Jordan Spieth - Rookie of the Year

Wed Dec 18, 2013 by Dave Phillips

At TPI, we recently had an opportunity to evaluate a player who had one of the most amazing stories in 2013 - Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth.  At 20 years young, he started the season with no PGA Tour status and a World Ranking of #1,097.  He finished the season as the Rookie of the Year with a Tour win, $3.8 million in earnings and a World Ranking of #22.  What an amazing accomplishment by Jordan and his team. 

In evaluating Jordan, you instantly get the impression that he is extremely confident in his own abilities.  He’s also willing to make changes based on feedback from his coaching team, lead by swing coach Cameron McCormick.  This openness to making adjustments to an already amazing set of fundamentals reminds me of something I recently read by education expert Ron Berger, in his book An Ethic of Excellence.

To summarize, once a student sees that he or she is capable of excellence, the student will never be the same.  You’ve heard the saying that success breeds more success. It’s true.  With success, a new self-image begins to form as well as a stronger passion and belief that anything is possible.  The already hefty appetite for excellence increases as well as an insatiable hunger for more. “Good enough” will not satisfy them.  Every student has a picture of what they perceive as excellent.  As a teacher, it’s your job to find out what this is and give them the proper feedback in order to achieve it.

Proper feedback is essential.  Take a look at this video.  Although it’s unrelated to golf, the amazing story of Austin’s Butterfly is an example of the power of critique and supported feedback.  With perseverance, a commitment to deliberate practice, and proper feedback, extraordinary things can be accomplished.

  • Johann Beukes

    What a find and treasure this young man is; and as your article illustrates, raw, natural talent like Jordan's still has to be nurtured and developed. Golf seems to be very unforgiving towards prodigies who do not follow the humble way of continuous tuition.

  • Anonymous User

    Interesting analogy to the learning model from the video. We all could benefit from being open to constructive critique and supported feedback. Too bad, we don't get more of that in golf instruction.

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