Tiger Woods was asked about Jordan Spieth's decision to play the John Deere Classic instead of the Scottish Open or practice rounds at the Old Course (ala his arrive-early U.S. Open preparation).
The golf cognoscenti and the fine readers of this site are lauding young Spieth's loyalty while I think it's the first really poor choice made in the handling of Spieth's career. Most of the greats (and eventual Open Champions) have gone early for various reasons. And most of the time that was without a Grand Slam on the line. The chances of winning at the Old Course greatly improve for Spieth if he and his excellent caddie spend time acclimating to the nuances, wind directions and complex putting surfaces, especially since he's shown an incredible ability to process information better than people twice his age.
Spieth should be most concerned though that his competitors are encouraging the move. Tiger Woods today, asked at the Greenbrier Classic endorsed the move (even though Tiger will arrive the weekend before, and he has two Open wins at the Old Course).
Will Gray reports:
“I think it’s great for him to play, get the playing feels, keep the playing feels going,” Woods said Wednesday at The Greenbrier Classic. “Whether you’re playing here or overseas, doesn’t really matter, (as) long as you have your feels. Feels travel.”
Your honor, I have nothing further at this time. Oh wait, the witness is still talking...
“I think he’s played enough links-type golf courses. He did all right at Chambers (Bay),” Woods said. “He’s played the British Opens before. St. Andrews will be a little bit different, there will be a lot to learn in a short time. But he’s young, and he can spend the energy playing 18 holes every day and be fine.”
Hopefully a practice round isn't fogged out like last time, because young Spieth's going to need all three practice rounds to get ready.
**Even John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson sounds like he expected Spieth to take up his possible once-in-a-lifetime chance to best prepare for a Grand Slam by skipping the Deere this year.
John Strege reports for The Loop.
“Whatever Jordan feels is best for him we’re happy to accept,” Peterson said. “If he would have contacted us and said, as some have argued, he felt like it was going to be difficult for him to be competitive at the [British] Open and still come to the John Deere, we view our relationship as a long-term relationship, we would have been fine with that.”