Jason Day Finds Phil's U.S. Open Antics Disappointing, Spieth Finds It Really Funny

Will Gray's Travelers report on  Jason Day's views of the U.S. Open and Phil Mickelson's 13th green meltdown.

“It’s obviously disappointing to see what Phil did,” he said. “I think a lot of people have mixed reviews about what he did.”

And from Dylan Dethier's Golf.com item on Jordan Spieth's Travelers Championship press conference where the defending champ commented on Mickelson's antics.

"I laughed, I thought it was really funny," he said. In the aftermath of the incident, much was made about Mickelson's intent, but count Spieth among those who believes Mickelson's explanation that there was a strategic element to the decision. "Phil knows the rules," he said. "There was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he's got to chip back, or he was going to play off the green anyways, so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what's the harm in that? He's playing the best score he can."

Fascinating to admire someone for using a technicality to get out of taking personal responsibility for a really bad putt. But this is where we are in the game. 

Spieth, Thomas Just Now Learning Of New 2-Hole U.S. Open Playoff!?

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Announced in February, the lads revealed that Tuesday at the U.S. Open was the first time they learned of the new system. My Golfweek item here.

No big deal since it's not like they found out Sunday as they were about to go home to rest up for a Monday 18-hole round. But given their attention to detail, it does speak to a certain level of focus and insular protection from the golf news world that is...fascinating. Layered. 

#liveunderpar Files: Jordan Spieth Begs Fans To "Actually Watch" And Not Shoot Video

Brentley Romine of Golfweek reports that the PGA Tour's advocacy of fans documenting every moment may be wearing on some players, with Jordan Spieth openly pleading with fans off the 8th green to just watch.

“If everybody could do me a huge favor and not video this shot,” Spieth said. “Thank you. Sometimes it’s cool to actually watch. Please, no phones. Can’t have any going off in this shot.”

But how are they to live under par, young Jedi? It's not just a way to play, it's a way to be annoying. Or it's thinking hard and playing young. Or...oh some slogan that cost too much and which needs to quickly end up on the trash heap of ad campaigns. 

The moment from round one of the 2018 Memorial:

Though I can't imagine what might be causing this fear of young Jordan to have cameras going off when trying to play a shot...

Punters Take Note: Spieth Says He's Taken A Masters Steps Forward

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ShackHouse listeners know we've been looking for signs from Jordan Spieth to be rounding into Masters shape, and at least according to Jordan Spieth, the sign arrived Friday.

He's four back heading into Sunday's Houston Open finale but for the prognosticators out there looking for Masters signs, Jordan Spieth said after his second round 67

From Will Gray's report for GolfChannel.com:

“From where I was three days ago, goal accomplished for the week already. And it’s Friday,” Spieth said. “So at this point anything else is icing on the cake. It’s kind of weird to say that, but just trying to take a step forward every single day. I thought today was a step forward from yesterday.”

Masters Makes Their Own Rules Files: Green Reading Books

It's always refreshing to hear of the ways Augusta National Golf Club resists change for the sake of change. Particularly when the innovation in question slows down play and possibly strips the sport of artistry.

As Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy revealed this week, their use of the intricate green reading books can be dangerous to their games. The lads don't have to worry about that dilemma at The Masters, however, since the club does not provide the books widely used on the PGA Tour each week. 

I explain in this Golfweek.com item with quotes.

This is all worth noting for those who question how the club could force today's players to play by their rules on the equipment front. They can and could and probably will someday if no one else will act. And the players will still show up. 

Danzi And Spieth Split From Lagardère

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It's been a few years since we've had some big movement in the player agent world, particularly as players either set up their own shop or move to boutique operations.

Will Jay Danzi's departure from Lagardère Sports USA--with prized client Jordan Spieth joining him--lead to more switches or wholesale changes in how player careers are handled?  

The Forecaddie with some of the details of Danzi's move.

Golf Gods Working Overtime: Reed And Spieth In Same Match Play Pod

Naturally, a day after citing Jordan Spieth in a whiny effort to get a free drop, Patrick Reed has been drawn into the same match play pod as the man whose name he invoked in rather pathetic fashion, as Brendan Porath notes.

Sadly, the Tweeted video that spawned Internet intrigue was dinged by the PGA Tour's censors--gee I thought they liked fans sharing things on social--but there's YouTube!

Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com breaks down this week's WGC Dell Match Play pods, with Group 4 featuring Reed and the player who he thinks gets free drops because he's Jordan. 

Negative Campaign Ads Come To Golf: Hurley Attacks Spieth

When you're campaigning to chair the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council to table slow play discussions started twenty years ago, declare caddie parking in Memphis a crisis and send Jay Monahan's calls to voice mail, you go negative. At least that's the risk Billy Hurley is thinking in his campaign for more chairmanship votes than Jordan Spieth.

No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, concede that Hurley's gone to the best ad makers in the business.

 

Spieth's Putting Struggles Continue At Spyglass...

It's way too early for this to be a thing, but Jordan Spieth's early season struggle on the greens in Scottsdale and now at Spyglass is worth watching.

Of note, Spieth's struggling on short putts, which, if nothing else should reassure you that even the best putter on the planet can struggle with the flatstick.

From Brentley Romine's Golfweek report on AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am play:

Then there was Jordan Spieth, a week removed from missing the cut at the Phoenix Open, who opened in even-par 72 on Spyglass as his putting struggles continued.

Spieth, who said Wednesday that he was in a “minor slump” on the greens, needed 32 putts to get through his first round. He did miss just three fairways and four greens while only carding one bogey, but he also holed just one birdie putt. He is tied for 98th going into Friday’s second round at Monterey Peninsula.

Why Spieth Is Returning To Australia Again

Jim Tucker talks to Jordan Spieth instructor and Australian Cameron McCormick about why his pupil is returning again to this week's Australian Open golf.

In a nutshell, Spieth has taken to the area as a great place to kick off his season and enjoy the land Down under while pursuing a title with a fantastic history.

“The tournament is not getting a top player on a holiday because we’re talking about a kid who loves golf history.

“With those names, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman and others, on the trophy it’s definitely not just another event for Jordan. He doesn’t come here for second.”

McCormick gave an insight into Spieth lapping up Australia away from the spotlight with restaurant visits on Sydney Harbour, tackling a rip at Bondi Beach and slipping away for some bucket list golf.

“I’ve got to say the funniest afternoon on the 2015 trip was Jordan and (caddie) Michael (Greller) bodysurfing at Bondi and being shocked at the extent of the rip when slightly outside the flags,” McCormick said with a chuckle.

McCormick will also be on the bag as regular Spieth looper Michael Greller celebrates a new addition to his life:

Spieth's title defense starts Thursday (Wednesday in the U.S.) at The Australian Golf Club with Golf Channel coverage commencing at 8 pm ET.

Video: Jack On Gameday, Jordan On Corden

Fun times for golf fans getting to see big names in big settings (at least in the U.S.), as Jordan Spieth joined The Late Show with James Corden to talk many things, including his recent round with Barack Obama and also hit some shots at Corden. The Obama talk:



Buckeye Emeritus Jack Nicklaus was the guest picker on ESPN's College Gameday as his (The) Ohio State team took on Penn State in a doozy. He arrived with a caddie, as Kevin Casey noted, and of course the Golden Bear got his OSU-PSU pick right.

 

Assessing Where A Spieth Career Slam Fits In Golf History

When you break down the career Grand Slam winners and the many legends who have won three of four legs, the opportunity facing Jordan Spieth becomes impressive. 

Mention that he can do this at a younger age than Woods and Nicklaus and it becomes, as Jim Nantz noted in the piece I wrote for Golfweek, one of the great accomplishments in the history of the game.  

Jaime Diaz assesses where this feat would fall in the game's history and notes that Grand Slam is not a perfect measure of greatness.

Walter Hagen, who won 11 major championships, didn’t have a real shot at what evolved into the Grand Slam because the Masters wasn’t even played until he was well past his prime. And what of Bobby Jones’ “original” Grand Slam in 1930, winning the U.S. Open and Amateur and their British counterparts in one year, which has never been replicated by any golfer over an entire career? That feat, or the still unattained the calendar professional Grand Slam, or even the Tiger Slam of 2000-’01, would all have to be more exalted than the career Grand Slam.

Ryan Lavner reminds us that Tiger Woods, the last in the modern era to achieve the feat, didn't have much time to ponder the possibilties but pulled off the slam in his first try.

Not only was Woods, at 24, the youngest to win the career Grand Slam, but he was the fastest, too – needing only 93 starts, compared with Nicklaus’ 125.

“They’ve been the elite players to ever play the game,” Woods said that day. “And to be in the same breath as those guys, it makes it very special.”

Besides Woods, the only other players to complete the career Grand Slam in their first attempts were Gene Sarazen (age 33) and Ben Hogan (40).

Jack Nicklaus narrated this tribute:

 

Spieth Finding No Negatives In Grand Slam Quest, Says He's Hit Worse Tee Shots Than Birkdale's 13th

Dave Shedloski with a fun GolfDigest.com account of Jordan Spieth's pre-WGC Bridgestone thoughts. It's rather apparent the possibility of a career Grand Slam is not weighing on him as much as clearing the air on that 13th hole tee shot at Birkdale.

"I'm not really finding any negatives in this. I've been asked this a few times, and I mean this. … It’s just a major. I say that, they are still the four events that we try to peak and think most about at the beginning of every year. But this PGA, if I'm healthy and playing well, I play in 30 of them, I believe I'll have plenty of chances to win them, but it doesn't have to be this year. If it's this year and it happens, that's great, that's another life-long goal that we've then achieved. But I believe that I'll do it someday, so if it happens in two weeks or next week, then fantastic, and if it doesn't, then it's not going to be a big-time bummer whatsoever because I know I have plenty of opportunities.”

As for the pretty awful tee shot at Birkdale that got worse when it hit some poor person in the head and headed east of a dune prompting a 20-minute pause in the action?

Spieth now says the hideousness of the shot has been blown out of proportion. He's hit worse. Ron Green Jr. writing for Global Golf Post.

“I missed my right side of the fairway by 20 yards-ish and it hit the guy in the head and then went over the next mound. So essentially it was 20 yards offline. I hit balls further offline than that on a regular basis, but where it ended up and what it looked like compared to the fairway for viewership was way offline.  

“It really wasn’t that bad. I mean, it wasn’t a good shot. It was a foul ball to the right, but I need to back myself up here in saying that I’m capable of hitting worse shots than that, OK?”

He also discussed watching the final round with caddie Michael Greller. 

Forbes: Rory 7th Among Athletes, Ahead Of Phil, Tiger, Jordan

As always take these numbers with a grain or two, but at least we see where golfers are lining up with the highest paid athletes.

Rory McIlroy landed T6th on the Forbes list at $50 million, tied with Andrew Luck and ahead of Steph Curry. The year comes on the heels of winning the FedExCup and finishing fifth in the Race To Dubai. His $16 million in on course earnings accounts for his 2016 PGA Tour play, FedExCup and European Tour play in the June 2016 to June 2017 window used by Forbes.

Phil Mickelson ranked 12th, with $43.5 million overall, of which $40 million was from off course endorsements. Tiger Woods at No. 17 is credited with $37.1 million of which $37 million was made off the course. And Jordan Spieth ranked 21st, making $34.5 million, with $29 million of that credited to endorsement income.

Spieth Explains Where Erin Hills And Chambers Bay Differ

Nick Menta at GolfChannel.com reporting from the Memorial where Jordan Spieth explained the differences between 2015 U.S. Open venue Chambers Bay (where he won) and 2017 host Erin Hills.

From his pre-tourney press conference:

“Chambers Bay, you had big mounds to play off onto the greens. [Erin] is kind of rolling hills. Although, neither one has a tree that I remember on the golf course. It was kind of a new-style American Links type. They both are. But I think they’ll play tremendously different.”

I believe the flyovers highlight what Spieth speaks to, but this is a great distinction to keep in mind. The greens at Erin Hills are more exposed and require way more aerial play than Chambers Bay. Plus, by all accounts the course is lush and we won't see the extreme ground speed we saw in 2015. That should please players and those who prefer a traditional inland U.S. Open "test", but annoy links enthusiasts.

Spieth After Pre-Masters Missed Cut: Other Players Know "We Strike Fear" Next Week

Will Gray reporting from the Shell Houston Open where Jordan Spieth's missed cut wouldn't have turned many heads except for a fascinating post-round quote.

The 2015 Masters champion said:

“I think we know, and the other players that are playing next week know, that we strike fear in others next week,” Spieth said. “So that’s our idea, that’s going to be my confidence level going in, and we’ll step on the first tee ready to play.”