St. Jude Brings Spieth Back Down To Earth
After becoming a teenage rock star
at the HP Byron Nelson Classic three
weeks ago, 16-year-old Jordan Spieth
came back to earth, if not crashing, a realistic landing. First, he failed to advance
through sectional qualifying for the U.S.
Open. And, after receiving a sponsor’s
exemption to the St. Jude Classic in
Memphis, he missed the 36-hole cut.
But not before making a star’s appearance in the media center prior to
the tournament’s first round. He was
asked to once again recount his experience in Fort Worth.
“Well, I would have to say there’s
probably two of them that really stuck
out. One was Saturday and my first hole
after I made the cut, and everyone was
like, well, this kid made the cut, he’s at
3 under. I didn’t know what was going to
happen in that round on Saturday, playing on the weekend in my first PGA Tour
event,” he said.
“My first hole I short-sided myself
in the bunker, and I plopped it out and
it just trickled down and it looked like it
was on a good line so I put my club up,
and it went in. It was kind of in the after-
noon, and everyone was there. And the
roar was just unbelievable, and they said
they could hear it on the fifth hole. And at
that moment, just to get started in that
round was different than what I expected.
“I probably had it for at least a few
weeks before that,” Karlsson said. “I noticed when we played the (European) PGA
Championship at Wentworth last year. I
noticed I couldn’t read the lines. Everything was blurry, especially when the
light came down. I was really struggling.
“The last week I played was the
London Club at the European Open.
I had the ball sitting up in the rough.
I looked down and didn’t have a clue.
I had a chip shot, and I just felt like I
could completely miss the ball. That
was when it got a bit scary. I had an eye
The optometrist asked Karlsson
what he did for a living and he told the
doctor he was a golfer. “Are you any
good,” the doctor asked. “And can you
take time off?” The doctor recommend-
ed four months, and Karlsson won-
dered if this was the end of his career.
“It’s definitely put things in perspective
a lot more, and that’s one of the things
I’ve been working on a lot anyway to free
myself up,” Karlsson said. “I mean, at the
end of the day, it’s only a game.”
Westwood opened the tournament
with a 7-under 63.
Westwood also weighed in on Saturday’s World Cup match between his
country, England, and the U.S. “If I were to
have a bet, I’d take the draw,” Westwood
said Thursday. As it turned out, he was
right. The match was played to a 1-1 tie.
Sweden’s Robert Karlsson is on the
mend from some serious eye problems
that could have been career threatening. He has fluid behind the retina in his
left eye and was away from tournament
golf from last May through September.
Lee Westwood took the opposite
tack of most of the top-ranked players
in preparation for this week’s U.S. Open
at Pebble Beach. Instead of taking the
week off, Westwood preferred to play
his way into the year’s second major
“I’ve always been the kind of player
that likes to play everywhere,” said
Westwood, ranked No. 3 on the Official World Golf Ranking. “I’ve played
all around the world. I’ve never been to
Memphis, so it’s somewhere I wanted to
come and play. It’s the week before the
U.S. Open. I like to be competitive before
a major championship. I played Houston
before The Masters. Being competitive
means more to me than actually adapting to the conditions. A lot of people like
to play the week before the Open. I like
to get used to making the three-, four-footers when they mean something.”
Padraig Harrington came into the
St. Jude Classic two weeks removed
from knee surgery. His knee was still
so tender that he couldn’t crouch down
to line up a putt.
“I’m probably going to have a few
pains tonight,” Harrington said after
Thursday’s first round. “That knee
surgery two weeks ago, it gave me a bit
of pain through nine holes and stiffened
up on the back nine.” l