COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Don’t know about you, but this British Open gave me just the first little glimmerings of Spieth Fatigue. The guy is fabulous, a great golfer, a great competitor, and obviously a person of high character. Not an exaggeration to call him the anti-Tiger when it comes to personal behavior. His performance in the Open was excellent, despite the shocking breakdowns with the putter. Great theater, and I rooted for him with every shot. But despite all of this, a small part of me kept thinking, what if he won this one, indeed what if he also won the PGA for the Grand Slam? Wouldn’t he be tempted to pull a Bobby Jones and just retire immediately? Or wouldn’t he at least lose some of his ambition?

Regarding his game, I do not mind a bit that Spieth is not that much more physically-gifted than the better of the two Johnsons, gritty little Zach, who played so well and won. Sure, it was fun to watch Tiger before he was ruined by his ego and Hank Haney; his game was dramatic, way better than that of the competition. Spieth may never win a Major by 8 strokes or intimidate his fellow pros. But if you really like golf, like it for more than just spectacle and theater, Spieth is at least as much fun to watch as was Tiger, because Spieth reveals so much about the mental side of the game and the character side of the game. Every tournament is a competition, yet every opponent likes and respects Spieth and would be shocked if he were ever disrespectful or unpleasant to another player.

But what if Spieth had fulfilled every possible ambition a pro golfer could entertain, winning the whole shebang in one spectacular year? What if his earnings from tournament purses and commercial endorsements reached a point where they were closer to a hundred million than to one? What if he felt compelled to swap his starter mansion for something a bit more like that of the CEO of a tech company? Aren’t you just a little relieved to know that it should be at least another year before Heir Jordan, having scarcely achieved legal drinking-age, decides the world is too much with him?

By the way, it is hard to take a guy like the inferior Johnson, Dustin, as seriously as one takes a player like Zach Johnson or Jordan Spieth. For one thing, I have a hard time imagining Zach Johnson and his wife posing in matching bikinis at poolside, or starting a family before they started a marriage. For that matter, I would not be shocked if it turned out that Mrs. Zach is a better golfer than the soon-to-be Mrs. Dustin, maybe a better choice for the cover of a golf magazine.

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