Spieth's caddie has flashback to amateur days

Jordan Spieth and caddie Michael Greller have come a long way since not having status to compete at last year's Northern Trust Open (shown here during last week's 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am).

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – In golf as in life, there are places that remind us of how far we have come. Maybe it’s the driving range where you took your first swing or the muni where you first broke 100.

Yesterday, caddie Michael Greller flashed back to the 2012 Northern Trust Open when he took a week off from his job as a sixth-grade math and science teacher in Washington to watch Jordan Spieth compete as an amateur. Greller had caddied for Spieth when he won the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash.

“It was eye-opening even though I was outside the ropes,” Greller said on the eve of the Northern Trust Open. “To think I’m where I am now, it’s just, ‘Wow.’ ”

Greller took a year sabbatical from teaching last year to hop inside the ropes as caddie for Spieth when he turned professional, a move that has become more permanent after Spieth’s breakthrough rookie season on the PGA Tour.

A year ago, Spieth wasn’t at Riviera. He had no status and was preparing for the start of the Web.com Tour. Spieth played events in Panama and Colombia and registered two top-10 finishes. Some thought he was making a mistake by skipping a Web.com Tour event to take a sponsor’s exemption at the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open. Boy, did Spieth show them. He finished T-2 and was on his way.

As a testament to just how far he’s come, this week Spieth is part of one of the featured groups at Riviera with Fred Couples and Webb Simpson. In the locker room before the opening round, Spieth reflected on how far he’d come in so short a time, smiled and added, “I’m just happy to be here.”

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