How a fan helped Jordan Spieth win The Open

When examining Jordan Spieth’s 2017 Open Championship victory, one must return to the scene at the 13th hole. More specifically the fan who took Spieth’s tee shot to the head. 

Spieth, coming off a three-over front nine, needed to find a way to gain some momentum on Matt Kuchar who at 40, was starving for his first major victory.

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His tee shot on 13 went right and luckily, for Spieth, the ball ricocheted off the top of a fan’s head into an unplayable lie.

A fan who was nearby recalled series of events and how Spieth was so gracious:

“There was a bald man a few feet away who just took the ball right on the back of the head and it bounced down the hill. He went to the floor and I heard someone say ‘that’s Jordan’s ball’ and then quite a few people started rushing around looking for it.

A couple of minutes later Jordan walked up the hill and some people in the crowd were telling him he had hit someone on the head, so he walked straight over and apologized. He took time to say sorry and check if the man was all right.”

According to the rules of golf, a player is allowed a free drop if it hits off a spectator into an unplayable lie. Now if Spieth did not have his wits about him, he may have not asked for the ruling and tried to play it as it was.

After the round, Spieth talked about how he “got away with murder” on the par-4 13th. That unplayable lie turned into a drop on a favorable lie on the driving range behind the hill Spieth’s ball hit into. The only downside to the shot was the fact that he was blinded by the hill in front of him, but one would much rather have a good lie and a blind shot in most cases.

That bogey on 13 was what turned it around for the 23-year-old as he went five-under par in the next four holes. Some will credit the genius of Spieth for his knowledge in the rules of golf, but the true hero is that bald man’s head in the right place at the right time.