Jordan Spieth hit a miracle flop. But what came *before* made it more wild

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth on Thursday on the 16th hole on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

Golf Channel

Bad shot. 

Bad shot. 

Bad shot. 


Jordan Spieth bingo! 

“Spieth doing Spieth things, right?” Golf Channel announcer Dan Hicks said.  

That, too. Our new year may have its shot of the year. And it looks like the Spieth roller coaster has already left the station. Buckle up. By now, you may have seen the stroke — a flop that traveled some 15 feet in the air and only about 10 forward, before his ball rolled in for a par during Thursday’s Tournament of Champions first round. A par, though. There are hole-outs, and there are Spieth hole-outs, and this was very much that on the par-4 16th at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

Our sequence began on the tee, where Spieth drove one right, near the cart path. According to new Golf Channel analyst Smylie Kaufman — also a Spieth friend — his boy had cracked his driver on the range on Wednesday, and his new one obviously got a bit squirrely on him. On shot two, from 93 yards out, Spieth caught a flyer lie, and he flew his ball into the back of the back bunker, on the downslope. 

On stroke three, with the pin sitting about just 8 feet in, Spieth came up short, and his ball was now sitting in the thick stuff just outside of the bunker. Of course, he could have played it safe and hit it longer, but where’s the fun in that?

“Oh yeah, it was impossible,” Kaufman said on the broadcast. “And he almost pulled it off; it was a yard away from potentially inside of 10 feet. And now he’s going to struggle just to make a five here.”

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You know how this ends, of course. But shoot, you may have seen this coming in the moment — Spieth has done this time and time again; the stunning is his schtick. And much like previous miracles, he and caddie Michael Greller talked things out.

“Do I want to flop it and land it short or just on?” said Spieth, his words picked up by Golf Channel mics. “Need to go low if it comes out real fluffy.” 

“You think a high one is going to be more consistent?” Greller asked.  

“I’m not going to really say — I mean, I don’t know,” Spieth said.  

“I would like to just land it still trickling onto the green obviously.”

“A lot of what they’re talking about there is the lie itself — reading the lie and trying to figure out what kind of shot he can play,” analyst Curt Byrum said on the broadcast. “It looks like he’s going to have to play a little bit of a flop here.” 

“I like that — sitting down, he can play it like a bunker shot,” Kaufman said. 

And he did. His flop was in the air for a couple seconds, dropped about 5 feet short of the hole and rolled in from the left. 

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For the par four. 

“Oh, god,” Kaufman said on the broadcast.

“How about this? Byrum said. 

“How good is this guy?”

Indeed. From there, Spieth grabbed his ball from the hole, tucked his wedge back into his bag and shook his head. He wasn’t the only one. 

“Smylie, you saying you’ve been on the wrong end of this a couple times?” analyst Paul Azinger said on the broadcast.        

“Oh, god, have I ever,” Kaufman said.  

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at