With the US Open this week, the favorites are always a talking point. It will be cool to see how Masters Champion, Sergio Garcia, plays after finally getting the monkey off his back. Every golfer knows that Sergio panicked in every major because he never had the stones to win a major. Dustin Johnson will make his 2017 major debut after having a mysterious “back injury” at Augusta. Rory will always make waves. Jason Day could always shoot a 59 any day. But what I am here to talk about is my man, Jordan Spieth.
So before you get mad at the end of the blog, this is going to be a story of what “almost” happened. People always tell these kinds of stories and it is usually followed by somebody else saying, “Cool story bro”. So if you are that second person, get outta here.
So the story begins with me in Rockford, IL, my hometown. Every summer growing up I would go to the Rockford Pro-Am at one of our local country clubs. It is always held the Monday of the week of The Open Championship, immediately following the John Deere Classic. Early in the history of this Pro-Am, fans would see some pretty cool big names coming by like Gary Player and Lee Trevino to recently seeing John Daly and Kenny Perry.
As I got older, I got in the inner circle and was able to get the opportunity to caddie for the pros in the tournament every year. A week before the tournament, we all go to a meeting and get a piece of paper with a list of the pros that are coming to the tournament. I’ve had some cool guys like Cameron Tringale, Jason Gore and Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer. So the year 2013 comes and I am searching the list and see the name Jordan Spieth. I get super pumped because I’ve seen his name on top of the amateur rankings so I stood up and yelled, “Spieth is mine!!”. Everybody looked at me like I was insane. I went on a little rant on how he is an amazing amateur and he is going to be sooo good blah blah blah.
So I’m watching the John Deere Open the weekend before the Pro-Am and I see Spieth’s name up on the leader board, so i get excited and I’m thinking, “Oh cool. He will be in a good mood because he contended this week. Let’s all cheer for him”. Sunday rolls around and he is still in contention heading into the back 9, along with David Hearn and Zach Johnson. I am still rooting for him until I hear the announcer say something like this, “This week could change the lives of players like Hearn or Spieth. A win would get them a plane ticket straight to the Open Championship.” And then they show a shot of the private plane that would take them from the golf course to the Open in Europe without any other stops. So it finally hits me… Jordan could win and screw me over here.. So immediately I freak out and start to root against him with every fiber of my being. Hoping for a shank, a three putt, a flubbed chip. Anything that would push him just enough off the lead.
Then on his 72nd hole of the week, he pushes his approach into the green-side bunker. He short-sides himself and even has water if he hits his shot over the green. Finally, I can exhale. Jordan is still trailing the leaders and has an amazingly difficult shot in the biggest moment in his young career. Signed. Sealed. Delivered. I will see you in Rockford tomorrow morning Jordan. Get some good rest.
But alas… I was wrong. What does he do?
He just sinks it to tie the leaders. Good. Great. Grand. Wonderful.
Then Johnson and Hearn go on to play the last two holes even and go to a playoff with Spieth. If you are a golf fan, you already know that Jordan won the playoff and became a PGA Tour Tournament winner at the age of 19, just one year older than I was at the time. Think about the amazing time we would have had. Just two guys bonding. Doing guy stuff. Talking about chicks and shit during the round at the Pro-Am. But nope. I watched the beginning of what could (and more than likely will) end up being a Hall of Fame career from my couch.
I sat on that same exact couch less than one year later watching a 20 year old Jordan Spieth almost become the youngest Masters Champion in history. Good for you Jordan. Two majors and a FedEx Cup Championship later, I still talk about this as if I were a washed up High School quarterback talking about the State Finals my senior year.
I got to sit back and watch commercials like these torment me.
That should be me. I love milkshakes. I have always wanted to ride a tandem bicycle. I would have totally let him win at checkers because that’s just the amazing guy, and more importantly friend, that I am. Jordan, I know you are reading this. I wouldn’t mind if my SB2K18 invite didn’t get lost in the mail next year. We can still be best friends, its not too late.
Side Note: I ended up caddying for Jeff Gove that year that Jordan won. Nice guy. Talked a lot about his retirement plans with his kids in the future. Also he is completely #TeamSunScreen. He applied every hole and told me the history and importance of sunscreen.