Bill Nichols

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wow factor: Dallas teen Jason Spieth has big plans for second Nelson

It’s good to be Jordan Spieth. So good, in fact, he’s accepted another invitation to the HP Byron Nelson Championship, where as a 16-year-old last year, he amazed the golf world by tying for 16th. From signing the foreheads of fans to yucking it up with a former president, the Jesuit senior who has signed with Texas reflected a bit on the past year with Tom Spousta:.

Weirdest thing that’s happened since the Nelson?

Signing a golf ball for a freshman at school. He just walked up and randomly wanted my autograph. He had a golf ball and Sharpie with him. A freshman {ellipsis} that was kind of weird.

Anything weird you remember from the tournament?

I signed a couple girls’ foreheads with a Sharpie. No, I did not know them.

How much have things changed?

People now recognize me as the guy from the Byron. In public, I’ve had a couple people come up and shake my hand and say congratulations. Other than that, it hasn’t changed, which is great.

Other than golfers, have you met any famous people?

I played golf last summer with George W. Bush. That was really cool. I’ve played a couple tournaments with Tony Romo, and I met Josh Hamilton. But I guess the coolest thing was playing golf with George W.

What was that like?

It was so relaxed and calm. He is a lot of fun to play golf with. You don’t feel like you’re playing with an ex-president. The only difference is you’ve got the Secret Service with you on every hole. But he is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever played golf with.

What did you call him? Did you say, “That’s good Mr. President, pick it up”?

It was either Mr. President, or other things I probably shouldn’t say, because he called me the same things throughout the round. But mostly everything from W. to Mr. President.

Who would you want to pattern your golf career after?

I don’t try to emulate any certain player. But I’m going to choose the guy with the most major championships, Jack Nicklaus. My goal is to break his record, just like Tiger is trying to right now. My goal would be to have the kind of career he’s had. Or Byron Nelson. Because of what he’s done off the course, what he’s done for so many people. When someone says “Byron Nelson,” people don’t just only think about a great golfer, but the positive impact and respect he’s had.

Sources say you’ve added length off the tee?

I’ve gained at least 20 pounds from last year, mostly since October. I’ve been hitting it hard. It’s been a big change as far as my swing and distancewise. Off the tee, I’ve added 15 to 20 yards. My irons, I’ve probably gained one club from last year. My 7-iron now is 175 to 180 yards.

Would you listen to any fashion tips from Rickie Fowler?

(Laughs) I’ve known Rickie for a while now, before he turned pro. He never used to dress quite like he does now. But, hey, he’s a California boy, so that’s kind of enough said right there. He’s probably one of the only guys on tour that pulls that off. You’re not going to see me doing that, going neon.

You think you’ll have more girls ask for your autograph this year?

Yeah. I guess so. It hasn’t hurt from that aspect.

Girls think golf is cool?

Yeah. Apparently. Some girls, anyway.
Driver: Titleist 910D2, 9.5-degree loft, Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board shaft
3-wood: Titleist 910, 15-degree loft
Hybrid: Titleist 910, 21-degree loft
Irons (4-PW): Titleist 710 AP2 forged, Project X shaft
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled prototype. Lofts: 60 degrees, 52 degrees, 50 degrees.
Putter: Scotty Cameron
Balls: Titleist Pro V1x

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