Jordan Spieth is no different!

Most people know Jordan Spieth as golf’s golden boy, but let’s not forget one fact. He is a twenty-two year old just like you and me. That means he does twenty-two year old things. People see him as one of the PGA Tour’s greatest players and sometimes we forget that he’s a kid. That’s why this week was so awesome.

After the unfortunate final round mishap at the Masters, this vacation to the Bahamas couldn’t have come at a better time. Ricky Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Smylie Kaufman accompanied the young phenom on this bender in the Bahamas.

For those who don’t follow Ricky Fowler on snapchat, go ahead and put that at the top of your “to do” list. Ricky’s iPhone is a portal into the shenanigans. My personal favorite was the David Feherty impersonation where they said “Jordan’s more hammered than his drive”.  Nothing but golf tans, sliced tee shots, booz, and Jordan sporting the dad bod. What a treat for young fans everywhere.

This just makes me love Spieth even more. Is there anything that the kid doesn’t do? He is great at golf, humble, kind to fans, charitable, and when he is with his friends he’s just like the rest of us.  Even the best of the best need to relax.

Check out some of Fowler’s video: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOIdQGUInuM

 

-R. Ilardi

Willet Did Not Win The Masters

(Photo via ibtimes.com)

This past Sunday shocked the golfing world as defending champion and leader for 8 straight rounds, Jordan Spieth, dramatically lost the Masters to Britain’s Danny Willet.

Yeah, I’m not kidding.

Spieth pulled the unthinkable by making a quadruple bogey 7 on the par-­3 12th hole on Amen’s Corner. Before Spieth teed off, I looked towards my roommate who knows nothing about golf and said “this is the shot that makes the round” with him responding “how come?” As Spieth blocks his tee shot into the water I turn to Chris and say “well, that’s why.”

Despite the hype going into the week, I felt that Spieth was not going to win the Masters, but never in a thousand years did I think Spieth would absolutely implode on the back round. It’s a damn shame. Golf experts are already grouping Spieth’s collapse next to Greg Norman’s 1996 collapse and Rory’s 2011 shamble.

We love to see to see underdogs win in golf, but never do I wish that the world’s best go missing on the 12th hole. We often forget that Spieth is only 21 years old and has had a better short career than many other professionals that are double his age.

Nick Faldo immediately said “this will haunt him for a while” and Jack Nicklaus said “there will be good changes to come out of this”. Both of these men could not be any more correct. Spieth will not forget about that epic failure of 30 minutes that he unfortunately has to go through until he wins his next Masters. Even after that, this may be a moment that Jordan will never forget. Spieth will work harder than he ever did to make sure this never happens again. And for the sake of Danny Willet, it was a great story for him [on getting to the Masters and having his first son] and winning it all. For his sake, I hope his name stays moderately relevant and does not become a 2009 Lucas Glover (remember him, Bethpage?). It was a whacky week.

Not to take away from his prestigious win, but… Danny Willet did not win the Masters.

He won the Masters when Jordan Spieth lost it.

– M. Fritz

Tiger Misses Masters? No Worries

(Photo via golf.clickon.co)

Augusta, GA – Tis’ the season to be…golfy? Its Masters season, the start of golf’s major season. Something is missing, right?

Tiger Woods announced earlier this week that he would not be competing in this year’s 2016 Masters tournament. And honestly, we weren’t surprised, and not too many people cared.

I still love Tiger Woods despite everything that has happened. He is the most electrifying player we have seen in golf, and will go down as the greatest golfer of all time in my opinion. But, it’s 2016 now.­ Tiger is older, he’s deteriorating, and he’s rehabbing from yet another surgery. Lets look at what is in store: The Tiger Effect is no more.

During the Tiger Slam years, or the years Tiger dominated the sport (so lets say 1999 to 2006) Tiger Woods was the most influential player on tour. He had all the media and press on him at every tournament. He got in the heads of his competitors. If you were in the final Sunday pairing with Tiger, you were too worried about how well he’s doing, rather than focusing on your own game.

That intimidation is gone. If Tiger plays now, he doesn’t have that effect anymore. He’s still Tiger Woods, but now he’s shown he’s human and that there are dozens of other players on tour than can win majors.

But the Tiger effect has some positives on his competitors. Tiger took some of the annoying press off of the other players, as everyone was focused on Tiger. The press this week is focused on Spieth, Rory, Rickie, Day, and others. If Tiger was here, everyone would be watching him at the range, and would give Spieth and the other room to breathe.

This isn’t 2009 or 2011. The sport did not have Spieth or Day or Rory playing the way they did. Golf became boring, and Tiger was needed for viewership. Tiger is an instigator. He’s been the one that propelled the sport of golf into a sport and not a game; he increased ratings, sponsors, and overall interest in the sport. But no one has benefited off of Tiger’s success more than the sport of golf.

I wish Tiger was playing. I wish Tiger would win every major for the rest of his career. I hope he regenerates into a bigger monster than he was 13 years ago. But the sport of golf doesn’t need Tiger Woods the way they used to.

At all.

– M. Fritz

Jason Day – ­More than Golf

(Photo via theguardian.com)

This isn’t the first time Jason Day was told to withdraw from a tournament to not risk further injury. But Day knew he could stick it out enough to do something big. And big it was, with Day taking the World no. 1 ranking away from Jordan Speith, then winning the WGC Dell Match Play for the 2nd time in three years.

It’s amazing how tragedies make good stories.

Day’s father got him into the sport of golf as a boy in Queensland, Australia, and didn’t look back. Until Jason’s father passed away when he was 12. The sport that was there for him slowly vanished from his eye, and the train started getting derailed. As a confused and frustrated 12 year old, Jason started drinking. He started getting into fights and getting into more trouble. His sister would run away from home for weeks at a time. Golf is still invisible.

Jason’s mother takes a second mortgage on their house and sends Jason to a boarding school in Brisbane. Many people get several lifelines in a time like this. Jason got one: Col Swatton. “The first time I sat down with Jason, I saw a boy who was genuinely hungry. He wanted it, and more importantly needed it. He didn’t want to let his sister and mother down, and primarily his father,” said Col upon meeting Jason.

Day always said, “I enjoy the chase of getting better,” and he proved it. As a 12 year old, he knew he was going to be something great, but worked for it. Waking up at 5 a.m. every morning and working harder than any other student at that golf academy put him on the track, the right track.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything. If you have the dream and you learn to overcome all the hurdles, you can reach it. And Jason Day did, with hard work.

Sports teach the best lessons. Golf especially does.

Day has openly said he’s never worked harder in his life than after he became the best in the world. The chase was hard, but maintaining it is another beast. He’s had the best two years of his life in 2015 and now 2016, in terms of the sport. He has his wife Ellie, his son Dash. He still has his mentor and coach Col by his side everyday.

This sport teaches you who you are, down to your core. Day has learned that. Now he’s the World no. 1.

No greater respect. The everyday battle.

– M. Fritz

What Can’t Yo Do? MLB or PGA

(Photo via wsj.com)

Last time I said I’ve seen it all, but I’ve just been proved wrong again. From prize winning pig, to horses, to hundred thousand dollar cars. To say Yoenis Cespedes is having fun at spring training would be saying the least. In his latest stunt, he turned the practice field into a makeshift driving range. Lets hope La Potencia isn’t hitting more than an easy sand wedge or someone in a retirement community up the road is going to need new dentures. The man hits a baseball 150 yds, I don’t want to even imagine how far he can pipe a tee shot.

According to CBS, Cespedes has the golf bug, and bad. He played Medinah, host of the last US Ryder Cup, on the morning of game four of the NLCS. Now as a lifelong Mets fan that’s slightly sketchy, but as a future PGA Professional it makes me smile.

The New York Times recently put out a story on Yo’s chronic golf obsession saying:

“He joined two country clubs in Boca Raton, Florida, and collected seven sets of clubs. Every time Van Wagenen saw Cespedes, it seemed he had a new driver. This off-season, he played with Wray almost every day, and sometimes twice a day. When Cespedes couldn’t sleep, he found himself watching golf on television at 2 a.m., studying how Jason Day used his driver and how Jordan Spieth worked his irons.”

 

Cespedes’ Dream Foursome:

Cespedes’ dream foursome, according to the Times, it Ricky Fowler, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy. Not a bad group to caddy for, right?

 

Future Career?

Last year Cespedes said he’s thought about playing golf professionally. He knows that he can’t play on the PGA Tour, but he want’s to take his competitiveness to the links in tournaments. And he wouldn’t be the first one to do so. Former MLB pitcher Rick Rhoden. Rhoden carded three top-10 finishes in senior tour events and even qualified for a U.S. Senior Open. Although he had some success he never managed to get his Champions Tour Card.

Now, Cespedes has not been playing long, but with his athleticism and some hard work, who knows what is possible. As someone getting ready to enter the golf industry, Cespedes represents a huge milestone for the game of golf. People used to think that golf was an old man’s game, then you saw the players on the PGA Tour getting younger and younger. Now we are seeing world class athletes in their own field getting the bug. I think it’s pretty fair to say, once you start it’s hard to stop!

 

-R. Ilardi