There are so many different numbers from Jordan Spieth winning The Open yesterday.13 – the absurd hole that changed everything. 28 – One of the rules that Spieth used on 13. 24-2, another rule he used on 13. 3 – the number of majors he now has. 3 – the Sunday morning lead that he quickly gave away. And three – the number of words he used to slam the door: GO. GET. THAT.
Jordan Spieth didn’t just win one major yesterday. He won a couple. Because if he lost that one, after the way he lost the Masters last year, it would’ve left scar tissue a mile deep. And he admitted as much. “I put a lot of pressure on myself, unfortunately, and not on purpose, before the round today, just thinking this is the best opportunity that I’ve had since the ’16 Masters. And if it weren’t to go my way today, then all I’m going to be questioned about and thought about and murmured about is in comparison to that, and that adds a lot of pressure to me. After four holes, it was even more so. And I wasn’t questioning myself as a closer, but I was questioning why I couldn’t just perform the shots that I was before.”
So was everyone else. Because after starting the day with a three-shot lead, he bogeyed three of the first four holes. Forget a back-nine collapse, this was a front nine implosion. And it was tough to watch. At the turn, his 37 and Matt Kuchar’s 34 left them equal. Spieth was leaking oil and gas all over Royal Birkdale and filling his head with questions and doubts.
And then came 13 and the shanked tee shot that set off a series of truly bizarre events. It landed in the hay of the dune and was declared an unplayable lie, Rule 28 for those of you keeping score at home. Spieth elected to drop further back on the same line to the flagstick, which took him to the driving range. But the direct line took him into an equipment truck, which falls under the category of temporary immoveable obstructions, and according to Rule 24-2, it entitled him to sight line relief. Never has a series of rulings taken so long, been so important, or so exciting.
Lurching from one spot to the next, it had all the makings of Rae’s Creek II. Or Jean Van De Velde the Sequel. And yet somehow, that never happened. Somehow, he didn’t melt down, he came through. And never have you seen a longer, weirder, or more clutch bogey on the back nine of a major. Finishing that hole with a single putt after what felt like five hours on that whole was so impressive, so brass. He should have been dead at that point, but somehow slammed the paddles on himself and went to work.
Played the next four holes in five-under. The 199-yard approach on 14 that almost went in. The 30-foot birdie on 16, the 7-footer on 17, and of course the epic eagle on 15 where he rolled in a monster putt, pointed at the ball in the hole, and told his caddy to “Go get that” and walked off the green to the next hole. GO. GET. THAT.
That was a win the major and drop the mic moment all at once. Freaking unreal reaction to an unreal putt on an unreal day. And now, he’s not answering questions about how it all fell apart, but about how he kept it all together.
Now he has the third major. And next month, he’s playing for the career slam. And one hole didn’t just change the day or the tournament, it changed everything.