‘If any­thing can spark Rory back to form, it’s the spec­tre of Spi­eth pip­ping him to the Grand Slam’

Golf World (UK) - - NEWS - Nick Wright, Ed­i­tor nick.jwright@bauer­me­dia.co.uk @nick­jameswright

When Jor­dan Spi­eth carved his ball so far right off the 13th tee dur­ing the fi­nal round of the Open that it al­most landed in a dif­fer­ent county, it was just as well that his cad­die Michael Greller, a for­mer maths teacher, had a solid grasp of Pythago­ras’ the­o­rem.

The land­ing spot of Spi­eth’s drive turned out to be near the crest of one of the high­est dunes on the course. Af­ter find­ing his ball buried in thick fes­cue, the 24-year-old de­clared the lie un­playable and, af­ter an eter­nity spent clear­ing crowds out the way, de­cided his best op­tion was to hike all the way back to the driv­ing range know­ing he would be granted line-of-sight re­lief from the Tour trail­ers that re­mained in place from ear­lier in the week.

While Spi­eth was ne­go­ti­at­ing with the rules of­fi­cials as to the ex­act lo­ca­tion for his penalty drop, Greller was fran­ti­cally travers­ing the dunes, analysing the an­gles and crunch­ing the num­bers to give his player an ac­cu­rate yardage. He fi­nally cal­cu­lated the dis­tance to the front of the green to be 230 yards. Spi­eth hit a driv­ing iron over the dunes to within 30 yards of the green and got up-and-down for one of the great­est bo­geys ever seen in a ma­jor cham­pi­onship.

Aside from the ethics of the drop and the in­ter­minable amount of time it took Spi­eth to hit his third while his chief ri­val, Matt Kuchar, waited on the other side of the fair­way, the sce­nario not only high­lighted Spi­eth’s in­cred­i­ble ma­tu­rity but the close re­la­tion­ship he has with his cad­die.

Given how gen­er­ous Spi­eth was with his praise for Greller af­ter­wards, it may have been more than co­in­ci­dence that Rory McIl­roy promptly de­cided to part ways with his own cad­die, JP Fitzger­ald. Al­though JP had been on the bag for all four of McIl­roy’s ma­jors, many ob­servers had re­cently crit­i­cised his lack of as­sertive­ness and in­put into Rory’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Only time will tell if McIl­roy’s de­ci­sion will bear fruit, but one thing is for sure; if there’s any­thing that can spark McIl­roy back into form, it’s the spec­tre of Jor­dan Spi­eth pip­ping him to the ca­reer Grand Slam. And by the time you read this, it may al­ready have hap­pened. En­joy the is­sue!

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