There were a number of years where golf never had to worry about the future. The sport was blessed with Tiger Woods being, well, Tiger Woods. He was winning at a clip that seemed inhuman and the question wasn’t whether he would be Jack Nicklaus’ major record, but when.
Times change. He’s changed. Golf, media members, and the game’s followers have had to, for the first time in 10 years, look for what’s next.
It’s too early to anoint Jordan Spieth as golf’s saviour – (see: McIlroy, Rory, and others) – but his 10-shot victory Sunday at the Hero World Challenge, was certainly a “look-at-me” victory.
Spieth, who travelled around the world to be in Florida this week, made it a worthwhile trip. He dusted the field at the Australian Open last week and missed Thanksgiving in the process (telling ESPN he had sushi and it was “terrible.”)
Prior to the tournament’s start, many were wondering WWTD (What Would Tiger Do?) as he returned from a long absence after surgery to his back. The answer came in the form of nine flubbed chip shots.
He was not playing good golf.
However, he was making good swings. It was a new/old swing, assisted by new ‘swing consultant’ Chris Como. He looked alright. He swung hard. He made solid contact.
At times, though, he looked like a guy who spent more time playing soccer with his kids the last six months than playing golf.
And that’s all right.
If the golf world is going to get a healthy Tiger Woods in 2015 – one with a strong swing and a competitive attitude (he still wants to win, every week) – then golf fans are in for a real treat of a year.
Because that Spieth kid, that 19-year-old who was the youngest to win on the PGA Tour in 80 years, that 20-year-old who nearly won The Masters on his first attempt, just annihilated a field filled with the world’s top players.
He put his foot on the gas, and it was fun to watch.
Sure, some people will say that this tournament doesn’t mean a lot. But, it was a statement.
Spieth captured his third worldwide victory as a professional at a time when most of his school-aged contemporaries are enjoying their third eggnog at home watching Love Actually.
Golf still doesn’t have to worry that much about the future.
The future is now.