Jordan Spieth has missed the cut at the Players Championship each of the past two years, so it’s perhaps understandable that he’d be a bit on edge early in the week at TPC Sawgrass. Plus he’s not exactly an unemotional player anyway.
So when he was playing the par 4 first (his tenth hole of the day) on Thursday and he ended up in a greenside bunker, he was already displeased. But when he saw his lie, and the apparent reason for it, he was really pissed. Apparently it hadn’t been properly raked after another competitor had ended up in a similar area, and that had caused Spieth’s issue.
The resulting shot didn’t go well:
He ended up three-putting from there and making double bogey, and he was so incensed by his circumstances he snapped a cell phone pic of the bunker problem.
“Yeah, it was just a bunker that was raked to where it just kind of looked like somebody didn’t really care much to do it or were rushing off the green, because I had … I think, worse than a plugged lie, when it just trickled into it,” said Spieth, who shot a one-over 73.
“And I overreacted probably a bit, but all in all, you just don’t see that very often and I know my guy, [caddie] Michael [Greller], rakes and makes sure that that’s exactly the way that it was when he went in there, so that if you hit it in the bunker, everybody gets the same kind of thing. And you don’t see it — guys are very good 99.9 percent of the time and that was very frustrating, because I knew where I was, from a normal lie, it wasn’t too bad. And from that lie I had no chance. So it was a frustrating time in the round there where I was trying to kind of get some momentum going.”
Raking on tour is an underrated part of caddying, but they take it seriously, and if you were drafted into caddy service and raked a bunker like you probably do during a weekend round at your local course, you’d be ridiculed. They really do try to make sure it’s as though no one had ever entered, but in this case, it was apparently egregious enough that Spieth wanted to show tournament officials his circumstances, and also bad enough that Phil Mickelson concurred and encouraged the cell phone picture.
So, who’s the offending player?
Golf.com’s Sean Zak and Josh Berhow did a bit of digging using the PGA Tour’s ShotTracker feature, and came up with the only players to have been in that bunker prior to Spieth’s visit:
— Josh Berhow (@Josh_Berhow) May 11, 2017
Based on that, it looks like Zac Blair and Cody Gribble (well, their caddies) were the most likely candidates, though it’s impossible to know. The main takeaway, though, should be that Spieth’s tendency to let small things visibly bother him on the course came back to haunt him again today.
He’s obviously a great player, and it’s definitely annoying to end up in a weird spot in a bunker. But at the same time, they are hazards; when you’re hitting it into the sand, you’re not entitled to a perfect lie. And the bad lie wasn’t why he three-putted from forty feet.
Jordan Spieth doesn’t need advice on the mental side of golf from a writer he’s never heard of, though, and he admitted he overreacted. He’ll be fine.