Jordan Spieth sharing a beverage from Zach Johnson’s Claret Jug.
For good reasons, most everyone lauds Jordan Spieth for his mental fortitude. He’s great about bouncing back after damaging bogeys. Decisively takes the correct (for him) paths when facing dicey forks in the road. And smartly realizes (like any 21-year-old) there will be plenty of future chances to claim great wins even after he came agonizingly close to continuing the calendar Slam.
ESPN’s Jason Sobel believes it’s because Jordan Spieth doesn’t care what anyone thinks–in a good way.
He’ll mount a comeback from St. Andrews and contend again soon — not because of his mental toughness, but because he’s really good at golf. Or he might not win immediately — not because he’s somehow scarred from this latest defeat, but because winning at the highest level is extremely difficult.
But he’s a superstar now, and so we must find these angles.
If that idea sounds depressing, and it should, there’s a silver lining to this rampant analysis: Spieth doesn’t care and won’t let any of it affect him.
The weight of expectations was never going to burden him. Even before The Open, it was clear he would either win an unprecedented third leg of the modern Grand Slam or lose it, but he was always going to do it on his terms.
“None of the historical element came into my head whatsoever,” he later said. It would be impossible to prove him wrong.
“It won’t hurt too bad,” he said of losing by a stroke. “It’s not like I really lost it on the last hole. … I made a lot of the right decisions down the stretch and certainly closed plenty of tournaments out, and this just wasn’t one of those. It’s hard to do that every single time. I won’t beat myself up too bad, because I do understand that.”
Joe Posnanski writes why Spieth just may be the next golfer for golf to rally around.
The moment only lasted for, well, a moment. But we should bask in that moment for longer. When Arnold Palmer came along more than a half century ago, golf was seen as elitist, a country club thing, bland and uninteresting television. Then this Hollywood star comes along, smoking a cigarette, slashing at the ball with abandon, coming back from impossible deficits while fans – people you knew, factory workers, butchers, cops, nurses – chased after him cheering their heads off.
When Tiger Woods came along, golf had grown stale and invariable. Everyone swung the club the same. Everyone dressed the same. Everyone in the crowd looked the same. The unofficial “best golfer in the world” title changed hands so often that there really was no king, no one to measure greatness against.
Then, here was Tiger Woods, a black man in a white sport, driving the ball for miles and hitting impossible shots like they were nothing and pumping his fist and shouting into the air, “Yeah!” And suddenly a golfer – not a baseball player or a football player or fighter – was the coolest athlete in the world.
Can the next icon be Jordan Spieth? Can it really be a clean-cut and friendly young man from Texas who says is modest and confident and whose game doesn’t make you go wow at any point until the ball actually drops in the cup? In that moment after the putt at 16, when he gripped St. Andrews, I realized that the answer is a resounding yes. Spieth is not like Arnie or Tiger. He’s something else, something you are seeing all over sports now: The likeable superstar. He is like Steph Curry. He is like Alex Morgan. He is like Andrew Luck. You don’t just want them to win, you want to hang out with them. A hundred times already I’ve been asked: Is Jordan Spieth as nice as he seems? There was a time when stars had to be larger than life. Maybe it’s changing. People don’t just love Jordan Spieth; they wish he was their brother-in-law.