time this week!”

Alex Perry: I love that.

Joe Urquhart: “Gosh dang it, holy snap hooks!” was pretty funny. But just crack on mate, it happens to us all.

Alex Perry: And we all talk to our ball or let out an expletive or two. It’s cathartic.

James Savage: Spieth is a bit like Harry Kane. You can’t knock his record, he does amazing things, but there’s something a bit Sunday League about him at times.

Craig Middleton: I don’t get the whole people hating Spieth thing…

Alex Perry: Is it a “thing”? Or just Joe? I like Spieth. Don’t we all like Spieth? Or just want to be him?

Mark Townsend: I’d want more hair. He’d like more hair. And I’d want to partner Jason Dufner in the Ryder Cup instead of Patrick Reed. And I wouldn’t want to be left-handed. Or as reliant on the man upstairs. Otherwise, yes, I want to be him.

Jordan Spieth

Steve Carroll: I’d give limbs to be Jordan Spieth.

Alex Perry: Well it doesn’t really matter what you give because the end result is you are Jordan Spieth.

Steve Carroll: The man is everything I’d aspire to be on the course. Tough, plenty of heart, and an amazing putter.

James Savage: His putting is nowhere near the level it was. He missed a few short putts on Sunday, and three-putted three times.

Steve Carroll: I must have missed them when I was watching him eagle the 15th from 55 feet. And then bombing the 16th.

James Savage: He three-putted twice in the final round.

Dan Murphy: Spieth is the anti-Rory. He is doing what Our Man currently can’t. When Rory hits a hook it’s lost in a bush; when Spieth hits a hook it finishes somewhere he can hit a 3-wood from. That’s the narrative.

James Savage: Spieth is smart. He knows what he can and can’t do and takes calculated risks. Factoring what might happen if he hits a poor shot. He’s accepting of his shortcomings. Rory can’t deal with the disappointment of failure in the same way and gets irritated quickly. Rory can’t win ugly.

Craig Middleton: I respect golfers who take the game seriously. So I’d probably say Spieth is one of my favourite players. If he was in a battle with Rory on a Sunday in a major I’d always root for Spieth. I can’t fathom why anyone would hate him.

Joe Urquhart: Hate is probably a strong word. I don’t actively cheer for him.

Tom Irwin: He makes the game look like a weird, arbitrary, twee pastime played by feted, privileged middle classes… Oh…

Alex Perry: I thought you didn’t like him because when he won the Masters you predicted he’d be a one hit wonder.

Tom Irwin: On Sunday the way he played the 6th versus how Rory played it made me feel a bit sick. If he had been playing in Birkdales July medal he would have walked in after 13 because he would have run out of balls and the incredulous heroics from 14 on would have never have happened.

Alex Perry: But you could pick almost any ridiculous shot like that from down the years and make the same argument. Seve would never have won a title. You can’t hate someone for that.

Tom Irwin: I don’t hate Spieth because I don’t know him. I just don’t understand how he does it, keeps doing it, and appears to think it is normal.

Mark Townsend: I think part of Spieth’s brilliance, like Tiger, is the ease at which he makes birdies and not just by holing loads of putts. The way he played 17 on Sunday was very him: drive away from trouble, wedge, wedge, birdie.

Tom Irwin: People keep making Tiger comparisons. Sorry but when Tiger was missing fairways, he always flushed it. Spieth hit his tee shot at 17 on Saturday 235 yards. So bad that it didn’t even reach the trouble. That is not strategy or mental toughness, that is what I do.

Mark Townsend: Not sure anyone is comparing his game to Tiger.

Tom Irwin: Loads of people have compared him to Tiger.

Mark Townsend: The mental bit, yes.

Dan Murphy: Of course he gets compared to Tiger – and other greats of the game. He’s 23 with three-quarters of the career grand slam in the bank.

Jordan Spieth Masters meltdown

Tom Irwin: And god knows how. There is nothing mentally tough about dogging it 235. He always looks nice, speaks very well, and seems like he has a nice time. I just don’t understand his golf. As in it genuinely baffles me. When he made seven at the 12th at Augusta he had been chopping it all week, getting worse with each round and was somehow three ahead. I am not even sure he knew how. Then he played the last six in 1-under, that was mentally tough.

Mark Townsend: Nobody said it was, he hits lots of bad shots. But then forgets them very quickly and goes forward again. Ten minutes after that drive he had backed off a shot halfway down, watched his nearest challenger hole a 20-footer and then knocked in his own eight-footer. Which is mentally tough.

Tom Irwin: I think he had been waiting for that chunk and was relieved when it actually happened.

Mark Townsend: Probably, we all like to decompress after a loose one.

Tom Irwin: What he did 14 to 18 was sensational and that putt on 17 felt so routine purely because it was him. Never in doubt. Which is bonkers under the circumstances. My point is that he should have been doing that for a tie for 20th.

Mark Townsend: I thought the last five holes were a metaphorical one finger to the game and his own head after all the questions of the past 15 months. He admitted afterwards to doubting himself in majors – which was quite refreshing and astonishing – and then he did all that.

Tom Irwin: Oh for those levels of self-doubt.

Mark Townsend: And he sulks, which I like, and has to be ticked off by Greller. I think it mainly like to be Spieth to spend all that time with his swarthy sidekick.

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