Fortunately for Jordan Spieth, he wouldn’t be able to recreate his harrowing recovery shot even if he wanted this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
It was a year ago that Spieth attempted what was possibly the most dangerous shot in PGA Tour history, his tee ball on the famed eighth hole coming to rest precariously close to the edge of the cliff over Carmel Bay. Despite pleas from caddie Michael Greller, Spieth took on the shot and almost immediately retreated to safety after impact. His daring approach wound up left of the green, but in true Spieth fashion, he sank a 20-footer for a miraculous par. That spurred him to a third-round 63.
Afterward, Spieth seemed shaken by the decision, especially with his son, Sammy, just three months old at the time. “I wish I hadn’t done it,” he said then. “In fact, I regret doing it.”
Spieth played Pebble Beach with his father and brother in November, and he said he couldn’t help but walk near the spot to remember what he’d encountered.
“I think I saved a stroke,” he told reporters Wednesday. “Does the reward outweigh the risk? Not if you think the risk was dying. But I felt I could whack it over the water with a 7-iron and get it up near the green. And I thought near the green would be easier than hitting a 7-iron from 10 yards [farther back, after a drop].
“Now, knowing my son a lot better – he was really young at the time – I may not have hit that shot.”
During a practice round Monday at Pebble, Spieth noticed that the rough ahead of the cliff had been lengthened significantly, a move that should keep balls from rolling too close to the edge – and prevent players like Spieth from taking on the risk.
“I’m glad I ended up making a 4,” he said. “Because if I made a 5, it would have been one of the worst decisions I ever made. Instead, it was just a bad decision.”