Spieth 'wasn't intimidated' by big stage with Woods

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 25, 2014, 12:16 am

SAN DIEGO – There was an innocent moment here Wednesday between the 20-year-old star and the man he grew up idolizing.

Both Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods sat on a dais, next to the PGA Tour commissioner, to collect their respective year-end awards – Spieth for the Rookie of the Year, after a one-win, nine top-10 campaign; Woods the Player of the Year, after yet another five-win season.

When Woods stood up to say a few words, he went out of his way to praise Spieth – how he went from having no status anywhere to winning an event, to reaching the Tour Championship, to earning a spot on the Presidents Cup team, to finishing inside the top 25 in the world rankings.

“It’s going to be fun for a number of years battling it out,” Woods said. “I’m going to enjoy it.”

Well, the first battle went to the kid – and it wasn’t really a contest.

On a course that Woods has owned since the late ’90s, Spieth thoroughly outplayed the world No. 1 in every facet on his way to a second-round, 9-under 63 and the halfway lead at the Farmers Insurance Open. On the easier North Course, Spieth hit all but one green and one-putted six of his last eight holes to take a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink.

As for playing with Woods for the first time in competition?

“I wasn’t intimidated by any means,” Spieth said.

Woods (71), meanwhile, failed to birdie a par 5 for the second consecutive day, three-putted the last for bogey and sits nine shots back, needing an epic weekend comeback to win for a record ninth time at Torrey Pines. Ever the optimist, Woods recalled what he did here in 1999 – 62-65 on the weekend to win by two – and maintained there’s still a long way to go.

Spieth, staked to his first solo 36-hole lead on Tour, believes that too, which is why he didn’t much dwell on his eye-opening play over the first two days here.

Still, for a kid already brimming with confidence, his start at Torrey can only help, especially given the big-time stage.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, videos and photos

Sure, he had played with Rory McIlroy in San Antonio. And yes, he was paired with Phil Mickelson on the final day in Boston. There was even that Presidents Cup practice round with Woods in October. But this was different. This was Spieth coming into Torrey Pines – Tiger’s personal playground – and beating him handily, looking completely unfazed.

“Jordan prefers to play with the best in the world,” said his caddie, Michael Greller. “He loves it. He gets good nerves when there are more people, and he thinks more clearly. He’s more focused in those situations.”

Spieth and Greller began working together at the 2011 U.S. Junior. That week, Spieth was listless and looking for a spark, and he found it when Golf Channel cameras came out to watch his match.

“It’s time to go now,” Spieth told his caddie, and after a birdie on that hole he was well on his way to becoming the first player since – you guessed it – Woods to win multiple U.S. Junior titles.   

For Greller, it’s a surreal experience to be back here at Torrey, a year later, after so much has changed. His boss is now the game’s hottest star, and he’s a multimillionaire, and he’s in commercials … and he’s not even old enough to legally enjoy a post-round beer. “I keep pinching myself,” said Greller, who before hopping on Spieth’s bag was teaching 12-year-olds at Narrows View Intermediate School in Washington.

After all, consider where they were a year ago: slamming the trunk after rounds of 72-73 here in the pro debut. At the time, Spieth had no status, anywhere, and his next few months were full of unknowns.

Frustrated and disappointed, Greller recalls bumping into Spieth’s father, Shawn, after they missed the cut: “He said, ‘Michael, it’s a marathon. You’re going to have weeks like that.’”

Well, they haven’t had many since.

Spieth had a win and three runners-up while missing just five cuts in 2013, and already in the new wraparound season he has three top 20s, including a second-place showing at Kapalua, where he shared the 54-hole lead.

“He’s got some kind of x-factor,” Greller said. “I don’t know where it comes from, but he has it.”

And yes, Woods is a believer too, especially after the first battle went Spieth’s way.

“The kid has got talent,” said Woods, providing the early favorite for understatement of the year.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.