Think, then speak

As a society nowadays, there is a tendency for people to draw conclusions without knowing all the facts. Preconceived ideas come to the forefront based solely on isolated incidents.

As an example, in the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach, CA on Thursday, Jordan Spieth (who has won three major championships) had two consecutive shots at the 8th hole that were less than desirable. The tee shot went out of bounds and the next shot went over the green. Spieth was caught on camera saying to his caddie, Michael Greller, “Two perfect shots, Michael. You got me in the water on the one and over the green on the other.”

The meaning behind that exchange was that Spieth blamed Greller for those bad shots by giving him yardage estimates that were incorrect. Spieth thought he hit the shots flawlessly right on those estimates, and they ended up in unfavorable spots.

So, on social media, the outrage against Spieth was immediate and unrelenting. There is a certain segment of the golf population who are not Spieth fans and used this incident as another way to criticize him and re-emphasize their overall opinions. Many of these people said that Spieth was the one who actually hit the shots and needs to take ownership of the good or the bad results of that shot. The caddie merely provides advice much in the same way a coach instructs a player in other sports. The player must still execute. At the extreme, other people said that Spieth displays poor character all of the time and continually blames others for his mistakes.

Now, I will say this from the outset: MAYBE all of that is true.

However, where I find it difficult to come to that conclusion is when it’s only based on a ten second observation on television and that’s it.

As someone who has been a part of competitive athletics, the relationship between a coach and a player can be volatile. That’s what makes us all human beings. There’s no universal formula on how two individuals react to one another. There’s give and take sometimes. There are disagreements. There are times where one person vents towards the other knowing that it’s not personal. Even though I’ve never personally experienced it, I’m sure the relationship between golfer and caddie is very similar.

So, I don’t believe I’m in any position to make any conclusions about how Jordan Spieth and Michael Greller are supposed to act towards one another. Nor can I make any conclusions about how ANY golfer and caddie are to do so. Maybe that situation that played out on national television is much more prevalent on the golf course than what the general public knows. It’s just that one interaction just happened to be caught on the airwaves.

I don’t know if there’s a need amongst people in society where they have to have closure to every situation. Maybe that’s why people have to come up with their own conclusions even if there’s not conclusive evidence to make it so. Maybe I’m the weird one, choosing to get more evidence before criticizing others. Of course, I’ll never play in any golf tournament, much less win three majors, so I don’t know if I could justify coming up with any educated opinions about Spieth and Greller whatsoever.

So, to me, this is another example of the public throwing opinions out into society (which the United States Constitution allows us to do). However, I just wish that the public would take a moment to fully comprehend what those opinions actually mean. An isolated ten seconds on television might not entirely represent a situation.

And if that’s not possible, then the public definitely needs to read, think, and comprehend all the opinions, tweets, and posts to make up their own minds about a topic instead of just parroting what the popular opinions might be at that moment.