‘It’s tricky’: How Jordan Spieth is told ‘no’ by caddie Michael Greller

Jordan Spieth, Michael Greller

Jordan Spieth and caddie Michael Greller last week at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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Jordan Spieth wanted driver, Michael Greller wanted 3-wood — and then the funniest thing happened.

History was made.   

Spieth agreed. 

During this year’s Sentry event, he walked back to his bag, put down his pick and pulled out Greller’s. 

“That was the first time I remember actually switching what I was doing because of Mike, what he said,” Spieth said.  

First time?

“First time in a while where I actually switched.”

Greller was spot on, too. He’d thought a 3-wood-hybrid combo would make the best play for his boss — and Spieth proceeded to hit both and make birdie. The story, though, was not meant to spotlight Greller’s accuracy, or Spieth’s potential mis-read. Instead, there’s a certain dynamic to Spieth, and there’s Greller’s role in that. They were explaining it last week on a video with the gang from No Laying Up — and you can and should watch the entire video here — after this question to Greller from NLU’s Chris Solomon: 

When you disagree with something on the golf course, how do you communicate that?

If you understand Spieth, you understand the point of that question. On the video, Greller summed it up well. Caddies want their players confident over shots, and confidence comes from not feeling doubt. But then there’s also Spieth. And his proclivity for the preposterous. Which makes telling Spieth no …

“It’s tricky,” Greller said on the video. “Jordan believes probably more than any golfer in the world that he can pull off any shot.” 

“Very much to a fault,” Spieth said. 

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Indeed. Google ‘Jordan Spieth crazy shot’ and have a look. But back to Solomon’s question. How do you manage that?

Spieth and Greller have their ways, though it’s adjusted over the years. It made for an interesting look into perhaps the most well-known player-caddie duo on the PGA Tour. 

For a while, Greller said on the video, he got “vetoes.” To make it effective, Greller thought he’d get one. 

“But Jordan gave me unlimited vetoes,” Greller said. “So …” 

“Like unlimited PTO,” Solomon said. “It’s not really more valuable. I’m not going to recognize it.” 

“I think when I got to my fifth-straight veto and he re-vetoed me,” Greller said, “we went away from the vetoes.”

A stoplight system was next. Though, there, they ignored the green light.  

And Greller also seemed stuck on the middle color. 

“At one point, we went to, like, yellow-light, red-light system,” Spieth said on the video. “And then kind of got pretty yellow. … He’d be like, I think this is a yellow light; I think you should probably think about it. 

“Or this is red light. It was really a red light thing.”

That was scrapped too. (Notably, after a question from NLU’s Todd Schuster, there was really only one light in play when Spieth was out of contention come Sunday.)  

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Their current system, Spieth felt, is the best, though. 

Numbers. On the video, he gave an example. 

“So if I have 170,” Spieth said, “but I have a 7-iron out, he’s thinking your 7-iron goes [1]85, not [1]90, whatever, depending on the temperature. He’s going to be like, whoa, whoa, whoa. But if I’m like, we’re saying this shot plays 170, then he’s got to trust that I’m hitting a 170 7-iron. 

“And that’s just been a way better system.”

But back to the Kapalua story, from the start of this piece. 

There was a bit more there. Greller had convinced Spieth, and the player also had a thought about that.  

“I’m like, Michael — what did I say?” Spieth asked on the video.

“I’d be a good lobbyist,” Greller said.  

“Yeah,” Spieth said. “No, I said, that’s some good lobbying.”

Editor’s note: To watch the entire No Laying Up video with Spieth and Greller, please click here. Or scroll below.     

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