Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods and Media Coverage

I was pleasantly surprised by NBC’s coverage of the Hero World Challenge this past weekend.

In years past, whenever Woods has been in the field, the impulse of the broadcasters and their producers was to focus on Tiger to the near exclusion of everyone else. This past weekend was different. While Tiger was struggling, Jordan Spieth was putting on a show for the ages. The producers responded by putting Tiger on the (relative) back burner, and focusing much of their attention on Spieth.

While you could argue that the producers just shifted their love of over-the-top obsessive coverage from Tiger to Jordan, I thought it the correct call. Jordan Spieth is the hottest player on the planet at this point. He finished one shot back at the Dunlop Phoenix, then a week later won the Australian Open by six (Rory and Adam Scott were in that field, among others). His ten shot win over some of the game’s best at the Hero World Challenge was the icing on the cake.

Some of that, I think, may be the wishful thinking that Spieth is poised to become a regular challenger to McIlroy. After twenty years of Tiger without a foil, I think the golf media and fans are ready for a rivalry. McIlroy has clearly established himself as the game’s dominant player. The only question is: who is the Trevino/Watson to his Nicklaus.

I mention the Trevino/Watson duo because at this point, if a rivalry develops, it seems likely to be a triumvirate: Rory Mcilroy, Rick Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Spieth has had the hot hand as of late, but in 2014, Fowler had as good a year as you can have without a win.

It’ll be fun to watch how it develops in 2015.

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