Monday, 28 September 2015

Jordan Spieth: The Power of the Putter

Once again, Jordan Spieth has risen to the the top of the golfing world riding his putter.  The last two days gave us another lesson about the fact that putting trumps all.  Pitted against the best ball striker in the game, Spieth, who was not at his best ball striking, broke Stenson's heart by making putt after putt.

It could be argued that Stenson should have reverted to using his driver a bit more often in those soggy conditions.  He was playing to his strength by finding fairways and relying on his superb long iron game, and it paid off the first two days.  But, in the end, it was the putter that prevailed.  When Spieth made that forty five footer after Stenson had hit it stone dead--was it on eleven?--Stenson had to smile and give Spieth a fist bump.  He surely knew it was over.  You just can't compete with that sort of brilliance on the greens.

When we think of the great players, in the end it always comes down to their ability to make putts.  Jack Nicklaus seemed to be able to will the ball in the hole.  When Tiger was so dominant, he was unbelievable on the greens.  He seemed to never miss a six footer.  Now, he misses lots of them.

Raymond Floyd said the most important shot in golf is the six foot putt.  I should know, because I keep missing them.  With Spieth it's the fifteen to twenty foot range where he keeps breaking hearts and nerve out there.  When he missed those two cuts, he was missing putts.  But, he's back in business now.

We have the pleasure of watching four young guns at the top of the game right now in Spieth, Day, McIlroy, and Fowler.  They are all different.  Day presents as the most complete package with his power, ball striking, and short game.  McIlroy has some issues with his short irons and his putting, but will likely figure it out.  Fowler has a swing that will surely last forever, and he's got a great pair of hands.  When the putts are dropping, he can run with anyone.  But Spieth?  He's got the mind, and he's got that putter.  

When push comes to shove, it always comes down to the five and a half inches between your ears and the flat stick.  It's a joy to hit great golf shots, but it's the guy who can make the putts that wins the cash.