What kind of creature has the half-smile of the Dalai Lama, the strength of steel cable, the eyes of a doe, a butterfly’s touch, a concrete stomach, the courage of a lion, an elephant’s balls, and a heart of gold? Apparently it’s called a Jordan Spieth. And it’s starting to piss me off. I’m supposed to be an expert on this golf stuff, and just as I was getting over that whole Tiger Woods thing (something else I didn’t see coming), here comes this beatified little bugger who does things with a golf club that I can’t begin to understand. It’s like watching a unicorn on Rollerblades.
He and that mop-headed Irish kid Rory McIlroy seem to be turning the world of professional golf into a Harry Potter movie. No one is supposed to be able to do this crap without three wise men and a donkey! And players this good on the course are not supposed to be good off it, too. It’s an outrage! If the universe were a fair place, Jordan Spieth would have some evil in him—or, at the very least, an off-putting personality disorder. What manner of brilliant, wicked-sweet voodoo mischief is this, and what did golf do to deserve it in this age of professionally athletic domestic violence, foul language, child rustling, and cattle abuse?
I blame myself. I should have known better. I first met Jordan at the 2010 Byron Nelson. He was a junior at Jesuit Dallas, impossibly pleasant and oddly zit-free, 125 pounds with his reading glasses on. He finished tied for 16th, but he shot a 67 in the third round and was in contention going into Sunday—as a 16-year-old amateur. He was the story of the tournament. And the way he conducted himself, with such grace and maturity, I should have been able to recognize the rare creature then. Seriously, how the hell do you rear a child like this, a parent’s dream come true? I have five of the little breadsnatchers, and I wouldn’t trust any of them with the remote control for the television. Is he the result of some bizarre genetic engineering experiment that only his mother and father know about, and if so can they please make me one just like him? I would like to retire.
Of course, it’s unfair to hang the millstone of perfection around this boy’s slender neck. But Jordan isn’t doing himself any favors by getting more perfect as the months go by. He wins the Masters, leading wire to wire, and just when we think he can’t get any better, three months later he wins the U.S. Open on a post-apocalyptic Northwestern wasteland. While at the time of this writing he has not yet won an Open Championship, when this rag hits the stands, odds are he’ll have given it a run at St. Andrews.
The question I get asked most frequently these days is “What sort of a guy is Jordan Spieth?” People clearly can’t believe what they are seeing. It’s just too good to be true. But I tell them all the same thing, that they should be lucky enough to see it up close. Yes, he is that good, as a golfer and a man. When you shake Jordan Spieth’s hand, if you have a pulse, you will know you are in the presence of greatness, and you will also know he understands that he is your hero and, most important of all, that he will never, ever have such a high opinion of himself. Jordan Spieth is my hero, too.
But he still pisses me off.
David Feherty is a golf analyst for CBS Sports and the host of the Golf Channel’s Feherty. He lives in Dallas.