‘Whatever he wants’: How a fan saved Jordan Spieth’s Players Championship

Jordan Spieth and a fan on Friday on the 9th hole at TPC Sawgrass.


Jordan Spieth gave him a golf glove. After some thought, he said he deserved more. 

“Literally whatever,” to be specific.

“Only looking forward now, I got an extremely lucky break on 9, or I wouldn’t be playing the weekend,” Spieth said. “Trying to get that guy’s information and see literally whatever he wants this weekend because everything from here on out is because it hit him.”

It’s here where we’ll say no one shot determines a player’s tournament fortune; it’s an accumulation. Spieth could have birdied here or there at TPC Sawgrass, or he could have managed something smaller than the two double bogeys he made during Friday’s Players Championship second round, and he may have ended up with the same result. 

Blah, blah, blah. But where’s the fun in that? Spieth’s closing-hole dramatics were a hoot. They were very Spieth. 

A wild slice off the tee? We had that. On the 587-yard, par-5 9th — Spieth started on the back nine — he hit right. It drifted toward water. “Is that out of play?” he asked caddie Michael Greller. It would have been, until … 

A ricochet off a man’s knee? We had that next. Upon impact, the man doubled over, and Spieth’s ball bounced back into the fairway. He was now 277 yards out. And Spieth gave the man the glove. From there, he hit a 3-wood to just off the green, on the right side.

Did we have a chip-in? You bet. Spieth hit a wedge, his ball took a few bounces and it rolled in left to right. That was for an eagle 3, and a three-over 75.

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Did all of that get him into the weekend? Most likely. Spieth finished at even par for 36 holes, and the cut was looking to be one-over when he finished.  

Afterward, Spieth knew what he had gotten away with. 

“Yeah, my left foot grabbed as I was transitioning, like pain, and I backed off and I thinned one, and I thinned it into the wind, and it was right, which there’s water left and right,” he began. “It was going in one of the waters, and I get it hit the cart path and short-hopped off the guy’s knee and then went out in the fairway forward, as well, and it must have been — the way for it to go off of him, it also then went off his knee, up in the air, over some of the water, I mean, it’s the equivalent of flying a green towards a hazard and hitting a grandstand and coming back on the green in a way. 

“Needing to probably birdie to make the cut, I can’t really birdie having to drop it over in the right rough over there after hitting my third — it would have been a one-in-a-million make. Instead, I ended up making a three. A lot of times, I kind of feel bad about that and don’t focus on the next shot, but I hit a 3-wood exactly where I wanted to and hit a chip exactly where I wanted to, so I’m very happy about rebounding from that. 

“But yeah, I didn’t see it, but when I struck it, I was like, that’s out of play. Then all of a sudden they were like — Joe [Greiner], Max’s caddie [Max Homa], said it got a huge kick; it’s in the fairway. I don’t know what it can hit off of over there except for a person.”

That’s a quote. Spieth had one more. 

A reporter asked him if he enjoyed his late push to make the cut.

“Not at all. I enjoy nothing about being at the cut line.”

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com 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 nick.piastowski@golf.com.