Jordan Spieth, who just graduated from his teen years, will kick off his 20s playing in his first PGA Championship this week at Oak Hill. Since turning pro last December, Spieth has taken the accelerated course. He started the year without status, played well on sponsor’s exemptions, placed in the top 10 five times, and then won the John Deere Classic last month.
No big deal — pretty standard for big-name college talents after they go pro! Spieth is obviously the exception and mature beyond his years.
After the whirlwind couple of weeks he had with becoming the first teen to win a PGA Tour event and then hopping on the charter to Scotland for the British Open, Spieth decided he needed some time to recuperate for the PGA Championship and the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs.
That meant the two tournaments he skipped were the RBC Canadian Open (which, okay, whatever — no offense to the Canadians) and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which comes along with guaranteed check.
Very few players — whether they’re 20 or 50 — would pass up on playing what’s a step above a glorified exhibition with loads of cash for some R&R.
“I was expecting to go to AT&T National, week off, John Deere, week off or two weeks off,” he said. “It turned in to four in a row, obviously with the John Deere coming in there and a major championship. I didn’t expect to be in the World Golf Championships ahead of time. I’ll never skip one again. I was worn out, very tired. I didn’t feel like I had anything with me. I want to be 100 percent every tournament I play in. It wasn’t necessarily to rest up for this event, it was this and coming up in the next six weeks, everything coming up.”
Turned out Spieth had another commitment that conflicted with the WGC, as well.
“I also committed to going to my caddie’s wedding, and having the time off allowed me to go and support him,” said Spieth. “He got married this past Saturday, so I was very happy to go there and get some good practice in and still get a lot of rest in doing so, and kind of take my mind off what’s going to happen the next six weeks.”
Did that help sway your decision to skip the WGC?
“I’m not sure if it necessarily influenced it,” he said. “I just was feeling like I needed more rest. Just felt like if I went to the tournament, maybe I wouldn’t have been 100 percent there/here/the rest of the season. And then having a chance to go there and support him, he’s like family to me, so it was very important. I’m not sure if it necessarily had an influence overall, but it was something I was looking forward to for a while for a lot of years.
“The World Golf Championships, if you go and play, it’s a free check, but I’m not going to chase a free check. It felt like it was more important to me at the time.”
Seriously, this kid is mature enough to realize that there are more important things in life than money or playing in a big golf tournament. He also realized it was important for him to take a step back and not overextend his schedule since the next few months will be packed with the PGA and then the FedExCup playoffs, not to mention the potential of the Presidents Cup.
Spieth is only 20 and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in many, many, more World Golf Championships, but he’ll only be able to go to his caddie’s wedding once (well, at least to his first wife).
Well played, Jordan, well played.