03/15/2016

At one point in part two of his sit down with David Feherty, Jordan Spieth discusses the putter that’s been in his bag for the better part of a decade. The world number one explained that he likes the look of the club. He’s not superstitious, per se, but it gives him confidence.

“The putter won me the Masters and the Tour Championship,” Spieth told Feherty.

The host quipped, “You could have had a hockey stick and an orange and won the Masters.”

The exchange highlighted what was a tremendous debut for the fifth season of “Feherty.” In two sentences, we saw the humility of Spieth and that trademark dry humor of Feherty. It was a perfect blend of characters.

And yet, something emerged early in the first episode that showed a different side of Spieth. For all he’s accomplished, the words that follow him are “humble,” “gracious” and “mature beyond his years.” Spieth is all of those things. He also has a quiet confidence—almost arrogance—that defines his young career. The trick is to leave it on the course.

But you could hear the confidence come through as Spieth recounted his Masters experience to Feherty. The 22 year old acknowledged that he remembers every shot he’s ever hit at Augusta National. He then went on to discuss a practice round he played with Ben Crenshaw and Tiger Woods. “This is was Tiger’s shot,” he said. “This was Ben Crenshaw’s putt.”

On one hand, Spieth admitted that he learned from the two luminaries. On the other, he put himself in the same sentence as them. And that’s not to say he doesn’t deserve the distinction. As you might recall, Spieth set records on his way to the Green Jacket (which, it should be said, he wore for the entirety of the interview).

But there were two surprising outcomes from the episodes. The first was that Spieth wanted nothing more than to sit on the beach and drink beer to celebrate his Masters win. He was 21 at the time and the adult in me (I’m 26 for the record) questioned his decision. I have nothing against Spieth drinking beer. In fact I support it. It’s just a bit startling to hear from somebody who displays such maturity week to week. We forget that he is somewhere between a kid and a young man.

The second surprising development was the aforementioned confidence. It came out when Spieth talked about Augusta. It was affirmed when he discussed the miss at St. Andrews.

“It still hurts,” Spieth said. He recalls having the lead on Sunday or at least being close and failing to win. He compared the feeling to the 2014 Masters when Bubba Watson caught and passed Spieth. The conceit was this: winning the Masters and US Open consecutively didn’t mean anything on the 18th hole at the Open Championship. Spieth couldn’t accept that loss.

That’s what makes him so successful, although it wasn’t like the episode was entirely serious. With Feherty in charge, it never is. Spieth was a great sidekick as well. He laughed as Feherty walked away with the US Open Trophy, the Northern Irishman-turned-American’s prize for winning a game of pool.

Spieth also deadpanned “The hair line” when Feherty asked him where the maturity comes from.

The two episodes gave us everything we expected to see from Spieth and more. He is thoughtful. He is mature for his age. He is the perfect role model for golf’s next generation. He’s also funny, intelligent and completely aware of everything around him.

For all the praise Spieth rightfully earned in 2015, one thing went unsaid: There’s a chance—a good one even—that he enjoyed the best season of his career at 21 and 22 years old. With two majors, two more top-5 finishes in those tournaments and a Tour Championship, Spieth set the bar higher than any of his contemporaries.

But Feherty offered a reassurance. Spieth isn’t going anywhere any time soon. We should be thankful for that.

******

https://twitter.com/brian_haverdink/status/709560077796188161