The Forecaddie: Jordan Spieth has encountered gamesmanship and he’s not naming (Ryder Cup) names

The Forecaddie: Jordan Spieth has encountered gamesmanship and he’s not naming (Ryder Cup) names

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: Jordan Spieth has encountered gamesmanship and he’s not naming (Ryder Cup) names

As the world’s finest players assemble at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, they must turn their focus from stroke play to the dynamics of match play. That means a different pace to the rounds or reacting to what an opponent is doing or, from time to time, not falling prey to mind games.

The Forecaddie senses there won’t be any pockets full of noisy coins this week, nor will there be extra close scrutiny of a free drop. Then again it wasn’t that long ago when Miguel Angel Jimenez and Keegan Bradley were barking at each other when this event was played at TPC Harding Park, with Bradley seeking refuge in his courtesy car where he was seen petting his girlfriend’s dog.

With those indelible images in mind, Jordan Spieth was asked prior to his Day One match against Charl Schwartzel if he’s encountered any gamesmanship in his young career.

“Yeah, there’s been – there’s been a couple of different instances both in the Ryder Cup,” he said. “And other than that I haven’t had any. I can’t share them with you, I’m sorry.”

After a little prodding, Spieth gave up a few details about the gamesmanship.

“I think they were indifferent to me and helped Patrick (Reed),” he said.

The Man Out Front looked up Spieth’s Ryder Cup record with Reed and noticed the duo faced the Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson team three times at Hazeltine National in 2016. But they also have played Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello at those matches. Back at Gleneagles in 2014, Reed/Spieth won matches against Stephen Gallacher/Ian Poulter and Thomas Bjorn/Martin Kaymer, while halving a match with Rose/Kaymer.

It’s anyone’s guess who was trying to get in their heads. But the larger point is that Spieth is amused by it all, calling efforts to get in an opponent’s mind “fun” and part of match play.

“There should be some gamesmanship,” he said. “That’s the way it is in every other sport, we just never play one-on-one or team versus team like other sports do. That’s why at times it might seem way out of the ordinary. If every tournament were match play, I don’t think that would be an unusual question.”

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