The Incredible Shrinking Man: Tiger Woods is shrinking before our very eyes. Not metaphorically. Literally. Like Benjamin Button. Here’s a photo from the Roanoke Times of Woods playing a practice round with Patrick Reed:
Reed towers over Woods, who looks like he hasn’t eaten in a week. What is wrong with Tiger? Something strange is going on. Clearly he… What? That’s… Oh. Sorry. That’s not Patrick Reed. That’s Jim Justice, the owner of Greenbrier. Nevermind.
Jack at St. Andrews: Don’t forget the Golf Channel replay of Jack Nicklaus winning at St. Andrews in 1978. It will air Tuesday evening.
Charlie Rymer Rips Geoff Shackelford: Geoff Shackelford has been criticizing Jordan Spieth for playing the John Deere Classic instead of going to St. Andrews to prepare for the British Open. This morning on Golf Channel, Charlie Rymer tore Shackelford a new one over that contention, pointing out that Spieth’s planning has worked rather well so far this year, and, Charlie pointed out, to start changing things when they are going so well would be the mistake. [Video is available here. This mocking burn by Rymer is hilarious: “Let’s poll your readers to see what this player should do!”]
Check out this article from the Chicago Sun-Times, written shortly after Spieth won the Masters in April:
But in a display of the character that makes him such an admired champion, Spieth has assured Peterson he will play at the John Deere, then hop the jet it provides for contestants going on to the British Open.
Here’s a question and answer from an interview conducted a year ago:
Q. Will [the John Deere Classic] be on your schedule in the future, though?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I really like it a lot. Again, it’s a course and a tournament that has been very special to me going back to when I was in college. They gave me a spot. I’m very, very loyal to the tournaments that have I feel like launched my career. I don’t see myself not coming back.
Being appreciative and loyal? Yes, yes, by all means, Geoff, condemn him for that.
Come on, I really hope Jordan Spieth wins the Grand Slam, but let’s get real: The Grand Slam is, at heart, an artificial construct. If Shackelford thinks playing the John Deere lessens Jordan’s chances of winning the British Open, that makes Jordan’s loyalty all the more admirable. Talk about a role model! Putting other people above our own self-interest is about the most admirable thing a human can do.
The media should discuss this as a matter of “what I would do,” as opposed to what is “best.” Because, I have to think, loyalty and respect top sports accomplishments no matter what, if one stops to think about it. Perhaps Shackelford would feel comfortable putting personal ambition ahead of loyalty to some of the people who helped launch his career. Jordan Spieth doesn’t.
Jordan Spieth is telling American children, “Why, of course you keep your commitments.” I don’t see anything at all wrong with that, Mr. Shackelford.
Watching the replay, I think Charlie Rymer hit all the right notes:
Rymer: I think Jordan Spieth is doing exactly the right thing, sticking to that game plan. Not to mention the value that his commitment brings to the folks of the John Deere Classic, an event with a big heart. It’s a big deal for him to come in there. I think if he were to bail out, he’d come into the Open Championship somewhere feeling a little bit bad. You gotta feel positive if you’re gonna go out and try and do what he’s gonna try and do in a couple of weeks at St. Andrews.
Shackelford: There will be many more John Deere Classics to come that he could play in. This is the time he’s got a chance to win the Grand Slam.
H’s gotta go for it.
Rymer: So let’s just abandon that successful game plan and get all selfish, that’s what you’re saying!