Would you attempt that shot?
I sure wouldn’t.
Not in a million years.
Not if I was a professional and might need it to win a tournament.
And certainly not if I was just playing a round of golf for fun.
I still can’t get over what Jordan Spieth did Saturday on the eighth hole at Pebble Beach.
His left foot was THAT CLOSE to the cliff and a 60-foot drop to the rocks below.
One false move, one slip, one iota of balance lost, and our great game would have had the single most tragic story in its history.
No wonder the crowd was audibly shouting and gasping as he attempted it. I could feel myself practically screaming, “Don’t do it!”
I’m glad he shuddered a bit as he walked to the green after his Houdini act atop one of the most scenic – and scary – shots anywhere.
But when we think of scary, we normally think of it figuratively, as in, “This shot is scary hard” or “The result of this shot from an impossible lie could be scary.”
Anyone who has played Pebble knows that spot so well. Jack Nicklaus called it the hardest second shot in the world.
You should make absolutely sure you’re far enough short of the cliff with your tee ball. There’s no point in pushing the envelope to get a shorter shot to the green. It’s too risky.
And then when you’re walking to the green, you don’t dare go anywhere near that cliff. After all the erosion over the years, who knows if that cliff is stable?
I’ve even had nightmares about that hole. The recurring dream is that I’m driving a cart and somehow drive it right over the cliff. The stories about Spieth’s shot said that happened once, but I read elsewhere that it’s an urban legend.
But here’s my main takeaway: What Spieth did on No. 8 makes my most memorable trouble shots pale by comparison.
So many times, I’ve been in “the junk.” I walk through thick grass and foliage to find my ball, then think (often foolishly) that I can hit it out of there.
And so many times, I’ve paid for it by putting myself in worse shape thanks to my attempted heroics. It’s so simple and obvious: Take my medicine and take a drop. But I think I can beat the odds.
Spieth isn’t built like that, of course. He has some Phil Mickelson in him. What would Lefty do? He would hit the shot – although I’ve got to wonder if even Mickelson would try to hit a shot from right above the cliff on No. 8 at Pebble.
Memorably, Spieth hit that impossible shot in the Ryder Cup last fall, the one where he popped the ball onto the green from far below it, then lost his balance and ran down the hill, stopping just feet short of Lake Michigan.
He has that dramatic bent that makes him endearing, just as Mickelson is a favorite of so many people for the same reason. These guys aren’t just good, they’re creative and sometimes fearless.
If ever we needed an example of the fact that we’re not them, Saturday told you everything.
Could you keep your weight on your back leg to avoid falling to your death and still hit a quality shot?
Spieth actually managed to hit his ball up by the green. Part of the reason I’d take a drop is that I’m sure I would be so concerned about not taking my normal swing, I’d dump the shot in the ocean anyway. Why even attempt it?
But that’s Jordan Spieth. That’s what he does. And that’s what he did Saturday.
Even if he had won the tournament by one shot instead of losing by two, I wouldn’t have been on board with it. I hope he never tries anything like that ever again. Sorry … it’s just not worth it. Not ever.