Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jordan Spieth: Wise Beyond His Years

I recently did a story on 16-year old Jesuit junior Jordan Spieth.  You may know him.  He's the top-ranked junior golfer in the world, won the U.S. Junior Amateur title at Trump National last year and received an invitation to play the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship.  He's just the fourth amateur to whom the tournament has granted an exemption joining Trip Kuehne, Justin Leonard and,yes, Tiger Woods.


Ok, so we get it.  He's good.  But he's also smart.

I felt like I was talking to a seasoned pro when I interviewed him.  He has more poise than most professional athletes I encounter twice his age.
 
"I'm gearing up to take my game to the next level and then hopefully after that, the top pro.  There's a lot of work that needs to be done and I'm on the right path.  That's really what it is - a path."
 
Really?  When I was 16, I was worried about how I could get a fake ID.  I guess that's why he's on the track he's on and, well, I am where I am.
 
I asked him about that in a more appropriate way.  Most 16-year olds I know are all about Facebook, the Nintendo WII and the like.
 
"I do all that stuff, too.  I just happen to have my mind on my dreams and my dreams are to become the best player in the world.  You gotta have that ahead of everything else."
 
Then he added, realizing he might have sounded a little too Tiger-like:

"You gotta be a normal kid."  he said, again channeling that 32-year old.  "You can't just be a machine but you gotta know where your main goals are and how to get there."

Spieth has his little brother to thank for his introduction to the game.  His parents bought him a plastic, Fisher-Price golf set when he was about two years old to occupy his time while they were consumed with a newborn baby. 

"They (his parents) said go out in the yard and see how it works out for you."

Looks like it worked out pretty well.  Spieth is committed to play golf at the University of Texas.
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