1 Jordan Spieth splutters during first round
But there is something blissfully beautiful about the paradox that is Spieth. Those able to slip Sydney’s sickening peak hour jams would have seen him swan down the 10th, his first hole, with breakfast still in hand. Casually approaching an errant tee shot nestled in a fairway bunker like he was only doing it because there was nothing better on this week.
It was almost like someone forgot to tell golf’s most important person he was scheduled to tee off at a time when many haven’t even hammered the alarm clock yet. He blazed out of the bunker and made birdie, the highlight of the round as it would be.
On the contrast, the 22 year old can be maddening in his methods and routines. The short practise backswing before every shot. That pendulum he makes with the putter, swinging from side to side while crouching down behind a tricky putt. The semi frequent times he removes himself from over a putt, having addressed it and seemingly unhappy with a fidgety member of the gallery. Or the howling wind. Or whirring noise of aeroplanes overhead.
Who knows what goes on in the head of a world No.1, surely no longer Heir Jordan but more likely to be Air Jordan given the rarefied company he might keep in a few years time?
“It certainly could have been worse today and I’m happy I played those par fives well,” said Spieth, signing for an even par 71. “To have something this windy . it’s been a while [since conditions were that tough].”
“I hit two fairways on the back nine and when you’re hitting out of rough or bunkers it’s even harder to control. I really need to drive the ball better. Given the conditions were tough I still could have found the fairway [more].”
And wouldn’t have the gallery, which swelled as the morning went on, been thankful. One time his drive played hopscotch with a kid’s bag, resting innocently under some much needed shade adjacent to a fairway. Another time the gallery was in the line of fire, a chain of heads ducking for cover as he sprayed it right down the first. At one stage, he didn’t even reach for his putter on the par three fourth until he had three shots in the book.
But for all the scrambling and saving, from the time he left his first green to the time he sauntered off the last, he was under par. Playing partners Geoff Ogilvy ( 3) and Lee Westwood ( 1) still had honours for the day. Fair result.
But how much will he regret a slip up on the ninth, his last hole for the day? Hard heads will remember Rory McIlroy’s title defence being put to bed under some carpet meshing on the same hole last year. Take a triple bogey, thanks. It promises to haunt another top ranked golfer all week.
Ogilvy drenched his second ball of the day on the same hole and took bogey. Westwood a double. And Spieth? He just had one of those club choices that never came off.
“It was a brain fart there,” Spieth said. “I was still frustrated with how we were misjudging the wind. The tough ones I got up and down and the most basic ones . the one on nine if you give me 100 shots 95 per cent of time I’m going to make it.”0