Jordan Spieth was inches from falling 70 feet. So why the heck did he still hit?
Jordan Spieth’s wife? And parents? He knows he has some explaining to do to Annie, and Shawn and Mary.
“I’m not really sure what’s going to happen there,” Spieth said. “I just saw the blimp shot from overhead, and it really bothered me. So I can’t imagine while she [Annie] was watching that live. They actually came out — my son [newborn Sammy] was out for the first time ever on 3 and 4, and I don’t know where they went from there. …
“So, yeah, I mean, my parents are here too, so not only do I have to explain to my wife, I got to explain to my mom, my dad.”
As for Spieth’s own thoughts on his second shot on Saturday on the 8th hole at Pebble Beach, where his ball had sat just inches from about a 70-foot drop off a rocky cliff? The results, of course, speak for themselves, as he did, indeed, hit, his ball flew over the flag and the green, and he was able to get up and down for a par during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
But afterward, with about two or so hours to process it all, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of his latest — and perhaps greatest (?) — daredevil shot in a long line of them.
“Yeah, I asked Colt, I was like, Colt, you know, I was the one hitting it, so, I mean, you looked at it, was it, was I being dramatic?” Spieth said of Colt Knost, who, while working as an analyst for CBS, was near the shot. “He’s like — and he’ll always call me dramatic — and he was like, no. He’s like, I don’t know what you were thinking.
“And, I mean, I don’t know, just thinking about it now, it’s like kind of hard, it’s weird. It’s like, because there’s a story of the guys that drove off that cliff so, when they used to allow carts here. So I, I was thinking about that obviously walking up.
“So, not worth it, to be honest, but I guess I just, it was a weird situation. It was like, well, if I can hit it then just hit it.”
And that — if I can hit it — was what sold him on the shot. The eventual sequence went as follows: He took a stance over the ball; backed away; walked back; set up with his legs wider than normal to balance himself, with his left foot down the slope and his right above; took one half-swing; stood over it for 8 seconds; and swung.
“It’s so weird because if you can normally see the ball, like I never had a situation where you can see a ball, get a swing on it, but you’re not going to play it,” Spieth said. “So it was just kind of weird because it was like, well if I can get a swing on it and I can hit it then why would I take a drop? Like just whenever, you’re never over, I guess I saw a 65-foot cliff. So it’s an unusual situation, normally if you’re walking into a hazard, you see a ball, you hit it out. …
“I’m just glad I made the par to make it worth it, because I don’t think I would have made par with a drop, but if I made bogey it would have really not been worth it.
“But yeah, I mean it was, I was more like, it was more of a nervous and adrenaline hitting it and then when I got to the green as I was walking there it was more of like an anxiety feeling afterwards, luckily it wasn’t before.”
A reporter asked about the footing on the shot.
“I mean, footing was solid, but I didn’t have much room past where my left foot was, and the problem was it’s down sloped,” Spieth said. “Like if it was flat, it’s no issue at all. It’s the down slope that worries you because you’re going to try and — you’re getting more forward to your left side on a down slope in order to get the strike, right? You want your weight with the slope. I didn’t want my weight with the slope that time.
“So those are ones — I was almost sitting there going, is it worth it because, yes, I can get a strike on it, but am I going to back up out of fear and just kind of thin this in the water, you know, like kind of top it. …
“And clearly the — if I felt like I was in real true danger of losing my life I would have pulled the ball back and dropped it. It wasn’t quite that severe. But it was enough to where I certainly couldn’t put a normal swing or shot on it.”
And what did his longtime caddie, Michael Greller, think?
Drop it. Both the idea. And the ball. Spieth’s ball had also crossed a red line that marks a penalty area, and it would have cost him a stroke.
“He said, I just don’t, I just don’t see the point,” Spieth said. “I don’t think it’s worth it. I just don’t see the point. Stuff like that, I think. …
“And I kept on, I was adamantly telling him, like pretty aggressively, like, please don’t get, go across that red line. To him. And that put him in a tough spot. But if he went across that red line, he wouldn’t have let me hit it, I don’t think.”
And if it all somehow happens during Sunday’s final round?
“He said that next, if that were to happen again, he’ll walk up, grab my ball and throw it in the water, so that I can’t hit it,” Spieth said. “He said, I should have done that. He was like, I just didn’t know what to do myself.”