2019 U.S. Open: Jordan Spieth explains words to caddie Michael Greller as ‘frustration, not blame’

Jordan Spieth, Michael Greller
Jordan Spieth said an exchange caught on live TV Thursday evening between he and caddie Michael Greller was simply one of frustration — not blame. Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The eighth hole at Pebble Beach in Thursday’s opening round of the 119th U.S. Open was a rough one for three-time major winner, Jordan Spieth.

And it included an ugly moment captured on live TV.

Spieth bogeyed the difficult par 4 after hitting one shot in the water and another over the green. After the second shot that went long, Spieth vented to longtime caddie Michael Greller.

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“Two perfect shots, Michael,” Spieth said. “You got me in the water on one and over the green on the other.”

On social media, Spieth was sharply criticized for the way he spoke to Greller. Here’s one example, along with video of how the moment went down.

Spieth finished the first round with a 1-over 72 and was seven strokes behind leader Justin Rose (65).

A lot of the criticism Spieth received was centered around the fact that he typically analyzes his play using the word “we” – as in “with Greller” – but in this case Thursday evening he used the word, “I” and appeared to blame the caddie for what went wrong.

Along with that, many noted that – ultimately – it’s the player who hits the shot, not the caddie, and, as such, the player is always the one who gets the final decision.

After the round, Spieth said if it looked like he was blaming Greller, that wasn’t the case at all. He was instead letting out frustration. He said they agreed on club selection for both shots and, well, the shots just didn’t work out as planned.

“When you hit a couple of shots exactly where you want and one’s in the water and the next one’s dead over the green, I’m going to be frustrated that as a team we didn’t figure out how to make sure that didn’t happen,” Spieth said. “I may have looked like the bad guy, but my intentions were that we should be in play if the ball is hit solidly.”

ESPN.com’s Michael Collins, who also contributes to The Caddie Network, asked Greller about the exchange following the round. Here’s what Collins reported through his Twitter account:

Caddie Michael Greller was so unfazed by the exchange that happened on the 8th hole with Jordan Spieth when I asked him about it. He looked at me confused and said, “What exchange? What did he say? I don’t remember.”

So, there you have it. It appears, at least from what Greller had to say, that this was just a case of some serious bad timing for Spieth — some major championship frustration captured in the heat of the moment with the mics open on live TV for all to hear.

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