Thursday, 9 July 2015

Jordan Spieth Obviously Didn't Get the Memo

Quite some time ago, I listened with chagrin as one of the Golfchannel's new talking heads, Mr. Oberholser, suggested that Jordan Spieth would never be a dominant player because he wasn't long enough. This assertion by Oberholser was made, if I'm not mistaken, just prior to Spieth's win at the Masters. Unfortunately, for Oberholser at least, Jordan didn't get the memo. 

Despite not being prodigiously long, Jordan Spieth is prodigiously intelligent, has self-belief in spades, and appears never to have seen a putt he didn't like. Having won two Majors on the bounce, and confidently eyeing the Open next week, I hope he doesn't change a thing. I hope he constantly ignores the inevitable suggestions from other less talented players, or teachers that, if he could only gain a few more yards, he'd be even better.

The current love affair with the power game omits the fact that it is the guy who gets it in the hole first that wins, not the guy who drives it farthest. The list of really good, and potentially great players who have messed up their game seeking to get longer is a long one; but Matteo Manaserro and Luke Donald are two players who have dropped out of sight trying to get longer if the rumours are true. Donald seems to be playing better recently; Matteo not so much.

Tampering with a swing that got you there, trying to get longer, or to draw the ball when your swing prefers that it fades, is a recipe for disaster. For every player who made significant swing changes to get better, there are probably at least three that have got worse. And, once you've tried to groove a new swing pattern, it can be awfully hard to rediscover the old swing even though you often wish you could. In fact the only player I know of in the category of great who made swing changes and got better was Nick Faldo; and he made changes to have better control, not to get longer.

So, Jordan, I'm glad you never received Oberholser's memo. If it's sitting in your mailbox unopened, do us all a favour and delete it.