Monday, June 17, 2019

Is Spieth Breaking Up With Longtime Caddie?

By Marc James

One of the most recognizable pairings of player and caddie on the PGA Tour looks to be in trouble with their relationship seemingly on the rocks. Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth has enjoyed an exceptionally fruitful relationship with his caddie Micahel Greller, but after a win drought and a loss of form, the cracks are beginning to show.

The world got a look into what their relationship may be closer to these days after Speith called out his Grella for two misplaced shots on the 8th hole at the Pebble Beach during the U.S. Open. In a moment of frustration at the outcome, Speith let fly at Grella by saying, "two perfect shots there, Michael. You got me one in the water and one over the green."

Viewers at home couldn't hear the rest of the exchange, as the sound of Jordan Spieth throwing his caddie under the bus was all that was audible after that. Golfers have a knack of being quite temperamental and not accepting that they could have been in any way whatsoever to blame for where their ball ends up. However, usually Spieth has always treated Grella with a very admirable respect.

If you were to look back at the 25-year-old's trajectory over the last few years, there is actually reason to believe this relationship has become fractured purely because Spieth has stopped winning, and after the first day of the year's third major, sits at a hopeless 80/1 in the U.S. Open 2019 odds to win. It's easy to see how tempers have become frayed and it looks like Michael Grella is being made the scapegoat.

Spieth's last major win came at the 2017 Open Championship and few would have predicted he would have gone this cold since then. The rise of Brooks Koepka is likely to have made Spieth edgy about the progress he had made in his career, now that he is not considered the new kid on the block anymore, but rather just a very talented player. That is in stark contrast to him being labeled the next Jack Nicklaus, a mere 24 months ago.

In all fairness, sometimes a change does do the trick and in most cases, the first person to be let go from a team is the caddie. Grella may well know his time is over, but what a ride it has been after he quit his job as a middle school math teacher in Seattle to take up Spieth's bag. Leaving an annual salary of $55,000 to become a caddie for a teenager is a risky move, but one that has more than paid off.

Grella has made over $5 million whilst carrying Spieth's bag and is one of the most respected caddies on the PGA Tour. The 37-year-old will be inundated with job offers should he and Spieth go their separate ways which, has to be said, looks somewhat inevitable at this stage. All good things come to an end and this will go down as one of the more successful pairings the world has seen for a long time.

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