In speaking recently with Jordan Spieth he revealed a wonderful tribute he has in place within his Texas home to the late, great sports star Shane Warne.
It was just over seven years ago, Spieth and Warne met for the first time in the pro-am ahead of the 2015 Emirates Australian Open at the Australian Club in Sydney.
Spieth was the reigning World No. 1 arriving into Australia’s oldest city as the winner earlier in the year of The Masters and the US Open, along with capturing the Valspar Championship, John Deere Classic and the PGA Tour season-ending Tour Championship.
Winning the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year, ensured Spieth becoming the first to do so since Tiger Woods in 2002, and the Texan became the fourth-youngest to win multiple major championships and the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923.
Spieth also swept all the major awards for the season: PGA Player of the Year and PGA Tour Player of the Year (Jack Nicklaus Trophy), Vardon Trophy and Byron Nelson Award for leading the tour in scoring average, and Arnold Palmer Award for leading the tour’s money list.
Also of note, he was the reigning Emirates Australian Open champion.
His pairing with Warne was a promoter’s dream. The visiting top-ranked golfer in the world, winner of two of the four majors of 2015, teaming with an Australian-born global sports legend, widely considered as one of the greatest bowlers in cricket history. Warney, as he was affectionately known the world over, revolutionised cricket with his mastery of leg spin, which many cricket followers had come to regard as a dying art due to the difficulty of accurately bowling the deliveries.
There was the occasion on the first tee, and I still vividly recall, with Warney presenting Spieth with an autographed cricket bat and with the words ‘Bowled Jordan!” Keep Smiling”.
After a quick lesson from Warney in how to hold the bat, Spieth then delighted a big gathering around the opening tee by taking a few golf-like swings with the bat or as Spieth calls it, a cricket ‘paddle’.
I had a first opportunity since ‘Warney’s’ tragic passing in March this year to speak privately with Spieth at the recent Tiger Woods hosted Hero World Challenge about first meeting Warney that sunny Wednesday morning November 25th, 2015.
And it came as a super surprise to learn the present location of the cricket ‘paddle’ Warney presented to Spieth.
“I have the cricket paddle Warney gave me proudly on display in my office back home in Dallas, and it’s one of the coolest things I have,” said Spieth.
“I know Warney was famed for his bowling but to have, ‘yes’, a cricket bat up there on my office wall, and also signed by him is something I’m really proud to have.
“As golfers we are always collecting golf-related items to put up on display but a cricket bat is probably the most unique thing I have up there on display
“We had a great day together playing in that pro-am with Warney being so much fun and a very good golfer, as well. He and I kept in touch for years afterwards while I always followed him on social media. When I went back to Australia for the 2016 Open I got to play the pro-am with Ricky Ponting.
“It came as a huge shock when learning the news of Warney’s passing. I felt terribly sad for his children. He was a guy that would light-up a room and that was so noticeable that day we played the pro-am.
“There’s now not a day that passes that each time I’m in my office I’ll look-up at that cricket bat and think of Warney.”
Spieth finished joint runner-up in the defence of the 2015 Australian Open losing out by shot to Aussie and fellow Texas-based Matt Jones but he returned a year later to beat Ashley Hall and also now fellow Open Champion Cameron Smith to capture the Stonehaven Cup for a second time in three years.
Leave a comment