In defense of Jordan Spieth, Trump course preps for spotlight, and Lefty's new swing guru
The world needs to lighten up on Jordan Spieth as he prepares for a title defense at this week’s Dean & Deluca Invitational. At 23, Spieth has built up enough history (12 PGA Tour victories, two majors) to earn the cover of Wheaties boxes and deserves a chance to figure out his game during this lull. He’s made two 9s this year. His putting stats were at the point where he felt it made sense to switch putters, telling writers when pressed it was “not really a big deal.” Then it became a bigger deal when Spieth missed his third cut in four individual starts during last week’s the AT&T Byron Nelson, his hometown tournament where he finished T-16 as a 16-year-old high school junior. Speith got in his reps this weekend with performance coach Damon Goddard and swing coach Cameron McCormick. “We met, had a chat, played golf, had a great time, and he shot a super low score,” McCormick said of their weekend get-together at Dallas National. “The state of his game is very good despite what the scoring says,” adding, “it’s a shame people want to make a story about it. It’s the nature of the beast.”
The Trump logo worn by players at PGA Tour Champions events, such as Fred Funk last week at the Regions Tradition, reflect an allegiance (and honorary memberships) to Donald Trump’s courses. Funk got his after telling POTUS on the range at Trump International in West Palm Beach that he would be moving near Trump Jupiter next year. The Trump logo will get even more attention later this week as a PGA Tour Champions major is played at a Donald Trump golf course. Designed on the banks of the Potomac River, Trump National Washington (above) was originally 36 holes boasting the designs of Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills. Trump came in with chainsaws to take down an estimated 450 trees and had enough input to take credit for the composite course hosting the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. “He takes credit for all his courses,’ ” Fazio pointed out over the weekend. “He actually did a great job with the place, and it should be a very good venue.” Business is good for Trump’s golf interests. Eric Trump, chairman of the Trump Organization, has Tiger Woods (Dubai), Ernie Els (Jakarta) and Phil Mickelson (Bali) under contracts.
Phil Mickelson told me he’d get into the details this week at Colonial, but what he confirmed on Sunday is that Tom Brady “absolutely helped him with great ideas about increasing his swing speed” during a round of golf at Augusta National before the Masters. The concept is based on a technique former major league pitcher Tom House is teaching NFL quarterbacks at his National Pitching Association. This was the second time Mickelson and Brady played at Augusta, but the cool part was not Brady as a swing coach, but Mickelson as a stand in for Julian Edelman. After telling Mickelson that he wanted to get some throwing in before working with Patriots’ receivers at a mini-camp, Brady enlisted Mickelson into catching balls for him early one morning outside their cabin at Augusta National. “It wasn’t quite light yet, and it was not easy,’’ Mickelson said. “In fact it was a lot harder than they talk about. They come in with some serious velocity.” In other words, the type of velocity that Mickelson would like to increase with his driver.