Feeling the pressure
There is no greater pressure than the pressure on athletes who compete in individual sports. When things aren't going well, it's easy to get down on yourself. It's easy to lose focus and lose control of what's going on. Jordan Spieth was in danger of losing his composure on Sunday at the Open Championship when he bogeyed three of his first four holes and hit his drive on the par-four 13th 100 yards right of the fairway. Matt Kuchar took a one-shot lead going to hole No. 14, but Spieth responded in true championship fashion. Spieth finished with three birdies and an eagle in his final five holes to win by two strokes. Spieth showed what it takes to be a winner and how to be a winner as well.
Some champions just have that winning attitude that Spieth showed on Sunday. Names like Brady, Montana, Jordan and Ruth come to mind. If you want to have that winning attitude you must be able to forget about what happened on the last drive, the last pitch, the last shot. Seeing those champions perform at their highest level is a privilege. Kuchar played as well as he could down the stretch on Sunday, but didn't stand a chance. The third-place finisher finished six strokes behind Spieth.
Spieth turns 24 years old this week. He joins Jack Nicklaus as the only two golfers to win three of the four majors before turning 24. If he were to win the PGA championship in August, he would complete the career grand slam, winning all four majors.
Mental toughness can be the most difficult thing for a player to achieve. When they finally do, they become very dangerous. Spieth choked away the 2016 Masters, as he led by five strokes with nine holes to play. If he is able to learn from that mishap, which it looks like he has, Spieth might be the new face of golf. There will be many other young and talented golfers hoping to win majors such as Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy, but until those golfers show me they have the winning attitude Spieth has, I believe he will be the man to beat for the foreseeable future.
• • •
Ty Loftis is the sports editor for the Carroll County News. His email address is CCNSports@cox-internet.com