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Thursday, 7 January 2016

No Respect

The tournament directors, and/or organizers apparently have some explaining to do, not featuring Patrick Reed, the defending champion, on any of their marquees.  Whether this slight was intentional or not, with a guy like Reed, this had to serve as some extra motivation this week.

Sure enough, Reed went out and produced the round of the day, making eagle on the last hole to seize a one shot lead from, who else, his playing partner, Jordan Spieth.  Reed is not exactly poster-boy material.  He doesn't sport a winning smile, or have a particularly endearing way about him, but he can flat out play.  The message sent by him today might have been, beware of the cheesed-off golfer.

As for Spieth, what can you say?  He just goes out there and makes a score.  You watch him and, other than making putts, you can't figure out how he can hit the ball the way he does and keep himself at the top of the leaderboard.  He just shouldn't be as good as he is.  In that field of 32, there has to be at least twenty guys who hit it as well, or better, than Jordan Spieth.  And yet, other than Patrick Reed, he outplayed them all.

As his university coach pointed out, in a state that has produced some great champions over the years, Spieth is the only one to have won three straight Texas State High School championships.  He is just that special a player.  And success at a young age is apparently a huge predictor of future success.  He may not be the best in any statistical category, except perhaps putts made from fifteen to twenty feet, but he has "it."  He is the best player--the best competitor--in the game today.  

There has been a lot of talk about Jordan being, statistically-speaking, unlikely to follow his phenomenal 2015 season with another great season.  Unfortunately, what the experts and the armchair prognosticators can't take into account is this kid's desire.  He has no quit in him.  He's like the fighter who won't stay down.  It may not always be pretty to watch, but he's going to, no matter what happens, keep trying to find a way to beat you.  That's something you simply can't teach.

As for Patrick Reed; he just can't get no respect.