I’m still geeking out. I slept two and half hours on Sunday night. I was so jacked up on azaleas and birds chirping, while at the same time, pretty emotional, that there was no hope of me getting to sleep at 1:30 AM as the tournament wrapped up here in Amsterdam. So I just stayed up straight through the Game of Thrones premiere, and I don’t even regret it a little bit.
I completely understand if you are creeped out, concerned, or even disturbed by my Spieth man crush at this point. I’m actually a little weirded out myself. I’m pretty sure we’re about one more week away from my friends pulling an all out intervention. Nothing makes you question the decisions you make in life more than having to respond to questions about your weekend by saying “Well, I made jokes about the size of a 21 year old kid’s balls on the internet all weekend.” But as nauseating as it might be, I’m comforted by the fact that we’ve been waiting a long time for something like this, and you can’t help but get the feeling that this was the arrival of the takeover.
As I’ve matured (slowly) from a teenage sports fan to a 28 year old adult, my perspective on athletic competition has changed. When you’re young and impressionable, you are literally looking up to college and professional athletes in age, and they seem so much larger than life. They don’t really even seem human. But as you make your way through the college years, watching a collegiate event takes on a new perspective. These guys are younger than me. As I approach 30, I have even more respect for these young athletes that are able to handle the pressure of these enormous sporting events, on top of all of the other pressure that comes with being a highly scrutinized individual.
When I was 21, I couldn’t get out of bed before 10 AM and basically shot about 50% on attending 11 AM classes. Jordan Spieth just won The Masters. He made all of this look so routine, that we could have easily forgotten that he was 21 if it wasn’t mentioned on the telecast and on twitter in every other sentence. At this time last year, I was watching Adam Scott put the jacket on Bubba Watson. That seems like a different lifetime.
As a sports fan (particularly a fan of the Reds and WVU), the heartbreak has outweighed the glory by a higher ratio than republicans to democrats on the grounds of Augusta National this past week. So yeah, I was emotional watching Spieth hug his mom, and starting chopping some onions as she said “I’m so proud of you.” (What?! No, YOU cried.) What made it so enjoyable wasn’t necessarily the moment itself, but what it signaled for the world of golf going forward.
It was such a masterpiece that I struggled to even conjur up a proper recap. So I’m just going to do this in mailbag form.
@NoLayingUp What was the most important shot Jordan Spieth hit all week?
— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 13, 2015
I’ve got to be political here, because there were a few that were huge, but for different reasons. The first one that comes to mind is the approach into 14 on Thursday. He drove right into the first cut, and hit an approach that he (shockingly) didn’t love as it flew.
“Go. Go hard!”
The ball caromed off the stick, and stopped a foot from the hole. He was already seven under at the time, and that was the moment when we all realized we were watching something historic. Something obscene. Twitter erupted. Parents were hiding their children’s eyes. The FCC’s phone was ringing off the hook. Spieth was taking a butcher’s knife to the Augusta history books on live TV in broad daylight. Billy Payne had an intern go fetch the blueprints from the file room so they could start talking about how to add another 800 yards to the course.
But then Sunday came, and with it, the single greatest moment in NLU history. With a four shot lead, from 207 yards out, Spieth was staring down the 13th green guarded by Rae’s Creek. Loyal NLU follower Peter Kostis set the stage, and betrayed us!
We know what happened next, and Bob Macatee recovered nicely with the NLU tribute:
This was it. You can not draw up a moment that defines “No Laying Up” than that moment. We could not be any higher on Spieth, and he just (unnecessarily) went after one of the most iconic holes in golf, for the most coveted prize in golf, with the announcer saying that he’s going to lay up. I would say that this was the true litmus test on the size of Spieth’s stones, but he tested out of that exam a long time ago.
Twitter exploded again. I couldn’t get a tweet out because I was getting so many notifications. THERE IS NO LAYING UP.
Then came 15! Bacon and I were having a side conversation where Shane himself said “he has to lay this up.” SHANE, YOU BETRAYED US. THERE IS NO LAYING UP.
@NoLayingUp top three Sauce moments?
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) April 13, 2015
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen more Tour Sauce sprayed at one event in my life, and that was maybe the 15th biggest storyline for me. How do I only choose three!?
#3 Phil Mickelson, “The Flag Pull”
This move is so next level Tour Sauce that I haven’t even included it in either of the first four parts of the Tour Sauce series. Phil poured three barrels of sauce on the 16th hole on Sunday by pulling the flag for his greenside bunker shot. At this point, I’m actually wondering if there is an incentive in Bones’ contract based on the number of pins tended or pulled during a round. Like, maybe this is Bones’ doing the whole time?
Phil: “You like 8 here, Bones?”
Bones: “Yeah, whatever, want me to go tend it?”
That’s the only rational explanation for needing to pull the pin on a bunker shot. Pulling the flag there increases your chance of holing the shot by 0.003%, and at the same time it hurts your chances by 0.004% (scientific estimates). Make no mistake, the entire point of this whole exercise is what sauce is all about. Letting everyone in the audience and on the grounds know exactly how dialed in you are.
#2 – Jordan Spieth, “The Shout”
There are U.S. Congressional filibusters with less dialogue than Spieth’s dictations to his ball while it is in flight. It got to the point where I finally had to put a BINGO card together (which I butchered horribly by not including “Take it wind”, and about 50 other things he mentioned on Sunday). At least we know that if Spieth has an approach shot online that he’s not barking at like it’s his 13 year old son who just got caught drinking, that you need to move to the edge of your seat, because that flagstick is under an all-out assault.
#1 – Tiger Woods, “The Interview”
The guy claimed he had a bone POP OUT OF HIS WRIST, and that he PUT IT BACK INTO PLACE. This is not one of those overblown stories because it was Tiger. This is honestly one of the most preposterous things that I’ve ever heard in my life. At this point, I’m forced to believe that Tiger is just completely trolling us. The part that is perhaps even worse for me is Macatee’s follow up:
THAT’S YOUR QUESTION? I can forgive him, because there’s a solid chance that his body just went into epileptic shock after hearing that Tiger performed surgery on himself at the turn on national TV. But how can you let him off the hook with saying that!? HOW IS THERE NO FOLLOW UP QUESTION THERE!?!? I’m guessing Macatee saw his entire Masters career going out the window as he pondered asking, “I’m sorry, what the hell did you actually just say to me?”
@NoLayingUp What do you expect from Fox Sports 1 in their first major championship coverage?
— David Kateeb (@DKateeb) April 13, 2015
Considering the fact that they basically already admitted that they have no idea what they’re doing, I’m obligated to be concerned. Joe Buck has become much, much more tolerable in the last few years, but I don’t think he’s ready for this. I’m picturing FOX trying way way wayyyy too hard to be edgy and different, and I don’t think it’s going to be widely accepted by the true golf fans. I can already picture hologram Cleatus out there trying to show the severity of the slope, dancing with a remote control drone. But maybe Cleatus will actually pop a bone of Tiger’s out of place if he tries to give him an equally ridiculous answer to a question?
@NoLayingUp Who will make more cuts in majors this season – Joost Luiten or Mark O'Meara?
— Anthony Distler (@anthdistler) April 13, 2015
Hey, that’s my fellow Dutchman you speak of! I can’t sign on to this joke, because at one point I counted FIVE guys that I had actual human, American dollars on that Mark O’Meara finished ahead of. Will someone please remind me of that the next time I get cocky and try to project my picks on you?
I’m also not 100% I’ve ever seen Joost Luiten swing a golf club. Like, I know he’s right handed, but if you were real passionate about it, and made a solid case, I would believe you if you tried to convince me that he’s left handed. But I for one, am completely shocked to see a guy that predominantly plays the European Tour miss a cut on the big boy tour (*dives into a canal*).
@NoLayingUp When will Big Cat play again after the self performed wrist surgery in the pine straw?
— Spencer Waresk (@SWaresk42) April 13, 2015
Part of what made this weekend so enjoyable was the (now unjustified) feeling of relief that we’re not going to play the “when is Cat coming back?” game for the near future. But here’s where Tiger really messed up by claiming that he popped a bone back into place, and played 9 more holes. Unless he is actually missing a limb, how can he ever miss another tournament with injury? Think about it. This guy pulled out of a tournament when his butt muscle was tight two months ago! I think Cat was actually expecting a purple heart for finishing the back nine on Sunday.
BO breaks the news to Tiger that he’s not getting a purple heart
@NoLayingUp Does the win by Jordan Spieth motivate other "20-something's" or do they just not have the same drive as Spieth?
— Ryan (@Front9Back9) April 13, 2015
I don’t mean to direct this at you Ryan, but words like “drive” and “motivate” sounds a lot like the narratives the media likes to build that I find myself fighting on a daily basis. Not every story has to fit into a nice and neat story, which is what makes a lot of what is currently written about golf so nauseating. Unless I am personally friends with a particular player, and I see with my own two eyes how much time and effort they are putting into their golf game, I don’t think I’m qualified to talk about anyone’s* “drive.”
Does Spieth have more drive than Fowler? Maybe. I have no idea. I watch them play on TV, I listen to what they say to the media, and follow them on social media. I don’t know what goes on off screen, and I don’t know how much this win affects others. If I was going to drive a narrative, I would say that this win puts Spieth in a class of his own, and rids himself of the pressure to prove himself. Which could open the floodgates.
(* – I’m aware that I did comment on Tiger’s “drive” recently on a podcast, but that’s different. I was referring to the fact that Tiger used to talk religiously about his dedication and how hard he worked. Then he showed up in San Diego and basically admitted he hadn’t been practicing, and was spending more time being a father.)
@NoLayingUp do you think Jordan will be able to capture #1 in the world or will Rory fend him off?
— Meghan McCormick ⭐ (@megamegs13) April 13, 2015
I’ve seen this floated in places in the weeks and months leading up to the Masters, and rolled my eyes. Now, not so much, but I still believe that Rory is going to fend him off. It’s easy to get really caught up with this win, and this run that Spieth is on, and kind of forget about what Rory did at the end of last year. The guy won two majors and a WGC in consecutive starts. Oh, and he finished 4th this week. Jamie Kennedy had a very interesting stat on twitter this week. Basically, Spieth won this thing in his first 27 holes, and Rory lost it there:
Rory is still the boss, until he isn’t. Overall, I don’t concern myself too much with who is wearing the crown between these two. Let’s just hope we get to enjoy this back and forth for years to come.
(Too many good questions this week. Will work on getting Part II posted soon.)