—After giving up the lead on the back nine on a sunny afternoon at Augusta, some people might have confused Jordan Spieth with legends of times past, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and others who have won, then lost in dramatic fashion.
So anxious are we to call something a choke job that isn’t.
The list of players who have led headed into the back nine of a major golf tournament goes on further than the longest par 5 at Augusta. And no doubt there is pressure that can and will affect even the coolest pro golfer’s play. It’s easier to play from behind.
Spieth got a bad bounce on the 12th hole when his tee shot landed in the drink. A bad bounce is not a choke. A choke is a series of repeatable easy, routine shots or swings that go wrong.
Fortunately for us, Spieth is not one of those guys who will dwell on this forever.
And I don’t think he has the pressure of those gentlemen listed in the same breath. Not yet. He’s still new enough. We’re waiting to see what he’ll accomplish.
If for instance we compare Spieth to Woods, the first similarity is they are both highly competitive. Thus, both golfers are prone to the downer-let downs of losing. However, Woods is a sheer competitor and his adrenaline fuels his skill, whereas Spieth is a craftsman and artist (especially around the greens) and thus his skills and craft fuel his competitive spirit. That’s not to say Tiger is not as skilled or more skilled than anyone to play the game. He’s won a lot more than Spieth. But Spieth’s approach would lend its self to a quicker and more stable equilibrium. And I still think Tiger’s the greatest of his generation and right up there with Nicklaus.
And as Spieth placed the Green Jacket on Danny he did so with the kind of sportsmanship and losing in grace that guys like Jack Nicklaus would admire.
Here’s what Jack Nicklaus wrote Sunday night, and posted on his official Twitter account:
“I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth. He had a chance to do something truly special and something very few have done before—and be the youngest to accomplish that—and he just didn’t pull through. My heart goes out to him for what happened, but I know that Jordan is a young man who will certainly learn from this experience and there will be some good that comes out of this for him. He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful young man.”
I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth. He had a chance to do something truly special and… https://t.co/v4XtUhqwbI
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) April 11, 2016
You could of course see the heartbreak, but don’t worry the kid is young oh so young and the good news for golf fans and Spieth himself there’s still a lot of golf yet to be played.