Jordan Spieth does this better ‘than anybody I’ve ever seen,’ says Curtis Strange
Jordan Spieth has a Houdini-like nature to his game. He routinely finds himself in impossible situations, and watching him escape is quite the thrill. It’s not exactly a low-stress way to play the game, but it sure does provide some quality entertainment.
Spieth’s reputation as an escape artist dates back to his first PGA Tour win at the John Deere Classic. Needing birdie on the final hole to force a playoff, the then 19-year-old holed out from a bunker to force extra holes, leading to his first Tour victory. He’s stayed true to form in the 10 years since, escaping impossible situations routinely with a touch very few players possess.
“Jordan Spieth chips in more than anybody I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Curtis Strange in a preview call for the PGA Championship. “Maybe it’s because he misses so many damn greens sometimes. Like with Watson it didn’t make any difference. This guy is not just a good pitcher and chipper of the ball, he holes it so many times. That’s a knack. That’s a feel.”
Strange, a two-time U.S. Open winner and analyst for ESPN, went on to compare Spieth’s short game to that of the all-time greats, such as Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. And while some might call the knack for holing out luck, Strange is not sold on that argument.
“I used to say about Tom Watson, people would say, ‘Oh, he’s lucky,'” Strange said. “But when you do it every day, it’s not luck. He’s aiming at something.”
The stats agree with Strange’s assessment. Over the course of Spieth’s career, he’s finished inside the top 40 in SG: Around the Green in all but one season. Houdini didn’t get lucky in his escapes, and neither does Spieth.
Unfortunately for golf fans, the PGA Championship might be lacking Spieth this year, or at least lacking him in peak form. Earlier this week, the Texan withdrew from the AT&T Byron Nelson with a wrist injury, and his status for the year’s second major is uncertain.