Being Jordan Spieth: Want to get inside his head?

By Mercer BaggsJuly 25, 2017, 7:03 pm

Being Jordan Spieth. What is that like? To the point, what was it like being him Sunday at Royal Birkdale?

Pay $20, sign a waiver and crawl inside that head of his, connected to his thoughts and emotions. Those nauseating nerves waiting to be announced on the first tee. The thrill of that first tee shot, the feeling of perfection punctuated with a club twirl. Then the disgust of discovery.

Four hours – a little more since things went sideways – of adrenaline and fear and panic and exhilaration and anxiety and, oh Lord, the anxiety.

And that was just four holes in.

It was easy to see Spieth was waging war with himself. Verbal fits (This is crap!). Animated gesticulations (hands on his head). Finicky movements (backing off 3-footers). But that was only on the surface; this was an iceberg of tumult, the greater portion hidden from view.

Afterwards, after he won, Spieth laid bare his battle, as winning allows one to be more revealing. He was worried about his reputation among his peers if he blew another major, those murmurs in the locker room and on the range. He was cognizant of the pain that would ensue. He knew the media’s questions would cut open old wounds.

All these worries racing through his head as he walked from green to tee, from tee to wherever his ball finished, from wherever that was to, eventually, the green, and back again, all this while trying to win a major championship and complete the third leg of the career Grand Slam, and become the first player to get to this point since the greatest player of all-time did so.

And while trying to figure out what’s wrong with his swing and how to make a putt.

That would be well worth a Jackson, to experience the chaotic confines of that mind. All number of thoughts, emotions and memories colliding in a finite space.

Had to be a wild trip. But could you hang on for the full ride? Push eject because 13 made you too queasy and you would have missed the most thrill part.

One time. Just one time, what would it be like to feel as Spieth did when he made that eagle putt at 15? When the adrenaline comes rushing through like an unbound river. To feel it as he did. To be immersed in it, but not overwhelmed.

The flood doesn’t sweep Spieth away, rather it clears a once claustrophobic mind, washing away all the doubt and insecurities.

Spieth has the capacity to make this journey.

Place it on a mental-strength scale. Spieth can stare over the edge of Fragility and then, without notice, race in dizzying fashion to the other extreme and stand steadfast along Superiority.

If only it was this easy outside the ropes.

Spieth absorbs that around him, like watching Matt Kuchar console a crying son whose father has just lost The Open. He internalizes it and recalls his father comforting him after he lost the Masters.

That awareness can be detrimental, as evidenced by that which caused him so much angst in Birkdale’s final round. The worry of perception, the need to constantly prove oneself. The concern over what Jeff thinks. Who is Jeff? Who knows? But when Jeff gets on social media and cracks on Spieth, he’s been known to take it personally.

Sometimes Spieth forgets that critiques and barbs are Lilliputian weaponry. He’s a giant.

The slings and arrows will be plentiful over the next two decades. So, too, will be the praise. Both will come and go and come again.

And just as he did on Open Sunday, Spieth will have to navigate the hills and valleys.

It’d be nice to be inside his head the next time he’s in contention to win a major championship, perhaps in a few weeks at Quail Hollow.

Of course, such a thing is not for the faint of heart. That’s why you sign the waiver.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.