Jordan Spieth’s big adventure
There were many highlights from the opening session of the 43rd Ryder Cup, but no single shot created more buzz than Jordan Spieth’s incredible play from behind the 12-foot grassy wall at the 213-yard 17th hole.
The U.S. needed to win the last two holes to try to earn a tie with Europe’s formidable tandem of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia. The tee shot from Justin Thomas hit a mound right of the green and caromed straight across the green, tumbling over the top of a steep dropoff and hanging up on the steep green wall of grass. Spieth faced a shot that seemed to point straight up to the sky, and even used his 52-degree wedge – he joked that a shot with his 60-degree actually might end up behind him.
From there, he took a mighty lash, and the ball came out perfectly, finishing on the short of the hole, 6 feet from the cup. But that wasn’t the hard part. Spieth started moving backwards, had to avoid a gaping bunker, and ended up in what appeared to be a dangerous path toward the cliff above Lake Michigan. Watching this unfold, Nick Faldo said, “Now THAT’S what I call a follow through!”
“Once I started moving, I was like, I've got to keep moving until I find a flat spot,” Spieth said. “Yeah, it's kind of one of those shots that you practice as a kid for fun, and you don't ultimately want to have it. And the chances of it going there, you could roll a thousand balls off the green, and it's not going it stay where it was.”
Unfortunately, Thomas did not convert the putt, and the U.S. Team lost the point, 3 and 1. The U.S. had played well in defeat. NBC/Golf Channel analyst Paul Azinger said Spieth’s effort went from “one of the greatest shots ever to an asterisk.”
But anyone who watched it won’t soon forget it.
“You know, it ended up right on a crown where it was a tough putt, and I think it's maybe a situation, first one in wins, and we just kind of got a really tough break there,” Spieth said.