Attention, scums: Jordan Spieth knows who you are, and he won’t sign your items. Also, he’ll thank you not to use foul language in front of youngsters.
By “scums,” Spieth was referring Wednesday to professional autograph seekers, and as he walked away from the 18th hole after a practice round for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, he thought he recognized a few of them. When the world’s sixth-ranked golfer bypassed the men and gave his signature to others in the gallery, he caught an earful from the men and subsequently offered some choice words about them.
One of the men hurled an F-bomb toward Spieth while he was signing for a young boy, at which point he turned toward them and said, “C’mon, guys, there are children here.” Of the exchange, the two-time major winner told reporters (via the San Jose Mercury News), “I felt the need to turn around and tell them that wasn’t right.
“A couple of them were saying, `You’re not Tiger Woods, don’t act like you’re Tiger.’ But here he’s still trying to benefit off me and I’m not even Tiger Woods. What does that say about you? So yeah, I get into it here and there. I was just a little frustrated at the end, and I didn’t appreciate the language that was used. It was just some scums that bothered me.”
Spieth, 23, said that he was “just not really appreciative of people who travel to benefit off of other people’s success.” He added, “I enjoy signing and I sign for kids whenever we get the chance. But these guys have these items that you’ve already seen online.
“Our team keeps track of that kind of stuff, and these guys just have bags of stuff to benefit from other people’s success when they didn’t do anything themselves. Go get a job instead of trying make money off of things we’ve been able to do.”
It’s not the first time Spieth has taken issue with persistent autograph hounds, particularly when children were involved. After a driving-range session before the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, the golfer told reporters (via golf.com), “There was a little kid with sunglasses who looked kind of smooshed. He was taking it like a champ, though. He was still smiling and holding out his flag. But I got his flag and saw the guys that were smooshing him, which happened to be eBay-ers, sellers, professionals. So it was pretty easy for me to tell them, ‘No, you smoosh a kid, I’m not signing for you. I’m going to go sign for the next person over here.’ It’s nice to have an excuse not to have to sign for the sellers because we don’t enjoy doing that.”
Spieth reached the top of the world golf rankings after a second-place finish at the 2015 PGA Championship, which followed wins at the Masters and the U.S. Open. He regained the No. 1 ranking later that year after winning the Tour Championship and held it for 20 weeks before Jason Day surpassed him. A relatively disappointing 2016, including a memorable collapse at the Masters, dropped him to fifth and he emerged from last week’s Phoenix Open, where he finished ninth, one spot lower.
“It’s not really a big concern of mine,” Spieth said (per the Mercury News) of his drop in the rankings. “. . . My goals in order to stay there have shifted away from focus on the rankings and more just getting prepared for the major championships, and then that takes care of itself.”
Of course, Spieth is still one of the biggest stars on the PGA Tour, even if he’s “not Tiger Woods.” What he also is not is someone who can’t distinguish between genuine golf fans and those looking to “benefit off of other people’s success.”