Saturday, 15 August 2015

Jordan Spieth: Is He Golf's Next Great One?

Back in March I did an article on Jordan Spieth.  In that article I talked about how Spieth was managing to win, despite stats that were pretty average.  He was, at that point, only in the top twenty five in birdie average, scoring average, and strokes gained putting.  I suppose, those are the stats to be good in if you have to choose, but nevertheless, Spieth's rise to stardom is down to something other than his ball striking and power.  There was already, in March, something very special about that young man.

I picked him to win the Masters.  Little did I suspect he would do just that in such grand style, only to follow it up with the US Open and a near miss at St Andrews. Now, Jordan Spieth is vying to win the PGA Championship.  Playing tomorrow in the last group, just two shots back of Jason Day, Spieth has somehow managed to get himself there or thereabouts in every Major this year.  But for a couple of very makeable putts missed at St Andrews coming down the stretch, this kid could be going for the Grand Slam tomorrow.  He is truly amazing.

Jordan Spieth is proof that golf is not just about hitting it long, or even hitting it straight; golf is about finding a way to get it in the hole in fewer strokes than the rest of the field.  Looking pretty doing so is not a prerequisite.  Jordan knows how to score.  In a game where the lowest score wins, knowing how to score is the most important quality, or skill, a golfer can possess.

Spieth reminds me of Wayne Gretzky.  In a sport that requires speed, strength, and agility, Gretzky once underwent physical testing with his teammates and scored the lowest on the team. He is said to have jokingly asked, "Am I stronger than my mom?"  Gretzky was not a physically dominant player.  He wasn't the fastest skater.  He didn't have the fastest, or hardest shot.  But, he had a sixth sense about where to be on the ice and how to get the puck in the net.  He came to be called the Great One.

Spieth, it seems, is on his way to becoming golf's new "Great One."  He is something very special.  If you took someone who doesn't follow golf to the range to watch players hit balls, they would likely never pick out Jordan Spieth as the best of the bunch.  It was the same with Gretzky.  Gretzky didn't grab your eye.  He wasn't big, fast, and flashy.  It was only when you reviewed the scoresheet that you noticed how often Gretzky either scored, or assisted someone else in scoring.  He was uncanny.

We had best keep watching this Spieth kid.  We just may be seeing the rise of another great one.  Whether he will come to be mentioned in the same breath with Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods, only time will tell.  But, the way things are going, I sure wouldn't bet against it.