Jordan Spieth has a penchant for finding trouble off the tee. He also has a flair for extricating himself from these self-inflicted dilemmas. Still, the escape he pulled Thursday morning at Austin C.C. was so brazen it makes Andy Dufresne’s getaway from Shawshank look like child’s play.
Spieth’s first swing of the day against Matthew Wolff at the WGC-Dell Match Play produced a shot that is best described as a pull-hook that contemplated boomeranging back to the tee. We promise, no hyperbole: The drive failed to travel 200 yards, leaving 200 yards and change into the green. Clearly an inauspicious start to the round, a shot the three-time major winner appeared to blame on a clicking sound from a photographer. When cameras caught up to Spieth, he was in jail, forced to punch-out into the fairway in hopes of salvaging par.
Well, part of that sentence is correct. Spieth indeed went with a punch-out. But his ball did not come to rest in the fairway, instead drawing against the right-to-left terrain to mosey … and mosey … and mosey its way to the pin.
For those scoring at home, Spieth’s punch-out hook from 200 yards wound up 11 feet from the pin. It was a shot if done in Colonial times would have left Spieth burning at the stake on accusations of witchcraft. Frankly, we’re going to need Bryson DeChambeau to break down the physics, because this seems to go against everything we know about physics.
Spieth was unable to convert the putt for birdie—the golf gods are not that generous—but he did manage to save par and avoid a disastrous start. No surprise, then, that Spieth briefly flashed a smile on his way to the second hole. Hey, sometimes escape artists are so good they impress themselves.