ENOUGH. Seriously, guys.
All anyone has been able to talk about since yesterday is Jordan Spieth’s opening round of 79 at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.
Yes, he’s the number one golfer in the world, and yes, that’s his third worst career start EVER.
He’s human, and he’s likely tired. This kid has been country-hopping for months, practicing, playing, signing massive endorsement deals, likely trying to have a social life AND making time for interviews and autographs.
Fatigue aside, everyone – no matter if they’re famous, an athlete, a musician or a newbie golf blogger – has bad days at work. Adele just botched the Grammys (not entirely her fault, as the sound guy was DEFINITELY having a bad work day as well). Serena Williams has been upset – recently. Ronda Rousey was knocked out. LeBron has been dunked on. Tiger Woods…well, that’s a whole different conversation, but suffice it to say he’s had bad days.
Why does Spieth – or any star athlete – have to be a superhero? During a Twitter conversation about this, I likened the criticism from golf media and fans to a spelling bee judge scolding a champ for misspelling a word the judge can’t even pronounce.
If you can’t do it, shut up and get out. Most of the people talking shit have never aced a hole, gone pro or WON TWO MAJORS. And they’ve had decades to try. Jordan hasn’t even been a pro for five years.
Just to clarify, I’m not anti-criticism; I’m vehemently against participation trophies and all the bullshit that comes along with constant (undeserved) praise. But I think that stopping the presses because a star had a bad day is ridiculous, and sets unrealistic standards for that person as well as people who aspire to be successful. The pressure of being a pro before he can even rent a car is enough without trolls condemning his entire future because a shot a few (okay, a lot of) bogeys.
Two weeks ago, the golf world was comparing him to Tiger Woods because he’s a vibrant, likable figure who’s wiping the green with everyone who tries to get in his way. This morning, I saw tweets comparing his ONE BAD ROUND to a Tiger-like fall from grace. In what universe does a tired 22 year old (who still completed the round instead of withdrawing, like SOME pros do) have the same doomed trajectory as Tiger Woods?
Comparison is completely natural, but we need to stop chasing the ghost of Tiger Woods and start enjoying the show that Jordan, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and a host of others are putting on for us. Jordan isn’t Tiger. He’s Jordan. And if we keep trashing his bad rounds and expecting a meteoric rise a la Tiger 2.0, we’re just assholes who don’t deserve to watch this kid be one of the best (and nicest) athletes in the world.
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