Former Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells warned everyone not to get out the anointing oils when it came to quarterback Tony Romo in 2006.
But after Jordan Spieth fired his opening tee shot at the first round of the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial, certainly one group of well-wishers thought it might be time to start anticipating the emergence of a new golf king.
While photographers lined the cart path parallel to the first tee and Spieth drew some of the largest crowds since Tiger Woods last played here, there weren’t any fist pumps or dramatic, hanging on the lip kind of chips.
Just plain old, ice-cold, mistake-free golf.
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Some 64 shots of it to be exact, and a four-way share of the lead at Colonial.
But Spieth’s brand of what appears to be stress-free play is helping to shape the future of golf.
Though the methodical charm of waiting for the right opportunity to attack hole locations may sharply contrast with the flamboyance and exciting shot-making of golf’s recent past, it wasn’t lost on the University of Texas alumnus to drop in a crowd-pleasing birdie at the last hole.
“Coming up 18, I was frustrated to see where my ball ended up, but I was able to soak in the welcoming,” Spieth said. “Hopefully, if I can keep it going tomorrow, with the afternoon crowds on the weekend, it will be great to feed off of that.
“The roar on No. 1 when I came up was awesome. There were a lot [Dallas] Jesuit guys back behind the No. 1 tee there and that was awesome.”
To say his round was boring probably isn’t fair.
But Spieth dominated Colonial on Thursday with precision shots and textbook saves to keep his bogey-free round alive.
After calmly striking his first tee shot in front of three-deep crowds that included his Jesuit Prep family in the poolside skyboxes, Spieth seemed almost unconscious when he played from its resting place in the bunker guarding the left fairway.
After advancing his second shot about 160 yards, he hit his third from 124 yards and then rolled in a 25-foot birdie to kick-start his round.
Spieth followed with another birdie at No. 2, which set him up to run Colonial’s famed Horrible Horseshoe (hole Nos. 3-5) at even par.
Birdies at Nos. 7, 10, 15 and 18 got him to his final score. But Spieth missed an opportunity at No. 16, where he fired his approach to inside of 4 feet.
“The stats will say that putt was around 4 feet or so, but it was a tricky putt and one that at the end of the day — there’s been so much traffic there — you really had to hit a great putt,” he said.
Sitting amongst the throng of Jesuit alumni was former TCU football player Mike Flynn, who said watching Spieth’s attitude and approach to the game has been impressive.
“I think he represents Jesuit so well, but I also think he represents golf in the same fashion,” Flynn said. “When you think of how young he is and how he’s carried himself with such class, I know all of us that went to Jesuit couldn’t be happier for him.”
Jesuit alumni president Kevin Whalen said it’s clear that mental toughness is the key to Spieth’s success.
“I think his mindset about golf is the strongest part of his game, and he carries that Jesuit philosophy of doing the best you can every day,” Whalen said. “We’ve had a lot of great alums, but he’s probably moving to the top of the list pretty quick.”