There are those who think Jordan Spieth is crazy for playing in the John Deere Classic the week before the British Open. After all, the young Texan has a real shot at making history after winning the Masters and the U.S. Open. Why not go to Scotland early to adjust to the time change and get some practice rounds in at the Old Course at St. Andrews? Why risk a chance at winning the Grand Slam for the John Deere?
Well, Spieth’s decision is proving that a little karma can go a long way in golf. Spieth won the John Deere in 2013 for his first PGA Tour victory and committed to playing this year before he won the U.S. Open last month. He honored that commitment and ended up winning the tournament in a playoff.
It’s safe to say that winning four days before the start of a major is a pretty good confidence builder.
As for the jet lag Spieth may encounter after flying across six times zones? Don’t forget that he’s only 21 years old, not 50. His body surely can handle it. Oh, and it’s not as if he was stuck in coach on a hop-scotch flight to Scotland. He flew direct on a complimentary charter (a perk for John Deere participants playing in the Open).
“The only downside here versus playing anywhere else is just the adjustment to the time zone,” Spieth told reporters at the John Deere before the tournament started. “But as long as I get over there and I have my schedule ahead of time, I’m going to have enough sleep by the time I tee it up Thursday.”
Spieth certainly is playing as good as anyone these days. Since winning his first PGA Tour title two years ago, he’s added four tour victories (all this year) – two of those were majors – and has finished in the top five an impressive 17 times.
Now it is true that Lee Trevino is the only player in history to win a tour event in America the week before winning the British Open. So history is not on Spieth’s side.
But if anyone can buck the trends Spieth can. He’s playing that well. After Spieth’s U.S. Open win at Chambers Bay, which played more like a links-style course in Europe, USGA executive director Mike Davis told ESPN.com that “Jordan is good enough to win the Grand Slam.”
Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years.
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