Winning hearts and minds. As impressive as Jordan Spieth’s week at Augusta National was it may have been the Masters champion’s decision to honor his commitment to play this week’s RBC Heritage that says more about the 21-year-old.
The Heritage is Spieth’s fifth start in six weeks, a run that has included two victories and two runner-up finishes, and few would have been able to second-guess him if he decided to politely pass on a stop at Harbour Town.
Spieth, however, said he never even considered skipping the Heritage, which offered him a sponsor exemption in 2013 when he was scrambling to secure his PGA Tour card.
“Any time you have the Masters champion is unbelievable. He’s such a class act and to honor his commitment ... he has no idea how important that is to the community,” said Steve Wilmot, the RBC Heritage tournament director. “He appreciated the fact we had given him an exemption, and it’s a wonderful gesture on his part.”
They say you learn more about a player in defeat than you do in victory, but in Spieth’s case what he did after a victory may say even more.
Tweet of the week:
Jordan straight killing the talking to his ball game this week— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) April 12, 2015
Thomas, who is sharing a house with Spieth in Hilton Head, has been exposed to Spieth’s penchant for having extended conversations with his golf ball mid-flight since the two first started playing against each other as 14-year-old juniors.
“Typical, yelling for it to go and it flies to about 12 feet,” Thomas told Cut Line on Tuesday. “He used to be worse, honestly. He used to always do it. I don’t know how you would describe that or what causes it.”
If only all golf balls listened as well as Spieth’s.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Can you hear me now? While news this week the USGA will allow cell phones at the U.S. Open was encouraging, the move feels long overdue nonetheless.
The Tour established its cell phone policy in 2012, and with a few exceptions the plan has allowed the circuit to enhance the tournament experience for fans via live scoring, shot tracking and on-demand video.
“It's a policy we've been looking at for some time at the USGA,” Janeen Driscoll, the USGA’s director of public relations, told Golf.com. “Previously, the use of mobile phones had been a concern to us from a security perspective, but we’ve seen we’re able to control that and that in this day and age, people are accustomed to having [mobile phones on] them for their own personal security.”
Welcome to the new millennium ... in 2015.
The waiting game. The good news: Tiger Woods’ wrist, which he appeared to injure on Sunday at the Masters after hitting a root on the ninth hole, is OK.
The bad news: we still don’t know when Woods will make his next Tour start.
While Woods’ manager Mark Steinberg told ESPN.com his player’s wrist is “fine,” there is still no word on when he might play again. He will not qualify for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and his next likely start would be The Players, but on Sunday at Augusta National he remained non-committal when asked when he would play again.
“Not going to be for a while,” Woods said. “I have a little time off, and go back to the drawing board, work on it again, and refine what I'm doing.”
Woods has played a limited schedule throughout his career with Hall of Fame results, but considering he’s played just 10 official Tour events the last two years it might be time to adjust that policy.
When more is less. Although the WGC-Cadillac Match Play’s new home on the schedule appears to be temporary, an increasingly crowded lineup has taken a toll on one of the circuit’s best events.
Last week officials at the Wells Fargo Championship announced that Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott had committed to this year’s event, which will be played the week after The Players and two weeks after the Match Play.
Not on that list was world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who won the event in 2010 and has played Quail Hollow the last four years, or Woods, who won the tournament in 2007.
It’s seems unlikely either will play what has long been considered a can’t-miss event. For McIlroy the event is played a week before the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event which would require the Northern Irishman to play four consecutive weeks.
As for Woods, the Charlotte stop is the same week as Tiger Jam in Las Vegas, which benefits his charity foundation.
But then this isn’t a Tiger or a Rory problem, this is a Tour problem. Scheduling can be difficult, but negatively impacting a popular event while you experiment with another tournament can’t be the answer.