Jordan Spieth is still only 26 but he's still made it as No. 5 in our Player of the Decade countdown. Here's how the Texan set the golfing world alight this past decade
One beauty of Jordan Spieth is that, even seven years into his professional career, many of us are still unsure what to make of him. Four years ago there was half a chance that he was going to do the annual Grand Slam, something even Tiger never managed, most recently he didn’t even make it onto the Presidents Cup team.
Is he overrated or underrated? He’s won three majors so far, where would you set the spread at how many majors he’s going to end up?
He’s only 26 so is three years younger than Brooks Koepka, so there’s plenty of time to work out the perceived swing kinks, he’s always going to hole enough putts though maybe not at the rate of the 2015 vintage and the mind is as sharp as a tack.
But, Spieth being Spieth, it appears that this particular strength can also be a genuine weakness. He’s a bit like Rory McIlroy in that he’s pretty easy to read when things aren’t going well and, also like Rory, he’s got some genuine demons when it comes to Augusta National.
If either player was offered a round Mulligan then you would hazard a guess that McIlroy would plump for the 2011 Masters while Spieth would opt for the 2016 version.
After four straight birdies Spieth reached the turn in 32 for a five-shot lead and they were thumbing the rail for a 40 regular jacket, half an hour later he had barely reached Rae’s Creek with his pitch at the 12th. Incredibly he birdied two of the next three holes.
- Spieth: Augusta is the Mecca of golf
Fast forward to Birkdale and another period where time stood still, almost literally, as he bounced around the equipment trucks trying to work out where to take a penalty drop after an horrific drive at the 13th.
Another lead was going south, a fifth bogey was about to go on the card and his head looked to be in a similar place to where it was at Augusta 15 months previously.
What happened next remains my favourite stretch of holes aside from Ian Poulter’s Saturday evening heroics at Medinah.
From a very low place came birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par including the famous “Go get that!” instruction to trusted sidekick Michael Greller after the 48-foot eagle putt at 15.
“There was a TV in the gym and they were playing old Opens. For whatever reason, it intrigued me that the guys, when they made putts, they never went and picked their ball out of the hole. The caddie went and got it on long putts and I guess that stuck in my head – ‘You don’t have to pick the ball out of the hole. Michael can go get it.’
“It was half being serious, like: ‘Go get it quickly because Kuch still needs to putt and we don’t need to drag this on. I’ve already been in his way too much the last couple of holes. Let’s not do that anymore.’ And it was half intense — ‘Pick that ball out of the hole’.”
As for his major haul this time in 10 years I’ll go with six.
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