Bones: Michael Greller gave Jordan Spieth ‘most critical yardage ever’ at Open


Jim “Bones Mackay gave Phil Mickelson many important yardages during his 25 years on Lefty’s bag. But there’s an argument that none of them were as crucial as the yardage caddie Michael Grellar gave Jordan Spieth on the 13th hole Sunday at Royal Birkdale, Mackay said Tuesday on “Morning Drive.”

Even Jack Nicklaus was impressed at what Spieth did at the 13th hole, where he drove his tee shot way right and onto the driving range. Spieth and Greller initially disagreed on the yardage: Spieth figured it was 270 yards, so he grabbed 3-wood, but Greller then told him, confidently, that it was actually 230, so Spieth tossed the 3-wood to the ground and instead hit 3-iron.

Greller’s yardage ended up saving Spieth. While Spieth didn’t hit the green, he didn’t find any trouble, either, his ball landing past some gorse and shy of a greenside pot bunker. A flushed 3-wood would’ve likely left Spieth way over the green and in more trouble.

“You could make the argument that was the most critical yardage ever given to a player in the history of golf,” said Mackay, who worked the British Open as an on-course reporter for NBC. “Jordan is off the grid there, and Michael, once they found the ball, had to go to the top of the dune, he’s got to eyeball it back to the ball, he’s got to eyeball it toward the green, add it up, and give it to his man with hopefully the right line. If he gets that wrong, and the ball goes into a bunker or into a gorse bush, they are in a lot of trouble.

“What Michael did there, in his little piece, because obviously he’s not hitting the shot, is one of the most amazing things a caddie has ever done.”

Spieth got up-and-down for bogey on the hole, and then played his final five holes in 5 under to win the Claret Jug, and his third major title.

In his championship press conference Sunday night, Spieth gave Grellar credit for what his caddie did on the 13th.

 

“If you asked me who has the better yardage, myself or Michael in a lot of situations when we’re on a crazy angle, I’d pick myself,” Spieth said. “But on that one he seemed very confident. He was very adamant about what club to hit, and it gave me the confidence to hit it, because sometimes when that happens I’ll still go with what I think. But he was right on.”

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