Monday Scramble: The Spieth Train keeps rolling

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Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic, Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic and Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic in this Jordan-Spieth-won-the-John-Deere-Classic edition of Monday Scramble.

Jordan Spieth said he never considered skipping the John Deere Classic. He said contending at TPC Deere Run would best help him prepare for the Old Course at St. Andrews.

And then he went Bill Murray (more on him later) à la Peter Venkman on the event (warning: adult language below).



Spieth birdied four of his final six holes Sunday and then defeated Tom Gillis on the second hole of sudden death. Will this past week's performance hinder or help his chances to win the third leg of the single-season Grand Slam? Considering no man has ever won the first three professional majors in a season (the PGA was held the week before the Open Championship in '53, when Ben Hogan won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open), it would seem inconsequential. But Spieth is a rare breed. Like Tiger Woods, and more recently Rory McIlroy, you have to consider the unimaginable possible when it comes to Spieth.

1. After Spieth shot even-par 71 and was T-101 after the first round, you had to consider: Maybe a missed cut and a head start on Scotland would be for the best.

Maybe you (or I) considered this, but not Spieth. He shot 63 on Friday and never looked back. Here are some historical numbers, via the Golf Channel research department, relating to Spieth's win:

  • Youngest since World War II to win the same Tour event twice (also won Deere in 2013)
  • Third player in Tour history with five or more wins at age 21 (Woods, Horton Smith)
  • Second youngest to win consecutive starts on Tour since WWII (Woods)

2. Speaking of Woods, he arrived at St. Andrews (site of his 2000 and '05 Open victories) this past weekend to participate in a Nike camp at the Old Course. He also got in a practice round with Jason Dufner on Sunday. Most notable, aside from playing alongside Dufner, was Woods' assessment of the greens. He was "shocked" at how soft they were. That doesn't figure to change with wet conditions in the forecast.  Move aside feels, patterns and baseline shift. We're anticipating a return to one of the great Tiger standards: The I-couldn't-adjust-my-putting-these-greens-are-rolling-so-slow refrain.



3. One person who won't be at St. Andrews is the world No. 1. Rory McIlroy informed the public on Wednesday that his left ankle "rupture" would prevent him from participating in the season's third major. What a bummer. Despite Spieth's monumental stretch, McIlroy would have been (at least my) Open favorite. The course is perfect for him, and if it's playing soft - though, Geoff Shackelford disputed Tiger's notion - forget about it. Except, forget about it. He's not playing.

4. Rickie Fowler added a Scottish Open title to his growing resume. Following his breakthrough victory at The Players, Fowler had slumped with missed cuts at the Memorial and U.S. Open, and had an unimpressive T-30 at the Irish Open. But Sunday, he birdied three of his final four holes to win his first European Tour trophy. So ... let's spin the Rickie Fowler Wheel of Narratives! Where will it stop?!? Where will it stop?!? C'mon, "Who says Rickie can't close?" No, wait - c'mon, "Still think he's overrated?" Or maybe, "Now he just needs to win a major." Oh, there's just too many to choose from. Can't we hear about them all?



5. Scott Stallings was suspended by the PGA Tour after admitting to violating the Tour's anti-doping policy. Stallings never failed a drug test, but his admission was tantamount to a positive test under the anti-doping program, as Rex Hoggard reported. Stand-up guy? Fool's mistake? Judge him how you will. What's not open for debate is the Tour's ineptitude when dealing with drug matters. Commit a felony? Six months. Spend $11 at GNC, based on the advice of your doctor? One year. Yes, Stallings only got 90 days, and that raises another concern. The first two players (Doug Barron and Bhavik Patel) to run afoul of the program were banned for a year.  Nothing says trust like secrecy and subjectivity.

6. On the same day Stallings' suspension was announced, a caddie at the U.S. Women's Open was kicked out for what the USGA decribed as taking cell phone photos of “internal course setup documents.” Paul Fusco, Sei Young Kim's bagman, was escorted off Lancaster C.C. property on Tuesday. Fusco said Monday that he would be back on Kim's bag at this week's Marathon Classic and called the incident "an honest mistake."



7. In Gee Chun won the USWO in her major championship debut. The 20-year-old closed in 4-under 66 to prevail by a stroke. Chun, who has won seven times on the Korean LPGA Tour, is the sixth South Korean in the last eight years to win this major.

8. Part of you had to be rooting for Tom Gillis to win the John Deere. Just a little? The soon-to-be 47-year-old entered this week with nine top-10s in 171 Tour events, dating back to 1993. This was a much of a David vs. Goliath battle as you'll see in this sport. But, unlike the original outcome, the big guy won. Still, Gillis earned a trip to the Open Championship and made $507,600. That's about 1/10th of his career Tour earnings in one week.

9. Oh, forgot to mention that Spieth shot a career-low 61 in the third round and did this on 17. And did we mention he won the John Deere Classic?



10. Danny Lee was in contention to win a second Tour title in as many weeks, before a bogey at the last kept him out of the playoff. His biggest gaffe, however, came at the fourth hole when he picked up his ball in the middle of the fairway to clean it. Except they weren't playing lift, clean and place. That was on Saturday. That cost him a shot. He lost by a shot.

11. Bill Murray competed alongside regular Pebble Beach partner D.A. Points in the John Deere Classic pro-am, and was at his Bill Murray best. Why was he in Silvis, Ill.? Nick Menta explains here. This give us a chance to highlight Murray's turn as a cinematic sporting icon ... Ernie McCracken.



Murray's golf affection was highlighted in his "Zombieland" cameo. We'll link to that here rather than showcase it, since there's profanity and drug use in the clip - and we've already reached our Scramble quota on both for the week.

Dude.

Tim Clark won't be in the British Open because of a visa issue. Chris Kirk will likewise be absent, after breaking his hand while playing with his child. Did Kirk learn nothing from McIlroy? When you're not playing golf, this is what you should be doing at home:



Woods said McIlroy contacted him about how to deal with injuries. Woods said it was good that McIlroy was "taking care of his body first." Yes, maybe while he has no choice. But will he be as patient when he's closer to 70 percent healthy?

Martin Piller won for a fourth time on the Web.com Tour, shooting a tournament-record 28 under par to capture the Albertsons Boise Open. His wife, LPGA player Gerina, watched it via the Golf Live Extra app (company plug).



Michelle Wie battle through pain and discomfort to tie for 11th in her USWO title defense. We might not see her for a while. But we are closer to seeing more of Brooke Henderson, as Mell writes, as she tied for fifth.

Stacy Lewis blew a great chance to end her winless campaign and capture her first U.S. Women's Open title. But she made two double bogeys in the final round and finished T-3, three back.

The USGA announced a new attendance record for the U.S. Women's Open, with a reported 134,016 for the week at Lancaster Country Club.



And we leave you with this. When that happens, do you wash the pants to try and save them or just throw them away?