Learning from the Dark Side

Wait… golf can teach us something???

Last weekend, The Masters golf tournament took place, and Jordan Spieth took home “the coveted green jacket” that goes to the tournament champion.  (Rafa wouldn’t have much fun biting THAT particular trophy!)  I watched none of it, and wish I could have watched less.  That’s how much I enjoy golf.

But I did take some time to read about the new champ, and I was struck by the similarities in his approach to his game as in the top champions (Rafa, Djoker, Serena… I’m forgetting SOMEONE, I think) of ours.  The section below should be required reading for all players and their parents — I hope it resonates with you as much as it did me.

– Coach Jared

For the entire story — I’ve given only the cliff notes and highlighted parts that struck me — go here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/jordan-spieth-s-biggest-prize-for-winning-the-masters-%E2%80%93-telling-his-sister-he-won-021655897.html

It’s not that Spieth doesn’t care about running roughshod over the course and the competition. He texted caddie Michael Greller on Sunday morning and said he wanted to get to 20-under par. Considering, at that moment, no one had ever gotten to 19-under par, that was quite the aggressive plan.

But behind that ambition is something else, perhaps best explained through another conversation Spieth had Sunday morning. His dad, Shawn, didn’t say anything to his son before last year’s final round, but this time he did.

“This is the greatest game, the Masters,” Shawn Spieth said. “But it’s still a game.”

That’s the perspective that Jordan Spieth seems to take with him everywhere. His younger brother Steven is not a golfer but a basketball player for Brown. Most of his closest friends don’t play golf. Even Jordan himself grew up playing several sports. There’s a bigger world out there, and Jordan understands it. Even caddie Michael Greller said Saturday that “at the end of the day, golf is just entertainment.”

And when Jordan got up to accept the green jacket, the moment every golfer cherishes as a distant ideal, he began by thanking the club members, the volunteers, and the food and beverage staff.

He then called winning The Masters “the ultimate goal in my life” before correcting himself: “my golf life.”

So although Spieth reveres golf history, relying on Ben Crenshaw and caddie Carl Jackson to prepare him for this week’s tournament, he is not a golf geek. He grew up doing much more than beating balls into nets endlessly like some fast-track kids. That, too, helped him this week.  He sees the bigger picture even inside the tiniest frame.