Jun
25
2017
Sunday at the Travelers Championship: Holy hole-out! (Episode Six)
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Wow, that was a thriller! — I’m glad I dragged my butt up to Hartford last night and made it to the Travelers Championship, my favorite regular event on the PGA Tour schedule, in time before Jordan Spieth made the turn in the final round.

Hey, you know what they say, the Travelers doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday! It’s been almost three hours since Spieth holed-out from the bunker on 18 for birdie in the first playoff hole against Daniel Berger, and I *still* have goosebumps.

I was standing to the left of the green on the hill next to Ryan Palmer, who was waiting for Spieth since the two Dallas-area natives were sharing a jet together, and it was an absolutely electric atmosphere. I blacked out, but I think I even screamed and threw my arms in the air, which I never do. You see, as media, we’re trained never to show any emotion regardless of the moment, but every once in a while, there will be something so mind-blowing that I’ll actually react. I was too busy being like, what the hell just happened, so I think I missed the successful celebratory chest-bump in person, but I saw the club in the air and the rake.

Here’s what Spieth said about it in his presser:

I think I left-handed through — I am left-handed, but I think I tossed my wedge not even like tomahawk, like from the shaft tossed it. I don’t know if it was in the bunker or the rough or where it went. And Michael, I was actually a little surprised by jubilation from Michael. I looked over, I think he had kind of turned around and like screamed. Normally he’d just kind of have his hands up or something, right? He’s more reserved. He was screaming and it made me want to scream louder and then he jumped. And fortunately we didn’t like high five jump. We both went kind of for the little side bump. But it was cool.

I mean, the ground was shaking it was so loud. What an amphitheater. What a tremendous last four holes, finishing holes, where you can get the crowd super involved with an amphitheater setting. I mean, if I were a fan, I would pick this tournament. This one and Phoenix is kind of two that stick out to come to on the PGA TOUR season, just given the excitement of the closing holes.

Greller is always even-keeled and keeps his calm and composure usually even in the most riveting moments, but he went nuts this time. After Spieth’s presser, he still looked shell-shocked.

“I freaked out,” he said. “This is definitely a let’s go nuts time.”

And in case you were wondering, that rake is safely in Spieth’s bag and Greller will be bringing it back home to Seattle with him for his man cave. Aside: I’d love a “live look” in the terminal when Greller checks in for his flight — I hope he just walks in with the rake.


 

Spieth also made a bit of history, joining Tiger Woods as the only other player to win 10 times on the PGA Tour before the age of 24.

Spieth summed up my thoughts before anyone starts making those annoying Tiger comparisons:

Q. A momentous victory. 10 now at 24. Tiger had 15. Nobody else has ever had double digits. Can you put that into perspective?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think it’s awesome. I’m hesitant and will speak out adamantly about not comparing myself to anybody else. I think that’s unfair. I don’t think anybody will do what Tiger did for the game. But it’s really cool to be out here at my age, to experience what we’re able to experience, play golf for a living. That’s a dream come true for me.

THANK YOU. I can’t favorite that quote enough times.

Some numbers via the Tour:

With the win, Spieth collects his 10th career PGA Tour title in his 120th start at the age of 23 years, 10 months, 29 days. Spieth joins Tiger Woods as the only players in the modern era with 10 PGA TOUR wins by the age of 24. Woods had 15 before he turned 24.

 

Woods was 23 years, 6 months, 4 days when he won his 10th PGA TOUR victory at the 1999 BMW Championship. Jordan Spieth was age 5.

Players with Most PGA TOUR Wins Under the Age of 24 (since 1983)

Player Wins
Tiger Woods 15
Jordan Spieth 10
Rory McIlroy 6
Justin Thomas 4
Phil Mickelson 4

 

Jordan Spieth’s PGA TOUR Victories:

2013 – John Deere Classic

2015 – Valspar Championship, Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, John Deere Classic, TOUR Championship

2016 – SBS Tournament of Champions, DEAN & DELUCA Invitational

2017 – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Travelers Championship


A few different version of the hole-out and the celebration… it doesn’t get old no matter how many times you’ve watched it.

And I mean, you know it’s a big deal when golf actually makes “Twitter Moments”:


 

To wrap-up the exciting finish, I’m joined by award-winning golf journalist Adam Schupak and Corporate Communications Director of Travelers Michael Whitmer, who covered golf for the Boston Globe until this past year. Tune in!

(This was also my first attempt at editing a podcast episode using Audacity, and I think I did OK, but this was an easy one. I’m trying to edit an interview with Peter Uihlein and it’s a disaster. Nikki B has done all the editing to date, but I’ve gotta learn at some point, obviously!)