Jordan Spieth: Masters win leaves him as it found him

One of the few things you see in golf is major winners playing in the tournament after their victory. It’s not a big surprise; some guys find it hard to play the week following a regular Tour event. It’s not so much the physical fatigue, it’s what it takes out of you mentally.

But Jordan Spieth didn’t have any second thoughts about his commitment to play the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina after he won the Masters last week. Did he even think about passing on playing this week? 

I didn’t, no.  I was asked Friday or Saturday when I was in the lead, “Hey, if you were to win Sunday are you thinking about maybe not going?”  From the get‑go I was always planning on coming here.  The question was then asked right after the round, “If we go to New York, are you going to go back to play Hilton Head?”  And I said, “Yeah, I’m still committed.”

This tournament has been very good to me.  I had a start here in 2013 when I didn’t have full PGA Tour status, top‑10, and it helped with job security.  And so it’s a tournament that’s close to me and I love it here.

It would be different if he could have just buzzed over to Hilton Head from Augusta. That’s just a 135 mile drive through rural South Carolina. Could have been pretty relaxing if he had headed over after breakfast Monday morning. But there is this thing called publicity and if it’s a big deal like the Masters, it’s going to be New York-big:

So after [the hard work of winning the Masters] came the media in New York.  We had I think it was like 25 or 26 different stops in 25 hours, which was a little crazy, especially after the three weeks in a row of kind of being draining already.

But we had a great time with it.  It was really cool.  It was cool to experience that different side and to see the impact that the Masters has internationally, and not only in the golf community.  And just shows the interest in the golf and how it’s growing.  I got to experience that firsthand and it was awesome, as well as sharing my own story.

But who would have been more prepared for that than a 14-year-old kid who declared then that it was going to be his biggest goal. Did the reality of the win exceed his dreams?

Yeah, it definitely does.  And that started just walking up 18 on Sunday.  And I realized that this is actually going to be cooler than I ever could have dreamt it being, just the feeling that I had then.  And since then, yeah — I mean, it’s amazing that you can pull these videos and letters from who knows where.  But it’s obviously something — I wasn’t lying to you when I said that it was my dream to win the Masters.  It’s obviously proof because you see it when I was 14, you see it in letters from when I was 16 and I’ve said it since then, as well.

From that same answer, he goes on to talk about the fact that he just missed winning last year. And he talked about the err of his ways being to not, “…just let things fall into place.” That’s a fine distinction for him to draw since we all tend to think that we need to be going 100% full out in order to make things happen:

So just proves kind of how badly we wanted this tournament.  Almost wanted it too bad last year.  And I didn’t just let things fall into place.  And this year we just, for whatever reason, were more mentally strong than I’ve ever been.  And that’s what allowed us to accomplish this dream.

So the question then becomes, “Now what?” What do you do for an encore after you’ve accomplished your biggest dream? Has he thought about that?

Not necessarily yet, no, I really haven’t.  That was kind of the highest goal was to try and win the Masters.

At this point to lead the FedExCup is an incredible honor, it’s something in order to stay in that position like Jimmy [Walker] has for the majority of the last two years. You have to play tremendous golf, win tournaments, certainly be in contention a lot.  Winning the FedExCup would be an incredible feat this year, as well as having a significant focus on the majors and World Golf Championships.

So it’s going to be cool seeing Michael [Greller, his caddie] have that bib that’s different than the rest.  And with that there comes, you know, added expectations that we put on ourselves.  So wouldn’t rather be in any other position right now, though.

Here’s another thing that’s interesting: the Masters did take a lot out of him…

Yesterday my energy level was maybe at a two.  Today I’m back up to about a six.  I should be at a nine tomorrow.

Yeah, fortunately I’m in the afternoon the first round, otherwise that might have been tough.  Yeah, I feel good.  I feel good today.

…and as proof of how much it took out of him, he was not going to play any practice holes. He was just going to go to the first tee on Thursday:

I mean no offense to this week, but I will be more comfortable on the first tee than I was last week, especially after everything that just happened.

I’m obviously not as prepared, maybe, as I’d like to be, as far as getting on the golf course.  I won’t have played one hole before Thursday.  But I am going to practice some today and try and get myself back to the shape we were just a few days ago.

It’s going to be hard for me to settle in and do a lot of thinking, which is what you have to do here.  I’m going to want to start hitting drivers around this place tomorrow.  So I’m going to have to sit back and try to pick a plan for the course without knowing exactly how it’s playing, which will be a new experience for me.  I’m excited to get out there and should have a good idea how it’s playing after the first four or five holes.

And finally, beyond his game, the thing about Jordan Spieth that has really captured the attention of the golf world is the way he has handled himself with such class and gratitude. But, the media wondered, would he be able to bring himself back to ground after such things as the green jacket ceremony and his whirlwind New York jaunt? Would all of this hoopla affect all that he had become before this huge win:

I don’t see how it should.  I don’t see why it would.  I imagine there will be more of a spotlight.  It was a little crazy in New York having paparazzi know where we were going to eat dinner, even though we never told anybody.  So that part kind of was different and gave me a little insight into what it could be like here and there.  But also it was the first few days right after the tournament.  But given some time that will subside a little bit, but probably not around Dallas and home.

But I don’t see why or how or a reason that it should change me.  So I don’t know necessarily how to answer that.  I’m me, and if anything were to change it’s going to be negative on me for changing because of — I don’t even know how it would change.  I’m just going to continue to play this season, try and set new goals for the year, and accomplish them, just like we have already.

He’s pretty big already, but this “kid” is going to be huge.

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