CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There are many ways to describe the strangeness of Jordan Spieth golf. Let us try a few.
Jordan Spieth golf is like flying economy and getting upgraded to first class. It’s like getting hit by a bus and finding a winning scratch-off ticket on the windshield. It’s like using the sidewalk to cook a perfect souffle. And at the Presidents Cup, Jordan Spieth golf is … surprisingly tame?
At least, that’s what Spieth’s teammate, Justin Thomas, thought after watching his pal’s performance on Friday afternoon’s fourball matches.
“Today? That was nothing,” Thomas said with a laugh. “It’s not even, like, remotely close to some Jordan Spieth golf that I’ve seen before.”
And yet, Friday’s Jordan Spieth golf included a moment that, even by Spieth standards, was utterly bizarre. It came on the 15th hole (normally Quail Hollow’s 18th), a narrow par-4 guarded down the left side by a winding creek.
After pumping their drives into the right rough, a 3-up Spieth/Thomas pairing looked to close out their match on 15 with a birdie. Thomas hit his approach first and blew it into the water. Now, the pressure was ratcheted up on Spieth, who needed to preserve par to fend off Cam Davis and Adam Scott.
Seconds later, Spieth rocketed his own shot left of the green and recoiled. His ball was headed straight for the water. He’d just lost his team the hole.
Then Jordan Spieth golf happened.
When Spieth’s ball finally returned to earth, it did not go into the creek. Rather, in a miraculous stroke of luck, it ricocheted off a rock and rolled out onto the green. When Thomas saw Spieth’s ball bounce back in play, he could only laugh.
“Yeah, I was happy,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s Jordan. I was kind of pissed it didn’t stay on the green. I feel like it very well could have stayed on the green, but you’ve got to take what you get, I guess.”
Thomas knows better than to try to understand Spieth’s penchant for both utter disaster and good fortune. The two golfers have been teammates in their last three Ryder and Presidents Cups. Thomas knows that when it comes to playing with Spieth, weird is, in fact, normal.
“I’ve said this in the team events before in the past. It is just really, really nice having Jordan as a partner and him being over a 20-, 25-footer and actually being on his team,” Thomas said. “Or seeing him in a bunker and him being on my team. You know what I’m saying?”
On team weeks, Thomas says, playing with Spieth is a little bit more fun.
“I love him to death,” he said. “But no, I’m not rooting for [the lucky breaks] every single shot over the course of the entire year. This week, to be able to do that, is nice.”
Spieth, the man in the driver’s seat of this rollercoaster, enjoys the change of pace, too. At least this week, he won’t be alone on the ride. “I think when my ball bounces out of the water, I got a little different reaction from [Justin] than I would normally get in a tournament,” Spieth said with a laugh.
The weirdness has worked wonders for team Thomas/Spieth this week. The pairing is 3-0-0 through three sessions at the Presidents Cup, due in no small part to their decision to embrace the insane.
With Spieth, you don’t really have a choice.
“Anything and everything he does on the golf course does not surprise me,” Thomas says. “I’ve seen crazier, that’s for sure.”