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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 151 - US Open Wrap
However, only one could convert the birdie. The line dividing success and failure is that lean. “What he did on 18, I think captures his mentality,” said Michael Greller, Spieth’s caddie, of his boss’s determination and composure. Spieth’s intensity was apparent at that same hole on Friday when his quest unravelled momentarily with a mid-round double-bogey on the one occasion the chameleon 18th would play as a par-4. Spieth was caught on TV cursing the “unbelievably stupid” nature of the shorter version of the hole. Yet instead of coming off as a spoilt brat, there was an intelligence – even an eloquence – to his outburst and the later explanation that not only gave it sense but somehow increased his likeability. This guy is like Teflon – nothing bad sticks – which makes the parallels between Spieth and the vanquished Johnson all the more telling. Johnson is arguably the most gifted athlete on Tour. He owns the longest driving game among the game’s elite and he is far enough from poor in every other department to be a factor on any golf course. Yet there’s an intangible as wide as the Pacific between the two when it comes to sealing the deal. When tournaments become tight Spieth heightens his resolve and focuses harder; Johnson seems to go missing. Noted sportswriter Rick Reilly once said Johnson is “so dense, light bends around him”. Harsh words but they’re hard to dismiss when examining the runsheet of major near-misses. He coughed up the 54-hole lead at the US Open at Pebble Beach five years ago by shooting a Sunday 82 and two months later authored the mother of all brain fades when he missed the Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson playoff at the PGA Championship thanks to a 72nd-hole penalty for grounding his club in a bunker. Then there was the 2011 Open when, as the last remaining challenger to Darren Clarke, Johnson flared a 2-iron over the fence and into oblivion on the 14th hole. Now comes this latest error, a championship-costing three- putt at Chambers Bay where a missed chance to win outright flowed into a squandered chance to tie. On each occasion, one suspects Spieth would never have been so careless. There will be lost chances because there always are when a career is as long and prosperous as it appears Spieth’s will be, but early indications are Jordan will kick away far fewer chances than he’ll grasp firmly and convincingly. America has been searching for its next Great Hope in golf. In two short months Spieth has arrived as Tiger Woods’ successor – and golf is far richer for it. OTG
OTG Express 150 - US Open Preview
OTG Express 152