‘Like a new trick shot’: Jordan Spieth — in classic Spieth fashion — nearly holes a rock at Hero

Jordan Spieth plays a sand shot at the Hero World Challenge.

Jordan Spieth is always a must-watch.

NBC Golf

If you thought 2024 was going to be the year Jordan Spieth plays typical, stress-free and steady golf, the Hero World Challenge has thrown that idea to the rocks. Literally.

To recap the first two days of the Hero, Tiger Woods’ elite, 20-man field exhibition in the Bahamas this week, Spieth opened his first round by making a bet with his fill-in caddie for every birdie and eagle he made during the round.

Spieth shot a 68 but with just five pars. His round featured two eagles, six birdies, four bogeys and a double.

He then surged into a share of the 36-hole lead Friday with a nearly flawless second-round 67 where he hit every fairway and made zero bogeys.

Saturday, Spieth quickly established that the third round would be more of the crazy, edge-of-your-seat, up-and-down Spieth golf we’ve become accustomed to.

After opening the round by missing the first fairway, Spieth was again off the mark with his second shot, pulling it and finding a sandy area left of the green.

But that was only the beginning of his issues because when he approached his ball, he saw it was sitting up against a small stone.

While you can move stones and other loose impediments in bunkers and other sandy areas — which are part of the general area and not considered bunkers — you can’t move them if the ball moves too. Spieth’s ball was seemingly at rest on the stone, meaning it certainly would have move, giving him a one-stroke penalty.

So Spieth had to do what he does best: improvise.

“You just have to worry about where this ball might ricochet,” NBC on-course reporter Smylie Kaufman said, seeming to assume the worst. “Little bit of a guessing game here.”

After Spieth took his swing, both his ball and the stone came flying out of the sand.

“The rock might go in!” exclaimed Kaufman.

When the two settled, Spieth’s ball was two-and-a-half feet from the hole. The stone was right in between it and the hole.

Jordan Spieth (right) with fill-in caddie and good friend Eric Leyendecker.
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“Of course, he would almost make both,” Kaufman said. “That is just classic Jordan Spieth around the green. To be able to have the control, not only to get the ball close but also to get the rock close.”

“Like a new trick shot there,” added Steve Sands.

He managed to salvage a par at one, but the Spieth-ian theatrics continued when he reached the 3rd hole. He blocked his tee shot badly into the native area and was seen debating taking a drop next to a huge bush, just two club lengths away from where he found his ball.

He ended up simply taking back-on-the-line relief some 30 yards behind his ball and managed to blast out to the fairway and make a bogey from there.

However, fellow co-leader Scottie Scheffler pounced on the opportunity and eagled the par-5 to open up a two-shot lead on the field and a three-shot lead on his playing partner.

No matter if Jordan Spieth plays well or poorly, it’s always must-see TV.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.