After Further Review: Race to a Slam


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds. 

On the three-way chase for a career Grand Slam:

With three players now one leg away from the career Grand Slam, expect Jordan Spieth to be the first of the trio to round the bases.

Spieth might not win next month at Quail Hollow, but he’s ideally positioned to lift the Wanamaker Trophy sooner rather than later and clearly is able to conjure magic on a major stage. Phil Mickelson’s window to win the U.S. Open has likely closed, while the lengthy lead-up to the Masters doesn’t help Rory McIlroy’s cause.

The PGA’s position on the calendar, whether in May or August, should shorten the amount of time that Spieth has to focus on leg No. 4 and could ultimately help his cause.

Only five players have ever won the career Grand Slam, and none have accomplished the feat since Tiger Woods captured the claret jug at St. Andrews in 2000. But Spieth slayed a number of demons with his ability to rebound down the stretch at Royal Birkdale, and it’s likely that he won’t be stuck on three career majors for very long. – Will Gray

On doubling down on Spieth:

I hate being “that guy.” Despise it. But I didn’t think Jordan Spieth was going to win major No. 3 so quickly. And now that he has, I think he can win up to eight majors, instead of the six that I thought he’d win about four short days ago.

Whenever someone does something spectacular, human nature is for us to think that it was the latest and greatest and that it’s the harbinger of more spectacular things to come. But it’s impossible to watch what Spieth did here at Royal Birkdale and think that he won’t win at least a couple more claret jugs.

The guts, the shots, the putts, the sheer ability to will the ball into the hole? It was special. Spieth is special. He’s no Tiger Woods, but he’s much better than I thought he was. And I already thought he was great. – Jay Coffin

On the absence of much wind:

The silence was deafening. Late Sunday at Royal Birkdale only the sound of an occasional gust off the Irish Sea and the steady beat of rain could be heard.

There was no handwringing from the social masses over the outcome or a scoreboard riddled with red numbers. On Saturday, Brendan Grace shattered golf’s version of the four-minute mile when he became the first to shoot 62 in a men’s major. Silence. A day later Jordan Spieth won the claret jug with a 12-under total, the lowest winning tally at Birkdale in more than a half-century. Silence.

Without wind, without rain, without a helping hand from Mother Nature, the layout was there for the taking, and no one seemed to mind. That’s a vastly different take than how the golf world reacted when Brooks Koepka won last month’s U.S. Open with a 16-under total.

Play at the game’s top level is such that without the elements there’s not much officials can do to defend par, and its time to recognize this fact on both sides of the transatlantic divide. – Rex Hoggard

On Greller's importance to Spieth:

It’s time to give Michael Greller his due.

Jordan Spieth’s caddie has never played as important a role as he did Sunday at Royal Birkdale, keeping his boss from another major meltdown. The former middle-school teacher is the perfect blend of motivator and soother, and he has proved an ideal fit for Spieth, who can run hot at times.

The best caddies know what to say and when to say it, and Greller struck the right tone on the first, seventh and 13th holes, giving Spieth a boost when he needed it most. As Spieth said Sunday night, holding the claret jug: “This is as much Mike’s as it is mine.” – Ryan Lavner