It probably won’t be this year, what with Tiger Woods still sidelined with back issues, but any time the four-time Masters champ wants to crash an Augusta practice round is OK with Jordan Spieth.
Doesn’t even have to be at the first major of the season; if Woods wants in, Spieth is not about to say no.
"He [Tiger] can be an uninvited guest any round I ever play. That’s fine with me," Spieth said Wednesday about the back nine he played with Woods and Ben Crenshaw the day before last year’s Masters kicked off.
So what if it happened to be Crenshaw’s last practice round as a Masters competitor — a planned nine holes with Texas’ other favorite son.
"He came up and said, ‘What are you guys doing?’" Spieth told reporters on the eve of Thursday’s start to his Valspar Championship title defense — the first of five such events this season. "I said, ‘We’re going to shoot off the back nine’ and he said, ‘Mind if I join?’ and I said, ‘Sure.’"
In less than 24 hours, Jordan Spieth will begin his first of this season's five title defenses. pic.twitter.com/MYvTArjRMk— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 9, 2016
And so what if Spieth’s recollection was a tad different from the story Crenshaw related to Augusta.com last year about his inviting Woods, who said he was "just one," to join the two Longhorns.
The jam session was not only enjoyable for all, but it may actually have helped Spieth sew up that green jacket that travels with him almost everywhere he goes. Noting that his par putt on the par-3 16th last year "really sealed the deal" for him, Spieth said watching Woods play several shots to where the flag was likely to be in the final round turned out to be huge.
Walking off the green on Wednesday after playing with Ben and Tiger, Spieth turned around to look at the putting surface from another angle as Woods was playing shot after shot to a specific spot.
"I saw Tiger hitting these putts from the back left part of the green towards what would be the Sunday pin," Spieth recalled. "I just remembered noticing how the ball broke so significantly and didn't stop running even though there’s a slope off of the back of the bunker there.
"Everyone knows that green from Tiger’s chip shot [on the 16th on Masters Sunday 11 years ago]," Spieth recounted. "But unless you’re on the grounds, there’s actually a good four-degree slope off the bunker going the other way so it’s almost like a valley but it still breaks into that valley.
"I remember watching that putt and noticing how much it broke and it kind of threw me off, so I watched him hit quite a few of them," Spieth added. "He obviously knew that was a tricky putt, and, sure enough, I ended up having a very similar putt, maybe a slightly different angle, for par to clinch the Masters."
With a two-putt par on 16 in Sunday’s finale, Spieth went to the 17th tee with a healthy lead over Justin Rose.
"That was a chance for Justin Rose to possibly snag a two-shot swing," Spieth said. "After he missed his [birdie] putt I could make mine [for par] and stay up four with two to play and that's pretty much in the bag."
That helpful tip from Tiger no doubt warranted one of the "million thank you notes" Spieth contended Woods has earned from everyone currently playing or hoping to compete in The Show.
"Tiger Woods deserves a million thank you notes and a million cases of nice wine from every golfer that’s coming up and wants to play the PGA Tour as well as those that are already on the PGA Tour," Spieth said on David Feherty’s program Monday night.
"He 100 percent deserves credit for doing what Arnie did in his day — Arnie and Jack. And just taking it to the level it is today," Spieth told Feherty, referring to how Woods put golf on the map as a popular spectator sport and cash in the pockets of tour players. "He really doesn’t get the credit that he deserves from us players. We all believe it. I don’t think we stress it enough to other people. How much we owe to Tiger and Phil and the greats before them."