Learning from Jordan Spieth
On Sunday, June 23rd, Jordan Spieth (23 years old) won the 146th British Open, one of professional golf’s most historic tournaments. He did it by shooting five under par day 1, one under par day 2, 5 under par day 3 and finishing off with a one under par for the final round to edge out Matt Kuchar.
Many will look at Jordan Spieth’s four rounds and be immediately drawn to rounds 1 and 3 as his “best” over the weekend… but I would disagree. His best round was by far the final round at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. It was a circus of a round, but a round of golf that I think many people could learn a few things from. Not just people who enjoy the game of golf, but people everywhere. It showed us that Jordan isn’t just a good golfer. It showed us that Jordan is a champion.
I’m one of those weird people that actually turns on golf to WATCH it, not just sleep through it (although nothing beats a Sunday nap with golf in the background). With the open taking place in the UK, the tournament was showing much earlier on television today. I got to enjoy my morning coffee while watching Spieth play his way to victory… so that was nice. Not being asleep means I was able to catch all of the positives and negatives of Spieths round. At first, there seemed to be more negatives than positives in his round. Just take a look at this scorecard for 18 holes.
In case you don’t feel like zooming in on that picture… orange = bad. Blue = good.
For those none golfers reading here. Let me break down that scorecard for you real quick. You see the “PAR” underneath the hole number? Good. Golfers want to be at or preferably UNDER par when they finish that hole. This is good. The low score wins golf.
That being said… HOLY HOT DAMN JORDAN, WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT FRONT 9?!
Bogey, par, bogey, bogey, a ray-of-hope birdie… then finishing off with another bogey? Yikes.
Now, for us mere mortals playing the game, this would actually be a fantastic round under those conditions and at that course. But Jordan’s a professional golfer, not a weekend hack-job like the rest of us. This front 9 was less than stellar. It was a 9 hole stretch of golf that he’ll do his best to never recreate again. During those 9 holes, he lost a comfortable lead, and more impactful, he lost valuable momentum. These kind of front 9’s are known to cripple players. Players can lose hope, lose their drive, and they lose any chance of playing better. It was looking like the British Open was going to elude young Spieth once again.
But you know what they say… it ain’t over ’till it’s over.
Spieth stepped to the number 10 tee box, flipped a switch, and went full-blown champion mode for three holes. He parred 10, 11, and 12 with ease. Then he had a circus-show of a 13th hole. He hit a HORRENDOUS drive which caused him to take a penalty stroke. Not only that, he then had to find a suitable place to drop his ball and play his next shot. This took 30 minutes. 30 MINUTES. That’s a LONG time for someone to be on one hole, much less one shot. After every rules official on the island had their say, Spieth played his shot, and got up and down for bogey. To get a bogey out of that situation truly is a fantastic accomplishment. A hole like that SHOULD have crushed his momentum. It should have discouraged him and left his head hanging.
Not the champ.
The final 5 holes were some of the best I’ve had the pleasure to witness. Birdie. EAGLE. Birdie. Birdie. And capped it off with an easy Par. He striped his drives, hit approach shots with surgical precision, and made putts that the best putting computer models couldn’t have made. He. Was. On. FIRE. His attitude reflected it. The momentum was his. It didn’t matter if the second place guy (Matt Kuchar) turned it on last minute… Spieth was NOT going to lose that tournament. He won the British Open, marking it his third major victory (Masters ’15, U.S. Open ’15, British Open ’17).
“Alright, Clark… I get it. It was a great round of golf. But what can I take away from this?”
Let’s take a look at Jordan’s (can I call him Jordan?) round of golf like we would look at any event or task we set our mind to. Since I’m more of an expert on helping people get fit, we’ll take a look at it from the fitness realm.
Sometimes when you start off, things won’t go as well as you have planned. In fact, it might get pretty rough. Things won’t go your way. You’re going to make some bogeys. You may find yourself discouraged. Heck, you might even lose the lead you had. You’ll definitely lose some momentum.
What’s important is to remember that we still have TIME. We have 9 more holes of golf to play, or 8 more weeks left on our nutrition program, or 6 more weeks until our trip. A few bumps in the road might disrupt our progress, and that’s OK! What’s not ok is letting these bumps completely derail us and steer us to an early defeat.
You’re still in the fight.
You’ve got another 9 holes to play.
You can still win this championship.
You can still hit that goal weight.
You can still get yourself to the best shape you’ve ever been in, even after a few bogeys.
Bogeys don’t keep you from winning. Giving up AFTER the bogeys separate you from the trophy.
Have the attitude and mindset of a CHAMPION, not the average weekend golfer. To hell with average. You’re a champion. Show us.