by Jim Buzzerd
Anyone catch Jordan Spieth raking his caddie, Michael Greller, over the coals during the first round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach last Thursday? Spieth was playing the eighth hole when he hit his tee shot too far and it rolled off a cliff and presumably into the ocean. He then smashed an iron over the green on his next shot that prompted Spieth to say to Greller, “Two perfect shots, Michael. You got me in the water on one and over the green on the other.”
In the heat of battle that comment probably isn’t worth discussing, except when FOX microphones are everywhere and making Spieth sound petulant. That kind of chatter between player and caddie may be more common than we realize. I seem to recall Bubba Watson dress down his looper a time or two, but this sounded a little different because Spieth was clearly blaming Greller for the bad shots….and everyone heard him.
It didn’t take long for social media to run with it either. When the pair made their way around the course in the second round Greller was getting more than a few shouts of encouragement. On the eighth hole Friday, Spieth hit it deep again, missing the minuscule green, but was able to get up-and-down to save a par. After he poured in the 11-foot putt for the save, someone screamed “That a way, Michael!” as if the caddie had rolled the putt himself.
Spieth had this to say about the matter, “When you hit a couple of shots exactly where you want to, and one’s in the water and the other’s dead over the green, I’m gonna be frustrated that, as a team, we didn’t figure out how to make sure that didn’t happen,” he told Karen Crouse of The New York Times. “I may have looked like the bad guy there, but my intentions there were that we should have been in play if the ball is hit solidly, and I was out of play on both shots.”
It’s become popular among players in recent years to use the word ‘team’ when talking about their golf. I get that in a lot of ways because there are many people involved with a player’s success and the caddie is at the top of the support list. Still, to me, golf is still an individual game for the most part and the player ultimately decides which club to use and hits the shot with it.
I was a big fan of Spieth, but my interest in him doing well has lessened as time has passed. That’s only because of the microphones picking up his constant chatter as he begs the golf ball to do what he wants while it is in flight. Yeah, every player talks to his ball, but Jordan is different somehow. I’ll admit getting some satisfaction with him getting some heat for comments to Greller. Of course Spieth blaming his caddie for bad decision making is still preferable to hearing fans screaming bobobooey after every golf shot.