It’s interesting what people think and say about sport’s biggest stars.
I read a comment on social media in the build up to the Singapore Open questioning Jordan Spieth’s sentiments regarding the fact he was feeling fatigued. They wondered, why would a 22 year old feel tired after playing 2 events in his previous 7 weeks?
It seems, on the face of it, a valid question. After playing in Tiger’s event in the Bahamas, Spieth took a few weeks off before winning in Hawaii and then playing in Abu Dhabi. Then he made the 8 hour flight to Singapore where he was looked after royally, paid handsomely, stayed in a 5 star hotel and played some golf. What’s your problem?
Well, let me try and give my take.
My exchanges during the week with Jordan Spieth were short and courteous. We were introduced to him and his manager Jay during the pro am. There were a few hellos the rest of the week and I managed to chat with Jay at the hotel for a few minutes on Sunday night.
Having seen some other well known “star” players and their management in action, my exchanges with Spieth backed up what many others have told me. Here is an extremely talented golfer who acts more mature at 22 than many people twice his age. And his manager, who turned into a pretty good caddy for the week, seems a very decent guy too. I know that sounds like something that shouldn’t be praised but believe me it isn’t always so straight forward.
This turned into a long week for everyone. Weather delays on top of weather delays leading to very early alarm calls and a Monday finish. Even when on one occasion, Spieth lost his patience a little with a cameraman who he felt was a little intrusive, he wasn’t rude.
I know I felt a little tetchy back on my arrival to the UK this week. Those long hours (up at 6, back at the hotel at 7) coupled with jet lag was a rough mix. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. But apart from a morning talk to the Golf Channel in America, I never had a camera in my face.
Now put yourself in Spieth’s shoes. Everyone wants a piece of you. Your every move on the golf course is followed and filmed. 66 or 76, the press want to know how you feel. Fans want your autograph and as was the case at the Singapore Open, every player wants to take a selfie with you too! It’s very hot, very humid and you’ve just played 18 holes that have lasted more than 5 hours. Or in the case of a couple of rounds, took 23 hours to complete!! But he shows even at his young age, a little like Rory, he has the attributes to deal with being a special talent. I read from Martin Kaymer that he didn’t enjoy the attention that being world number 1 brought and wouldn’t mind if he never has to face it again. Believe me, not many of us would enjoy being such attention.
As for Spieth and his game, it will be interesting to see if this world tour affects his 2016 season. I thought he had hampered his chances by playing John Deere the week before the Open but I was wrong. He nearly walked away from St Andrews with a 3rd successive major. It was clear to see he wasn’t 100% on his game at Singapore and he still nearly won. This is one of the game’s best putters but he found it hard to read the Sentosa greens and it came as a shock to see him miss a fair few 5 footers. It also took him a little while to work out the best way to navigate the course. But if there had been another 18 holes on offer, I reckon he would have won by a handfull. His bunker play is exquisite and he showed with a majestic birdie at the 15th in the final round that he has the imagination and creativity which I don’t think many credit him for.
It’s back to Texas and trying to win PGA Tour titles and majors now for Spieth. But it was a pleasure to follow him for the week in Singapore.