The people have spoken, the polls have closed in California and after 656 votes, 64% believe Jordan Spieth is doing the right thing playing the John Deere Classic, while 36% of you agreed with my view that he needs to get to St. Andrews as early as possible. Clearly you were not swayed by my comments or our Morning Drive debate.
The main premise for advocating an early arrival over the Deere is based on the utmost admiration for his ability to process information. The Old Course presents more to process than any other course on the planet, assuming a player can soak it in. Many players are better off not thinking too much, but at the mind-boggling age of 21 Spieth has shown he not only can take in the info, but use it to his advantage. A case could be made that his game has room to improve and that he just won a U.S. Open with a little less than his best. But his drive, intelligence and approach to Chambers Bay (arriving early) paid off.
Put his current game, golf smarts and fine caddie on the Old Course for a couple of extra days, get weather-lucky with the tee time draw, and Spieth has an excellent chance of going to Whistling Straits with a Grand Slam on the line.
Spieth's plans headed to The Open include a Sunday launch to the AJGA event played under his name, a Monday charity event in Iowa for Zach Johnson and then, off to the Deere. Yes, the loyalty is admirable, but at his Hall of Fame induction will he be remembered for his loyalty to the John Deere Classic, or perhaps for having made a run at easily the greatest accomplishment in our sport: winning the modern Grand Slam?
Tim Rosaforte reported the latest on Spieth for Morning Drive:
Besides passing up a chance to study the Old Course (he has played once), there is another more practical reason to arrive early: jet lag.
Sunday night, Spieth will be a red-eye charter flight commissioned by the Deere, arriving at St. Andrews in the afternoon after a less-than-restful night. Reader Tom is a doctor and expressed concern about this approach after seeing our Morning Drive discussion:
The elephant in the room was lack of discussion of the major physiologic effects of jet lag, especially travelling West to East. All best players address this by arriving 1-2 WEEKS prior if they expect to play well and/or WIN. Examples, Tiger fishing trips with O'Meara, Phil playing Scottish and arriving 10 days or more prior, etc. It is impossible to understand why Jordan and his advisers would not be aware of, and address this. Out here we all love Jordan and pray for his success. I think it is tragic for him, with this great chance at history, to not take every precaution in protecting his ability to play his best golf ever.
We tried Tom, we tried!