SYDNEY (AP) – Jordan Spieth must have thought he answered all the tough questions during a 30-minute media conference Tuesday that had to be cut off by Australian Open organizers.
The most prying questions, though, came a few hours later from a group of about 60 kids during a junior clinic on the range at The Australian Golf Club, where Spieth will open play Thursday in defense of his 2014 title.
After discussing Australian sports – including cricket – with the kids, Spieth appeared perplexed when asked what type of ball he uses. “Cricket ball?” he asked initially, then realized they wanted to know the type of golf ball he plays with.
That warmed him up for the next question, from a boy of about 11 or 12, who asked: “Do you believe in God, or do you believe in science?”
Without batting an eye, but with a smile at the surprising tone of the question, he answered: “God,” then added, “that sure was an interesting one.”
Asked at the media conference how he enjoyed playing two of the famed sand belt courses in Melbourne on the weekend before he came to Sydney, he was careful not to rank Royal Melbourne or Kingston Heath one over the other “because that won’t go over so well … yeah, it was certainly one of the last couple of places on the bucket list to play golf.”
Which could have begged another question: How does a 22-year-old have a bucket list?
Spieth still has fond memories of last year’s closing course-record 63 in brutal conditions at The Australian that gave him a six-shot win over a field that included Australia’s own Adam Scott.
“I just stayed very patient and played one of the best rounds I’ve ever played in my life when I really needed it,” Spieth said Tuesday.
When he won in Sydney last year, he promised to return to defend his title. But Australian organizers were understandably nervous throughout most of this year after Spieth won the Masters, U.S. Open, the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.
No need to worry – there was never any doubt he’d return Down Under, calling Australia “my favorite place I’ve ever traveled to to play golf,” and saying it was a “no-brainer coming back.”
Spieth and Scott will be joined by 1997 Australian Open champion Lee Westwood, 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke and former Australian champions Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden and Greg Chalmers.
Also in the field is Champions Tour regular Peter Senior, the 2012 Australian Open champion and who won last week’s Australian Masters at the age of 56.
Despite calling Senior’s win “really inspiring,” he has no plans to be still hitting a small white ball at that age.
“I think when I’m 56 I may be on a beach somewhere,” Spieth said, “where nobody knows where I am.”