CHARLOTTE – Jordan Spieth’s penchant for the surreal was not left back at Royal Birkdale.
Spieth has been struggling Friday at Quail Hollow and it continued when he flailed his drive well right at the par-5 10th and his ball came to rest pinched up against a curb on the right side of a cart path.
He of course gets nearest point of relief for his ball ending up here, and hmm … has Spieth had any recent bizarre scenarios where he got relief? Oh yeah, that surreal adventure in the final round of last month’s British Open at Birkdale’s 13th.
This whole thing wasn’t the insanity show of that Birkdale drop, but what unfolded next was still incredibly fascinating.
First, Spieth took part in some “pine straw” gardening as he prepared to make his free drop.
Then he made sure to consult a rules official to avoid any chance at penalty. Spieth can be heard asking, “How could I make a mistake here?” and “What can’t I do?”
The official responds: “What you can’t do is move anything that’s growing or fixed. OK?”
That is a tenant of Rule 13-2, which says a player cannot improve the area in which he is to drop or place a ball by moving anything growing or fixed. The pine straw here is a loose impediment, though, which means it’s something Spieth can move.
Anyway, he eventually dropped the ball twice and it rolled to the cart path both times, which meant he was able to place the ball.
He then whipped his second shot way left into more pine straw. Here’s video of how it all unfolded:
And that wasn’t it!
Spieth hit a tree on his next shot and was still in pine straw before making this great escape with his fourth.
He then was left with a par chip, which he got inside 10 feet. He made the putt for bogey to drop to 3 over for the tournament (the cut line is currently 4 over).
A bogey on a par 5 is almost never good, but considering this path, Spieth will take that.
So a new major, but the adventurous Spieth has not gone anywhere.