Jordan Spieth, the two-time major champ who took the golf world by storm last year, might be the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer at this moment, but he’s not quick to forget those who impacted the sport long before he was the talk of the town.
Spieth talked to longtime golf commentator David Feherty on the TV show Feherty, describing the impact that Tiger Woods had on both himself and every other PGA golfer, per the Golf Channel via CBS Sports:
“Tiger Woods deserves a million thank you notes and a million cases of nice wine from every golfer that’s coming up and wants to play the PGA Tour as well as those that are already on the PGA Tour,” said Spieth.
“He 100 percent deserves credit for doing what Arnie did in his day — Arnie and Jack. And taking it to the level it is today. He really doesn’t get the credit he deserves from us players. We all believe it. I don’t think we stress it enough to other people. How much we owe to Tiger and Phil and the greats before them.”
Spieth does make a solid point, as Tiger not only elevated the game beyond sweater vests and old guys to dri-fit gear and bigger sponsorships, but Woods made golf cool for those under the age of 60 to play.
Personally speaking, I remember in sixth grade when I got my first set of clubs my uncle saying to me, “That Tiger Woods sure has made you kids interested in golf, huh?” which was 20 years ago, so Tiger’s affect on golf goes beyond anything anyone could have imagined way back then.
Matt Kuchar, Spieth and Woods’ peer on the PGA Tour, echoed Jordan’s opinion to ESPN earlier this year, saying, “It wasn’t like he was a role model or got me into the game,” Matt Kuchar told ESPN earlier this year. “But certainly he set the bar for everyone coming up. Everyone behind him and even everyone older than him. You had to find a way to get better somehow because he had set the bar so high.”
Woods may no longer be the dominant player he once was, but, like Michael Jordan once did for the NBA, he changed the sport of golf for generations to follow—and it’s cool to hear Jordan Spieth recognize that.