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