Friday, May 21, 2010

(The) Crossing (of) Jordan

I'm one of those old-school guys who still reads newspapers (even if I almost totally ignore the front section, save for op-eds, letters from readers and lotto numbers; everything else, I read yesterday online), and since our local Dallas Morning News does a good job of high school sports coverage, I tend to read about up-and-coming athletes long before a lot of the rest of the world has heard of them.

Obviously, the DFW area has produced a lot of marquee names in football over the years (think Chase Daniel, Matthew Stafford, Graham Harrell and so on), and their exploits were chronicled in the paper throughout their prep careers. But there's also been a strong tradition of young golfers in the area--think Justin Leonard, the Kuehne siblings, Hunter Mahan and so on. And one of the people I'd been reading quite a lot about for the past few years is a 16-year-old named Jordan Spieth.

And after today, a whole lot more people will have heard of Jordan, because he made the cut at the Byron Nelson today:
Spieth is a high school junior from Dallas who cut class this week to play in the Byron Nelson Championship, becoming the first prep to take on the pros in this event since [Tiger] Woods in 1993. He's handled his nerves and the TPC Four Seasons course quite nicely, shooting a 3-under 137 through two rounds to become the sixth-youngest player to make the cut at a PGA Tour event.
I should point out that even Woods didn't make the cut at the Nelson during his prep days.

Jordan's having an exceptional week--and, so far, an exceptional life. One of his good buddies, whom he met at a pro-am earlier this year (and was in attendance today), is a certain golf-crazy local pro athlete named Tony Romo. And he ended up having a rather ginormous gallery today, as the Jesuit brass evidently sort of winked at the absenteeism of any of Jordan's fellow classmates (as well as a few teachers) who showed up to cheer him on.

Sure, nobody knows what the next few years will bring, but from what we've seen so far, Jordan likely has a bright future. He's playing in another tourney in South Carolina next month on a sponsor's invitation, and he still has another year of high school golf left before likely heading off to the University of Texas.

And while it's not likely that he'll win on Sunday, stranger things can happen. And his attitude is certainly in the right place: "I don't want to think of myself as an amateur out there," he said. "I want to think of myself as a contender." I'm certainly not going to doubt him.

Jordan Spieth--remember the name. We could be witnessing the start of something big.

SATURDAY UPDATE: Jordan continues to contend after today's round, ending up tied for seventh place. Way to go!

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