Jordan Spieth already delivered one of the best performances of the week
TULSA, Okla. — Much like watching Jordan Spieth play golf, listening to him speak is like riding a roller coaster.
One moment, he’s talking about winning the career Grand Slam. The next, he’s delving into being uncomfortable over the ball on short putts. There are peaks and valleys from one question to the next. It’s never boring.
Wednesday at Southern Hills was much of the same. Spieth spoke to reporters for just short of half an hour in the midst of his major prep, and he provided plenty of insights. Below, we unpack several of the juiciest bits.
1. Any NBA playoff predictions?
Before getting too deep into the golf, Spieth spoke on his predictions for the Western Conference Finals. As a Dallas native, he’s a a huge Mavericks fan — and life is good for his squad at the moment. After dismantling the Phoenix Suns in last weekend’s Game 7, they’s set to play for Golden State Warriors for a trip to the NBA finals.
“If we can steal one in Golden State, I think we’ve got a chance,” Spieth said.
But while he’s an avid Mavs fan, he doesn’t think he’ll be able to tune in to Game 1 this evening. The reason? A late west-coast start coupled with an early Thursday-morning tee time means watching the entirety of the game is untenable for his optimal sleep schedule.
“I may not even start watching it tonight because it’s hard for me to watch it and not watch the whole thing,” he said. “I get too invested in it.”
He didn’t mention if he planned on recording the game and watching later, but as a courtesy, no spoilers from the galleries tomorrow, please.
2. Any thoughts on your mega-group?
Southern Hills might feel a bit empty tomorrow morning. That is, if you’re not following the star-studded group of Spieth, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. The PGA Championship’s marquee group is sure to command a majority of the eyeballs on the course when they tee it up at 8:11 a.m., and other groupings will be graced with relative solitude.
Playing with Woods can be a bit of a challenge with the circus his presence creates outside the ropes, but Spieth explained he’s not bothered by the massive crowds.
“Sometimes when the crowds get big enough, it’s kind of just a color blur in a way,” he said. “When you’re used to being in front of big crowds by contending on the weekend, that’s normally when the biggest crowds are there, it starts to feel just a little more and more comfortable.”
Spoken like a true pro.
3. How’s the grass out there?
Agronomy nerds rejoice — Spieth went deep on the grass at Southern Hills.
With Bermuda grass is in play throughout the course, grain comes into play on a variety of shots. But as a born-and-bred Texan, that doesn’t bother Spieth much.
“I think I’m fortunate in that I grew up on this really grainy Bermuda and grainy Bermuda run-offs,” he said.
That experience will pay off this week when Spieth finds himself on a grainy lie around the greens. With ample experience on the grass, he has the tools to play some shots that others might not trust themselves to hit.
“Bank shots are really hard on this Bermudagrass because it can just snag it so quickly, and it’s hard to committing to hitting it so firmly into the hills,” he said. “But I think you might have to do that quite a bit this week.”
If agronomy is your thing, check out the entire transcript. Never before has someone made grass seem so interesting.
4. What’s with the funky swing rehearsal?
Those who’ve watched Spieth play over the past couple years have likely noticed it, but for the uninitiated, check out the video below.
The move looks awkward and uncomfortable and, frankly, unbecoming of a pro golfer. But when Spieth doesn’t rehearse the move, his swing just isn’t right.
“I try it without it, and Cameron tells me — and it feels, not just he tells me — but it also feels just slightly better when I do it before I hit a shot on the range,” Spieth said. “If I’m making better swings doing it, I get to my ball quickly, I play faster than I used to, I’m not slowing anybody down, and I make better, more committed swings with it.”
Hey, whatever works, right?
5. What happened at the Masters?
Spieth missed the cut at Augusta National this year, a stunner given how good that place has been to him. What happened? Bad luck, Spieth said.
“It was annoying,” he said. “Because Friday’s round, I shot 76, and I can’t tell you that I missed a golf shot. It was bizarre. You know, tough — we had tough conditions. I had mud balls at bad times, wind gusts at bad times. I felt like it was random, and therefore, it was really frustrating. Because all you had to do that week was kind of make the cut, and then you could have made a run on Saturday when it was cold.
“I just really didn’t feel like I did much wrong, and I’ve had weeks like that before. You just hope that they’re not the Masters.”
Or, for that matter, the PGA Championship.
6. How important is the Grand Slam?
Pretty damn important.
All Spieth lacks in his quest to become the sixth men’s golf Grand Slam winner is the Wanamaker Trophy, and it’s a prize he desperately wants to get his hands on.
“If you just told me I was going to win one tournament the rest of my life, I’d say I want to win this one, given where things are at,” he said. “Long term it would be really cool to say that you captured the four biggest golf tournaments in the world that are played in different parts of the world and different styles, too. So you feel like you kind of accomplished golf when you win a Career Grand Slam.”