Jordan Spieth is not going to let the golf media define his narrative, and this is — to borrow the golf media’s overused phrase — “good for golf.”
Consider two recent replies from Jordan Spieth that send a signal he’s not going to let the golf media dictate the narrative of his career. Left to their own devices, the golf media, as we all know, will try to define Jordan’s career, as well as all the rest of the world golf, through the lens of their fabricated Tiger Woods mythos.
Rory McIlroy has tried to distance himself from the Woods nonsense, primarily by refusing to say his life’s goal is to pass Jack Nicklaus’s majors mark (or Tiger Woods’s mark, for that matter); instead Rory states that he focuses only on winning “the next one.” Rory has had mixed results distancing himself from Woods, but it would have been far worse had he not at least made the effort. Of course Rory also has been hindered by his relationship with Nike, which makes Woods his stablemate.
Jordan Spieth seems more adamant than Rory about breaking from the Woods Era and all its unhealthy connotations. Of course, this is only my opinion, but I challenge you to take in Spieth’s words and tell me I’m wrong. (The following two quotes come from videos at Golf Channel’s TV page.)
Case 1: An interview with Todd Lewis:
Lewis: You win the Masters at the age of 21 at 18 under par. that’s the same age and the same winning number that Tiger Woods picked up his first masters, his first major championship, so there will be a lot of parallels made […]
Spieth: […] Whatever parallels are made, I will not be a part of them, as far as joining in on the conversation. But I would like to kind of create my own.
Spieth states his intention to create his own conversation, that he has no interest in discussing the Woods “parallels.” I think we can safely assume he is not interested in being asked a dozen questions at a press conference with ten of them being about Tiger Woods. For one thing — and this is not a minor point — Jordan is an Under Armour man. Why should he build up a competitor’s endorser? Every undeserved second Tiger Woods is on the screen with his Nike logo takes away a potential second Jordan and his Under Armour logo could be on the screen.
The golf media loves Jordan right now, but I wrote earlier in the year about how Jordan was shafted at the L.A. Open, receiving so little air time it stood out like a sore thumb. I asked if the golf media were boycotting him! (“Spieth Boycott? Is CBS boycotting Jordan Spieth or something? He finished one shot out of the playoff at L.A. and we hardly saw him at all on the weekend.”)
Case 2: Post-Masters Press Conference:
To go to the home of golf [St. Andrews, site of this years British Open], and what I consider one of the coolest places in the world, is going to be really special as the masters champion, and hopefully at that point, maybe try and go for the third leg of a grand slam. Can’t win four unless you win the first, right?
This was beautiful to hear. The grand slam used to be The Big Thing in golf. Every year, people would discuss whether the Masters winner had a chance to win the Grand Slam. Often that winner was Jack Nicklaus, and the question would be, “Is this finally the year?” It’s really refreshing to see Jordan harken back to golf’s golden era, simultaneously jettisoning all the sordid baggage accumulated by the golf media these past two decades.
I do not think any of Jordan’s words are accidental. I believe Spieth has no interest in being tied to the Tiger Is Golf BS, and I know Under Armour has no interest in Spieth leading a tournament in anonymity while CBS and NBC plaster a 10-strokes-behind Nike-wearing Woods all over the screen.
Jordan Spieth’s insistence on controlling his own conversation, his own narrative is good for him, and it is good for golf.