Insight, a jab and disaster: This Jordan Spieth-Michael Greller exchange is the best
Jordan Spieth was wrong.
Michael Greller was right.
We were all winners.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. The dialogue between Spieth the golfer and Greller his caddie has turned into a must-listen affair over the years, oftentimes because Spieth desires to play the impossible, Greller wants the possible and they debate. TV mics have become wise to follow the pair along, which they did during a sequence during Saturday’s third round of the BMW Championship.
Tied for the lead at that point, Spieth had hit his tee shot on the par-4 5th at Wilmington Country Club into a left fairway bunker, at the start of its front upslope. The flag was 158 yards away. Water short and left of the green was about 10 yards closer. There was a patch of grass in between. And the conversation started.
“I mean, this is the same as where I was in yesterday,” Spieth said as he stood in the bunker. “So if I strike it well, if it’s up, it’s on the green.”
“Yeah, I know,” Greller said. “What’s wrong with hitting right here, having a wedge to 15 feet?”
Spieth wanted to go for it. Greller was looking at a shot out to the right, away from the water. Remember those cartoons where there’s an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other? This is kinda that. Spieth and Greller continued their discussion.
“Because I think that if — I mean, prioritize getting it up, and it comes out either fat or it doesn’t quite and it kinda hits the grass, the chances of it going up into that water is so slim,” Spieth said. “Like it would be short and now I need to hit the same wedge shot 20 feet right, but I think I can get it up and out and/or I can get a 9 [iron] to the right. But I still think going long is better. I’m just going to try to hit it really high.”
“You want to see how a 9 feels at that right bunker?” Greller said.
The caddie tried again. The conversation continued.
“No, I don’t think it makes that much of a difference,” Spieth said. “I’m still going at the middle of the green. I’m on an upslope. Just trying to throw it straight up into the air, as long as you think that’s enough. It’s not supposed to be a hurt wind, right?”
“Yeah, it mainly is a bunch of hurt,” Greller said.
“From this angle?” Spieth asked.
“Look at the compass,” Greller said.
At this point, Spieth walked over to Greller and looked at the yardage book. The conversation continued.
“South would help, southwest would be helping,” Spieth said. “This angle would be pretty neutral.”
“Yeah,” Greller said.
“Stand into it and see,” Spieth said.
Spieth went back to his ball. The conversation continued, though it was reaching its end.
So Greller got pointed.
“I just feel it’s a cool Tuesday, Wednesday shot,” he said. “I mean, what’s …”
“I actually think it can do it,” Spieth said. “And I think that the downside is almost the same, OK. This one’s on me, all right.”
“All right, I trust you,” Greller said. “All right, come on, trust your instincts here,”
“It’s a good number,” Spieth said.
“Yep,” Greller said.
Before we continue on, the resolution is worth a note. Greller had lost the argument. Then quickly supported his man. Think of how you feel when you fail to persuade. Though Greller, as far as we could tell, did not react with what came.
Spieth hit his ball into the water.
“Oh no, I fatted it,” Spieth said. And he laughed.
And you probably did too.
Spieth would go on to double-bogey the hole.