Tale of two halves, Jordan Spieth’s remarkable comeback at The Open

Mike Murphy

A three-over front nine probably wasn’t the game plan Jordan Spieth envisioned when entering the final round of The Open. But that was only part one of this miraculous comeback. 

Four bogeys and one birdie on the front opened the door for Matt Kuchar, hungry for his first major at the age of 39.

It was going to take a team, not just Spieth, to claw back from the self-induced hole. And the 23-year-old’s caddy Michael Greller had the reset button locked and loaded for the final stretch.

Kuchar took advantage of a Spieth bogey on 13 to tie the two up at 8-under for the tournament. It was time for Spieth to hit the reset button, and he did just that with his tee-shot on 14.

Spieth birdied. Kuchar made his par.

With holes 15-18 coming up Spieth had Kuchar on the ropes and was ready to deliver a knock-out blow. For the first three days of the tournament Spieth was four-under in that stretch of holes, Kuchar was plus-one.

It certainly showed as Spieth reached the green with his second shot of the par-five 15th, eyeing a long eagle putt. Kuchar had found the sand on the left side of the green needing a missed putt from Spieth.

This was the moment you should have realized that Spieth had the already won the championship in his head. Upon draining the eagle putt Spieth looked over at Greller and said “go get that.” It was not a cockiness from the 23-year-old, it was confidence and a laser focus that had quickly shifted to the next hole.

Spieth’s veins may have been ice-cold but the putter was a hot piece of iron, sinking birdie putts on 16 and 17 to deliver the dagger into Kuchar’s heart.

You’ll notice the looks Spieth gives Greller after each made putt, almost as if the duo made the putt together. The chemistry between caddie and golfer is a perfect mix for these two. Spieth (no pun intended) is Michael Jordan (OK maybe intended) and Greller acts as Pippen. Jordan was a star on his own, but Pippen had a vital role. That goes the same for Spieth and his  preverbal Scottie Pippen on the bag guiding him throughout.

Spieth’s five-under par through holes 14-16 will be classified as the one of golf’s most epic comebacks. Spieth was not coming back from a deficit produced by Kuchar… he was coming back from one that was self-induced.

Spieth became the youngest American to with The Open at age 23 and stands with Jack Nicklaus as the two youngest golfers to have three legs of the career grand slam completed before the age of 24.