Nelson Brings Spieth Back to His Roots

Expect huge galleries to watch Jordan Spieth this weekend.
Expect huge galleries to watch Jordan Spieth this weekend. (File photo: Chris McGathey)

Jordan Spieth doesn’t need to play the Byron Nelson Championship. The Masters champion could use the last week in May to rest up before more prestigious events.

But the Preston Hollow native has always been loyal to the hometown tournament where he received his first PGA Tour exemption, making the cut while he was still a junior at Jesuit.

Five years later, Spieth is certain to draw huge galleries each day at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving after becoming one of the top golfers in the world at just 21 years old. He’s even taking time to conduct a free youth clinic with University Park’s Harrison Frazar on Tuesday.

Spieth bought a $2.3 million house in Preston Hollow this spring. So despite his celebrity, it appears that his commitment to his neighborhood roots is genuine. And that doesn’t surprise those who’ve known him growing up.

During a post-Masters off week in April, Spieth surprised the current Jesuit golf team by stopping by a practice during his week off before the Rangers competed at the UIL state tournament.

“He hung out with us for over an hour and played a couple of holes. It was great for those guys to hear a talk from him,” said Jesuit head coach Cathy Marino. “It’s created a lot of excitement for golf here. It’s very inspiring to see someone who came through Jesuit and lives here have that kind of success.”

Spieth won 22 tournaments during his four years at Jesuit in addition to two U.S. Junior Amateur titles in 2009 and 2011.

“You could just tell that Jordan had something about him,” said Rob Addington, president of the Texas Golf Association. “He’s an incredible competitor, but he’s very likeable and well-mannered.”

Addington is a fellow Preston Hollow resident and a member at Brook Hollow Golf Club, where he introduced Spieth several years ago to Australia native Cameron McCormick, the club’s director of instruction. The pair proved a good match, and McCormick has been Spieth’s swing coach ever since.

“As he kept growing and playing better, he played on our junior tour, and that’s when I got a sense that he has another gear that not every junior golfer has,” Addington said. “I felt like he had a chance to really be something special.”

Addington recalls one year at the Byron Nelson Junior Championship, when Spieth was tired and shot a mediocre first round, placing him in the middle of the pack. The next day, he broke the course record and won going away.

“He’s always been incredibly mature. He’s got a great perspective on things. He’s great for the game and a great role model,” Addington said. “His apparel has changed a little bit, but he still just wants to be Jordan and play golf with his buddies.”

Addington said Spieth, who tied for second at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth over the weekend, has remained humble and retained the work ethic that has fueled his rise to fame and fortune.

“It’s a very quiet confidence that’s not arrogant or brash in any way,” Addington said. “I’d think a lot of him as a person, even if he was a terrible golfer.”

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