UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- Listen closely to the exchanges between Jordan Spieth and caddie Michael Greller during the final round, and you'd hear Greller remind Spieth to "paint the picture."
Greller said it on practically every shot during that tense final stretch on Sunday, and it had nothing to do with Spieth trying to hold his finish so it looked good against a backdrop of Puget Sound. Instead it was an attempt to simplify the player's swing thoughts when his mind raced over the weekend.
Jordan Spieth and caddie Michael Greller (Getty Images)
"It means zero in, really focus on the shot, on the target," Spieth said. "I didn't have full control of the golf ball. When that happens, I start thinking about different things in my swing. Just paint a picture, zero in on the target. Don't worry about your swing, the ball will go there as long as you focus on it. That's how it works. He was reiterating that today and yesterday. That's what we were focusing on is seeing the ball flight, seeing it land, understanding where it's going to roll to."
As opposed to the Masters, when Spieth felt comfortable enough over the ball he needed little coaching, he said Greller did some of his best work at Chambers Bay. Greller had intimate knowledge of the course owing to his experience as a Chambers Bay caddie before hooking on with Spieth in 2012. But more than course management, it was the caddie's efforts in subduing a player whose nervous energy was palpable during the final round.
"That was probably the best work Michael has ever done this week to get me through," Spieth said. "At Augusta I was on and making everything and striking the ball fantastic. He was the one that got me through this week when I wanted to get down when things weren't going well."
Typical of one of the closest player-caddie relationships on tour, Greller said Spieth overstated his role in the player's second straight major win. More likely the answer falls somewhere in between.
"He's one of the best players in the world, and I was just trying to stay out of his way," said Greller, who was married at Chambers Bay two years ago. "I've worked hard the last couple of weeks, but I haven't been out here in five years. The course has changed. The guys that I've caddied for usually can't break 90, or it's myself playing and I can't break 80. I throw out any -- I'm sure he's being nice, but it comes down to Jordan just being one of the best players in the world."