April 13, 2015

“I would love to see Sergio win but if I were forced to make a pick I gotta go with Speith – he’s red-hot right now.” – The Great White Shank, April 9 post.

OK, so maybe in retrospect it wasn’t that bold a pick – after all, Masters champion Jordan Spieth had been the hottest player on the planet over the past month – but it doesn’t take away from my amazement at just how well Spieth not only competed, but comported himself from the very start of the 2015 Masters until its end. You could tell from his post-round interviews each day that this is one young man who grew up right, with a respect not just for the game and its traditions, but all those who love it and are involved with it.

Some are already trying to compare Spieth’s ascendance with that of Tiger Woods, but watching the press conference Spieth gave afterwards, I was struck by the similarities between him and Arnold Palmer. Like Palmer, Spieth has a very humble demeanor that masks a killer instinct beneath the surface. Don’t believe me? I loved the way he answered a question from the British media about how much he is looking forward to competing at St. Andrew’s during The Open Championship in July. Spieth said all the right things: how he’s looking forward not just to playing, but also seeing the town and meeting all the folks there. And then he wondered aloud what it would be like were he to be shooting for the third leg of a Grand Slam. He said it with a twinkle in his eye, but you could tell he’s already moved the goalposts to winning the U.S. Open in June. Arnie was the same way – friendly and gracious on the outside but inside he wanted to beat your brains out on the course.

It was Ben Crenshaw who said that meeting Jordan Spieth for the first time was like meeting Wyatt Earp – he had that assassin’s look in his eye. But he also marveled at how gracious and mature a 21-year old he was. To be a competitor and crave success is not an unusual quality in professional golf; to have that and also be humble, gracious, and courteous to all, well that’s a combination geared towards success on every imaginable front.

I think Jordan Spieth is going to go far. Of course he’s only 21, and lots of things can (and probably will) happen on the long road he’s yet to travel. He obviously has the physical tools; I’m guessing he’ll find the character traits he’s been blessed with helpful against the ups and downs that are surely to come.

One thing is for sure: on Sunday at Augusta we saw a new star born. The world is Jordan Spieth’s oyster now, let’s hope for his sake and professional golf’s sake we have the privilege of seeing much more of this in the years to come.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 02:33 | Comments (0)
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