Gil LeBreton

Please, golf, don’t ruin humble Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth, right, is looking like the heir apparent to Tiger Woods, who was also 21 years old in his first Masters win.
Jordan Spieth, right, is looking like the heir apparent to Tiger Woods, who was also 21 years old in his first Masters win. AP

All things considered, it’s good to be the king.

But heavy weighs the crown in this day of social media trolls, TMZ and prying paparazzi.

If he didn’t realize that before Sunday, when he was crowned Masters champion and the imminent king of golf, Dallas’ Jordan Spieth will soon find out.

Yet, he certainly makes an impression, doesn’t he?

Humble. Polite. Grounded by his family and his devotion to his special needs sister.

Besides running the Vatican these days, Jesuit priests operate 28 colleges and universities in the United States, as well as 59 high schools.

The motto of Spieth’s alma mater, Dallas’ Jesuit Prep, is “Men for Others,” an acknowledgment of the religious order’s commitment to service.

The Jordan Spieth Charitable Fund was created to raise money for special needs youth, military families and junior golf.

He is helping the game of golf, however, more than he ever dreamed.

In the moments after Sunday’s final round at Augusta, broadcaster Jim Nance proclaimed, “An exciting new era has just arrived.”

With Spieth’s choir boy cheeks showing on the TV screen, Nance noted that golf’s “next generation is officially here.”

I couldn’t hear if any bells were tolling. That Masters guitar-strumming music was too loud.

Golf takes itself seriously, and we all know and don’t mind at all about that. What other sport is so steeped in its own etiquette? What other sport demands its own level of quiet?

Augusta National, whose cedar wardrobes will now house Spieth’s green jacket, even demands its own vernacular. There’s no rough at Augusta, as you’ve probably heard. It’s called the course’s “second cut,” as if even the lawnmowers abide by tradition.

The horror of the sudden inferno of Tiger Woods’ career, therefore, must have wounded golf purists to the core. While some — me, for instance — found Woods’ public implosion tragically amusing, my golf-loving buddies were more worried about Tiger’s backswing.

I wouldn’t wish the scrutiny that Woods has undergone on any athlete, especially on golf’s apparent Heir Jordan.

On the surface, young Spieth comes across as the real deal, a true “man for others.” In interviews with his parents, Chris and Shawn, they talk about how proud they are that Jordan has remained grounded and humble.

It’s hard not to contrast their televised words with what Tiger Woods’ late father, Earl, once told Sports Illustrated about the then-21-year-old Tiger.

“He will transcend this game,” Earl said, “and bring to the world a humanitarianism which has never been known before. The world will be a better place to live by virtue of his existence.

“This is my treasure. Please accept it and use it wisely.”

(Wince).

Golf, please don’t let this kind of stuff happen to Jordan Spieth. Keep the throne a modest one. Don’t go prying through his Instagram account, looking for photos of that one Sunday he missed Mass.

He’s no Tiger Woods, and as hindsight tells us, that’s a good thing for now. But Spieth is only 21 years old, and how many of us would have liked to have had TMZ shadowing us on weekends when we were that age?

Hopefully, the game he plays will allow him to grow up gracefully and peacefully, unlike the former king.

So far, so good.

And his next tournament is right here at next month’s Colonial.

Feel free to cue the bells.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

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