Golf is dying in America.
There, I said it.
That feels a bit odd to say, considering the last three major championships have been won by American golfers. But still, golf is dying in America.
When Tom Watson bid adieu on the 18th hole of St. Andrews this past Saturday, rooting interest for the sport and its Golden Age of fans took a major hit.
All-time greats like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are well past their primes.
It’s an awkward time for American golf.
There are plenty of names that people know, but no golfers that anyone actually gives a shit about. Zach Johnson is 39. Bubba Watson is 36. Dustin Johnson is intriguing, but he’s 31 and major-less. Same goes for the 26-year-old Rickie Fowler. And all in all, the newest batch of true golf talent is primarily overseas.
That said, much of this is changing thanks to a 21-year-old from Dallas, TX. Just over a year ago, Jordan Spieth exploded onto the golf scene with a second place finish in his first career appearance at The Masters.
The common consensus was that he was just another good golfer. But as we’d learn, he’s much more. Less than a year from his breakout, this golden boy is now responsible for keeping golf relevant to young Americans.
At the ripe age of 21, Jordan Spieth is already the talk of the tour. By sheer age, he’s relatable to the often undefined ‘millennial.’ He embodies everything a 20-something wants to be.
He’s driven, good looking, and talented.
Not only that, Spieth already bares the amount of immense pressure generally fit for the most seasoned veterans. He loves that, though.
It’s an impressive hybrid of both style and grit, with a fresh sprinkle of fiery competitiveness folded in, that gives Spieth his patented gravitational pull.
Bottom line: Jordan Spieth is mesmerizing.
It’s so rare to see a young kid expect so much of himself. It’s a trait to be revered. And in turn, we expect a lot from him.
Case in point, this past weekend’s Open Championship. As Spieth chased golf’s elusive Grand Slam, he fell short after finishing his round bogey-par on the final two holes.
He finished tied for fourth at St. Andrews, which ironically is the home of the dying sport itself. Forget the fact that the kid is barely legal to drink. Most golfers would be thrilled with that finish on a stage of that magnitude, but not Jordan Spieth.
He understands expectations both cast by critics and himself. He’s a prime example of the way most millennials approach everyday life.
A life where enough is never enough. It’s about taking what those have done before him and finding his own way of approaching it, his own way of matching it, and his own way of surpassing it.
Jordan Spieth has found a way to do something that no American golfer has done since Tiger Woods.
And if he keeps it up, golf won’t be dying for much longer.