Even Jordan Spieth himself admitted his opening round at the Barclay's tournament was terrible. Normally a dead-eye putter, he seemed to have more yips than your average dog pound. And his second round wasn't much better. Spieth failed to make the cut at the first of golf's "playoff" tournaments. This wasn't supposed to happen to the recently crowned #1 golfer in the world.
After only two weeks sitting on the throne (which is a very long time by magazine reading couch-tater standards, but quite brief in the world of golf), dear Jordan has been deposed. In a way, it's somewhat surprising. Isn't this the same dude that won the Masters and US Open, and came within a shot of the British, while winning a couple other tournaments along the way? That's pretty impressive stuff. But miss one cut and, BAM, no more #1. It took weeks, months, even years to finally unseat Tiger Woods from #1, though his game had clearly taken a nosedive. Poor Eldrick didn't even qualify for this year's playoffs. Only the top 125 get in and Tiger's mired somewhere down in the high 200s. This is what happens when a guy only plays 11 tournaments all year, misses the cut in five of them, withdraws from another, and had exactly one top-ten finish -- tied for tenth -- in his last outing at Wyndham -- a second tier tourney he had never even played before. He be gone.
And you know what? That's a good thing. During this year's playoffs, the TV viewers won't be force-fed endless Tiger replays of this and that. See Tiger putt. See Tiger chip. See Tiger eat a banana. See Tiger blast one into the gallery, or off a tree, or into the drink, or whatever. See Tiger drop another f-bomb or a G-dammit. And most of all -- see Tiger at a post-round press conference, no matter how far back he is and hopelessly out of contention. Even his die-hard legions of groupies, including the media, are hard-pressed to find ways to celebrate Eldrick Tont Woods these days.
In his absence, the coverage of the golf playoffs has become much more palatable. Instead of focusing in on their "favorite" player ad nauseum, the TV folks have been rightly forced to provide more even coverage of what's going on amongst the players on the course. It's long overdue, and quite refreshing. We get to see a little bit of everything with the field of guys that -- you know -- actually were good enough to get this far.
As the field is pared down in the next few tournaments, who will win the bazillion dollar pot of gold at the end of the Fed-Ex rainbow is anybody's guess. Right now, some shrimpy lefty named Bubba with a pink driver seems to be faring quite well. But that can change, and likely will. This is just the opening round.
Two things that won't change are Jordan Spieth is already out. Tiger Woods never even qualified in the first place.
Both will be back next year, and "next year" officially starts in only a couple months. (Not too much time off for the linksters. Kind of like NASCAR. As soon as the "Chase" is over, they get maybe a month off and then they're down at Daytona practicing for the next 500.)
I like Jordan's chances of bouncing back to greatness a whole lot better than Eldrick's. Spieth is only 22. Woods will be 40 in December. One is just beginning to rise on his bell curve, while the other has long been on the back side of it.
Spieth could well re-take the #1 spot in the world. Tiger? Not a chance. A big difference. And all the hype in the world isn't going to change that.