It’s difficult to grow up, no matter where you’re doing it, but it must be particularly hard when you’re constantly on television.
In the past few weeks, Jordan Spieth has been captured on video dropping clubs in mid-follow-through, berating himself, and complaining about the quality of his shots. In other words, whining.
We’ve all done it at one time or another. But if we do it often enough, no one will want to be around us when we play golf. It has to stop and he knows it.
Spieth is 20 years old and in his second year on the PGA Tour. When he came out at 19, everyone went out of their way to praise him for his maturity. We all said he had an old head on young shoulders.
But when he turned professional after one year at the University of Texas, by his own admission, he played more golf as a pro than he ever did as an amateur. And the PGA Tour is a grind for anyone, rookie or 20-year veteran. Not everything is going to go well all the time. Part of being a touring pro is learning how to deal with the ebb and flow of week-in and week-out competition.
And it’s also learning to know when you need a break and it looks like Spieth needs one badly. However, the best part of what goes on in Spieth’s head is the ability to admit when he’s wrong.
“Yeah, I didn’t have my swing, but I was a little mental midget out there,” Spieth said after losing, 4 and 2, to Ernie Els in the quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. “Actually kind of embarrassing looking back.
“I was dropping clubs and kind of just whining to Michael (Greller, his caddie), and you just can’t do that. In match play you’ve got to keep your cool. Anytime you show that, it’s weakness.”
You like players who have fire and Spieth has that. And showing emotion is not a bad thing unless it becomes a bad habit. But Spieth already has a good habit of learning from his mistakes. It’s all part of growing up.