Happy New Year folks! Welcome to another knock-down, drag-out debate, this one centered on an over-rated 22-year old from Texas, who just had the best year as a young stud on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods in 1997. In 2015, Jordan Spieth won five times and banked more than $12 million in official purses, while climbing to World No. 1. While most of the chatter about Spieth revolved around how he is destined to be the next Tiger, a close look at how he got there shows me that his career may be short-lived, doomed and his game is one-dimensional – putting.
My goal this year is try to stay positive, but it’s taken exactly three paragraphs to remind dream- weavers like “Grouchy” that Golf Boy Wonder missed the cut in 4 of 25 events, including the first two FedEx Cup events, the Barclays & Deutsche Bank Championship. It’s scary to see statistics confirming how one-dimensional Spieth’s game is. He will never be mentioned among the all-time greats, although he had the golf world buzzing last July at The British Open and came close to winning the first three majors of the year, settling for second.
In 2015, Spieth ranked 166th in driving distance (283-yards), 104th in driving accuracy (60 percent), 154th in clubhead speed (110), 43rd in GIR (72 percent), 1st in scrambling (76 percent), 1st in sand saves and 1st in score average (69.1). Very pedestrian numbers until you factor in his putting prowess. He is 1st in putts-per-round (26), putting average (1.6), birdie conversion (48 percent), birdie average (6) and putts from outside 35-feet. Seems the closer he gets to the hole the better he gets, which is what winning golf is all about!
So the mystery to me is how did such a mediocre player compile such a huge year? And, why do fans, media and a $4 billion a year underwear company called Under Armour flock to his growing fan-base? Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing an Under Armour golf shirt. The upside-down arms symbol reminds me of a Walmart label, not high-end golf gear, yet Forbes estimates he pockets $10 million a year from his primary sponsor.
My prediction for Spieth is that his career peaked early at age 22. With such a one-dimensional game that relies solely on the putter, the question is will he win again? He’s a good pick for a Fantasy Golf team, but a major is out of the question. In the last 35 years, only Tiger Woods – the undisputed greatest golfer ever – has won multiple majors in one season and then won at least one the following year, and he did it three times.
The newfound lifestyle, including the purchase for $7 million of Hunter Mahan’s home in Dallas, the headlines, travel demands, money, fame, women, greed and bad practice habits will eventually erode Jordan Spieth’s golf career. The shine is already vanishing from his star based on comments he made after a whirlwind two-month money-grabbing tour around the world to such places as Hawaii, Bahamas, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Singapore and South Korea. “It won’t be something I’ll do in the future, to bounce back and forth from Asia or Australia,” he told Golfweek. “I’m very tired. As a team we’re beat up mentally and physically. I’m not 100 percent right now and it shows in certain places.”
Of course what Spieth fails to mention when he complains of being tired is that he pocketed million dollar appearance fees at the overseas tournaments. It was widely reported that the Abu Dhabi HSBC event Jan 21 -24 paid Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth $1.5 million each to participate. Isn’t it odd that the total tournament purse was only $2.7 million and first place paid out $480K? Spieth finished T-5 and McIlroy T-3. What’s the expression – money talks?
Follow the money young man, regardless of how tired you get, but please don’t complain publically when you get millions for just showing up! There are two words to describe that action and first word is “ass.” Finally, Jordan Spieth has admitted burnout and hangover from last year. He’s a good player but let’s not confuse it with being great because of one fluky good season!
(Tom Gorman suggests all letters to the editor asking about the results of Mr. Geary’s investigation into drinking before writing and listing his favorite drinking habits be published at a later date.)WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?