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04813556-2702This one is a gimmie for Gorman and he needs one because the only way he wins in either golf or in our debates is when I concede, which is what I am doing right now.

The question is whether Jordan Spieth will be the next Tiger Woods? No! Gorman wins. Now let’s get to it in a reasonable manner and discuss this like adults instead of third graders and we’ll leave Tommy on the merry go round. There will never be another Tiger Woods, just as there will never be another Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus. There will also never be another Jordan Spieth.

Now, what we must ask ourselves is whether or not Spieth can lend as a dramatic impact on the game of golf as Woods did when he first burst on the scene? Doubt it, even if he wins another 12 majors and ties Woods at 14. Tiger changed the landscape of golf. Being multi-ethnic (Caucasian, African, Asian, Native American) he appealed to a wide spectrum of people, many who always regarded golf as strictly the domain of the upper crust WASP culture. Spieth is not going to do that, but he does have a chance to be the next big thing in the game, along with reigning number one, Rory McIlroy.

With his win at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, Spieth became the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923. He also became the youngest player to win two majors in a single year since Gene Sarazen in 1922. And he’s only the sixth player to win both the Masters and U.S. Open in history. The last was………………….wait for it…………………….Tiger, in 2002. So from a strictly golf related point of view, I’d say that Jordan has gotten off to a great start in his quest to try and match Woods’ historic record. We tend to forget, because we always put it side by side with Nicklaus’ record, just how great Tiger was.

Nobody in history, including the Bear, ever dominated golf the way Tiger did for just over a decade. It would be unreasonable to think that anyone could do that again and it’s unfair to try and burden Spieth with those kinds of expectations. But that’s what we do. We seldom appreciate the athlete for what they are. We always have to compare them to somebody else. I would say that Spieth will never be as spectacular as Woods. He will not destroy fields. He will not cause golf course architects to change the way they design courses.

What he will do is game plan the way Nicklaus did and attack the way Nick Faldo did. He will be relentless. He’ll always be there, in the hunt. Which means that he’s going to win a lot and he’s also going to finish second and third a lot too. Spieth is just as tough as Woods was mentally (something that Tiger has evidently lost). That’s his strength. He is never going to be the biggest bomber or the best ball striker or putter. But he WILL be the best player because all facets of his game are solid. He knows how to play. He knows when to take a chance and when to take his medicine. And while he plays with emotion, he is not controlled by it.

To say that Spieth will be the next Tiger is like saying that Mickey Mantle would become the next Joe DiMaggio. Never happened, but being Mickey Mantle turned out to be pretty good too.

(Tim Geary is a R.I. based freelance writer. Nobody else has ever wanted to be him).

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