Jordan Spieth: There’s No “I” in Golf…Huh?

I’ve always had respect for the players and coaches in any sport who use the […]

Howie Espenshied / 8.31.15

I’ve always had respect for the players and coaches in any sport who use the first person plural when they’re interviewed after a win, and the first person singular when things went poorly for them or their team after a loss. Derek Jeter was like that, so were Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw and Buc’s Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy. That vantage point is counter-intuitive. To sit at your locker in front of a reporter after a loss and continually answer every question with “I…..” after a loss, but  “We…..” after a win, is a discipline that very few in professional sports have mastered.

The above examples are all from team sports. That makes sense. Deflect credit to teammates when you win, and take the blame when you lose. However, Jordan Spieth is doing it….in Pro Golf! Some of you old-timers can steer me clean, but I’ve never seen this. He’s the only one on his “team” that actually plays. He had the best PGA Major season in 2015 since Bobby Jones, not Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones.


Here are are a few of Spieth’s remarks on Aug 14 (courtesy of Cork Gaines at Business Insider):

“I don’t know. I just, I figure I have, Michael [Greller, his caddy] with me on the course. He’s the one that’s a part of each decision that we make as far as preparing for what we do. I have Cameron [McCormick, his coach]. I have my trainer Damon [Goddard], sports chiro, manager. Everybody gets stuff ready for us to play our best golf. I’m the one hitting the shots and hitting the putts and getting the credit, I guess, but at the same time I believe that this is a — we’re a brand. We’re a company. We’re, this is, we’re competing together all for the same goal. And I try to align myself with the best at what they do in the world, because then that will free me up. I won’t have to worry about any other parts of my life on and off the course, and it seems to be working. We got a great team, and no one’s been scared of the next level, and that’s why we are where we are right now. So I believe that on and off the course it’s not just me.”

This struck me acutely during Spieth’s interview after his win at the US Open this year. I’m sitting there on my couch cleaning out my ears and rewinding the TV – did he just intentionally give me the first person plural in every answer? Wow. Yes he did. Granted, there appears to be some family/advisers behind the scenes with some very wise, marketing savvy “anti-Tiger” advice going on here. I’ll assume that Derek Jeter got the same advice from his folks early on. However, where it has come from is less significant than watching Spieth (at 21 years old) making it a discipline in an individual sport.

It’s a subtle thing that Business Insider picked up on, but it encourages me, regardless of it’s source motivation. When we reflect on law-gospel truth and the IT IS FINISHEDwhat do YOU want to do now?” gentle question, going the complete opposite of 3rd person when speaking about myself seems like a great place to start…..Jimmy.


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