Family Guy: Spieth maintains priorities

By Randall MellApril 13, 2015, 2:19 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Shawn Spieth stood in the shadow of the clubhouse at Augusta National early Sunday evening with his  eyes glistening and his heart swelling.

His son was about to be whisked away to Butler Cabin to slip on the green jacket as Masters champion.

Jordan Spieth won with an 18-under 270 total only equaled by Tiger Woods in the 79-year history of the Masters.

Standing there, surrounded by reporters, Shawn’s mind raced back to all the disappointment his son left the Masters with a year ago. The depth of Jordan’s satisfaction winning this Masters goes back to last year’s failure. As a parent, Shawn saw the ache in his son driving away from Magnolia Lane a year ago. Shawn felt it. The entire family felt it leaving the property with Jordan. That’s what made this day, this moment all the more glorious.

Whatever heartache Jordan felt losing a two-shot lead to Bubba Watson last year, he didn’t dwell on it. That’s what Shawn remembered most leaving Augusta National. He remembers the resolve.

“After last year, Jordan was convinced he would win this year,” Shawn said. “Right after we walked off that green and went back to try to find a way to have some dinner, and move on, right then, he felt he’d win this year.”

If there’s a secret to Jordan Spieth’s success, that might be it, that resolve his father pointed to in the aftermath of last year’s failure.

At 21, Spieth has already fended off some hard, competitive blows as a professional golfer, setbacks that could have wounded a young psyche, that could have created the kind of dispiriting doubt that derails youthful ambition. There was the failure to get through second stage of PGA Tour School after turning pro. That’s a potentially game-changing setback when you’re supposed to be a can’t-miss star. There were failures to close on giant stages at the Masters last year and again at The Players Championship. That intense scrutiny creates a chorus of doubts about not having the fiber to close.

There was resolve shown getting through all those setbacks.

Sunday morning, with the long wait for Jordan’s afternoon tee time, Shawn wanted to talk about the challenge ahead. He wanted to talk about what the day might require. So even though the family made a point not to talk about golf in their time together in the housing they shared this week, they did talk golf.

“I wanted to have a quick conversation,” Shawn said. “It’s such a long wait. I thought it might help a little bit, just maybe to calm me, if not him, to have a quick conversation, about what I thought was important.”

Shawn reminded Jordan to expect to face some adversity in the final round.

“He knew it, from other big moments,” Shawn said. “Last year, he wasn’t quite ready for it. We just talked a couple minutes about this, and the fact that this is the greatest game, and it’s the Masters, but it is still just a game, as opposed to something more critical in our world. I don’t know if it helped.”

If not the words, surely the spirit of the message helped.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s victory, you could see how important family and friends are in Spieth’s life.

He hugged Shawn, and he hugged his mother, Chris. He hugged his younger brother, Steven, who plays basketball at Brown University. He hugged his grandfather, his girlfriend, three of his closest friends. The hugs seemed to go on forever.

Spieth’s appeal goes beyond his skills.

Ben Crenshaw, the two-time Masters winner, said Spieth reminds him of Wyatt Earp.

“He wants to gun you down,” Crenshaw said.

But there’s another dominating element to Spieth. He also reminds you of Bobby Jones. There’s this gentlemanly spirit tempering Spieth’s competitive nature.

Spieth wants to win. He wants to win, badly. You see it and hear it in this commanding stage presence he’s developing, in his confident stride, in the certainty of his gestures, even in the way he talks to his golf ball. The appeal is how he is learning to temper this edge. There’s a Texas gentleman’s firm hand on all this.

C.S. Lewis, the author and professor of Oxford University fame, once described chivalry as the ability to be tough to the nth degree and gentle to the nth degree. That’s Spieth’s appeal. He’s chivalrous.

This really comes through in Spieth’s relationship with the one family member who wasn’t there Sunday. Ellie, Spieth’s 13-year-old sister, was born with a neurological disorder. She is a special needs child. He adores her, and she adores him.

“She puts everything in perspective for him in life,” Shawn said. “As great as this is today, it’s still golf. There’s nothing that’s going to change the world, other than the way players handle themselves out here.”

Jordan talked about wanting to call Ellie after his victory. She’s back in Dallas with other family. Jordan usually Facetimes with her when he’s away, so she can see him. She always asks him if he won when he calls.

“When I speak to her, she's going to probably tell me to just bring something home, bring a present home to her,” Jordan said. “I'm sure she was watching and was excited when she saw how happy I was with my family there at the end. Probably got a little jealous at that point. But she's just going to be happy that I won.  You know, after each round last week, she was out there at the Shell Houston Open, and after each round, she said, `Jordan, did you win?  Did you win?’ And I said, `Not yet, not yet ... no.’  I can tell her I won now (laughter).”

Spieth won with a resolve he learned at home.

“I just learn from example," he said, "and I have some great examples before me.” 

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The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

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Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

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The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.

Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)