Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas: A Moment of Rejoindness and Shame for a Great Player
Alongside Rory McIlroy, Woods had just fallen to an emphatic defeat in the seventh edition of The Match to golf’s dynamic duo and long-time friends – Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Cross-armed, the 15-time major winner watched on as the victorious pair were presented with commemorative bracelets. After a long night of discussion at Florida’s Pelican Club on December 10, the speaker left the room with one bullet left in his chamber.
The joy out of getting this doesn’t match the joy of standing with Tiger and seeing how upset he is.
As well as the three greats of the game besides him, Woods alone boasted six more majors and 31 more PGA titles. Yet, it was this very gap that made the final blow that much more satisfying, the Dallas-born golfer explained.
“And for me, it was sarcasm. He’s a guy who you never think about seeing stick around and have to sit there while somebody else won. He did not lose many times and he was far away from where the award ceremony was.
The back-and-forth between the commentary team and players helped drive the friendly competitive atmosphere of the event, which raised funds for relief efforts in Florida after Hurricane Ian in October.
James Jordan, the best buddy of four golfers, in the early stages of the US Open, and when golf became a challenge to golf, Jordan grew comfortable in the process
At times, the verbal sparring between Charles and Thomas played a larger role in the event than it did previously, a change that Jordan had been anxious to take on.
“Us four together, we’ve all had a pretty good relationship … bringing out a lot of people and a lot of interest, I think that really helped [us] get comfortable.”
The long-time friends became only the third pair in history to go undefeated in the first four rounds of the Presidents Cup in September, as a flawless 5-0-0 run extended their combined record across President Cups and Ryder Cups to 8-2-0.
“It takes some of the pressure away when we’re playing, because on a bad hole one of us will just be self-depreciating and the other will laugh, and all of a sudden you just get a little bit more comfortable. We are hyping each other up, using funny phrases, on the good holes.
“Think of going out with your best buddy in a high-pressure situation. That has such benefit on the back end and being able to just feel super comfortable – it’s kind of an addicting feeling.”
The three major victories he posted in his first four years on Tour made him the World No. 1 for the first time, but a downturn saw him fall out of the top 50.
After finding his balance, he is confident that he can achieve the consistency necessary to contend for half the season’s majors.
He wants to have a chance when he tees it up on Sunday, hoping to win at least two majors.
Even in the midst of an underwhelming opening round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona on Thursday, the world No.1 found a way to add another slide to his near-endless highlight reel of remarkable shots.
The Northern Irishman’s troubles began when he arrived at the 11th hole at one-over par, after bogeying the first and second holes, as well as then being compounded by his tee shot sailing over the path near the right side of the fairway.
The ball’s final resting place, lodged in the dirt close to a metal fence, made for grim viewing. Most golfers would have just decided to get back on the fairway.
But as he has shown time and time again, McIlroy is not most golfers. With a pitching wedge, the four- time major winner hit his shot through a corridor of spectators and trees, landing on the green 40 feet away.
Incredulous gasps from the onlooking crowd were mirrored on social media, with the PGA Tour tweeting a video of the shot captioned: “Are you kidding[?]”
He was more than happy with the result, as he found himself precariously placed in the position he found himself in, so he tapped in for four.
A fourth bogey of the day on his 16th hole saw McIlroy card a two-over 73, leaving him tied for 82nd and seven shots adrift of Canadian leading pair Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin, who impressed amid windy conditions in Scottsdale.
Having started 2023 with an emotionally charged victory at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy is looking to extend a remarkable run of seven consecutive top four finishes across DP World Tour and PGA Tour events.
The world’s No. 1 knows his career is in the form of it. He was succinct when asked if he thinks he is the best player in the world.
I said at the end of last year that I felt like a complete player. There are no glaring weaknesses in my statistical categories. I tried to become a more well-rounded player, by working on that.