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Humble hero Jordan Spieth of real 'par'-agon of virtue
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By Andrea Peyser
April 17, 2015

Humble hero Jordan Spieth of real 'par'-agon of virtue

This one’s for Ellie.

The professional sports world has a new rock star, a handsome, humble young Texan who’s ruled not by lust, greed or epic neediness, but by the disabled sister whom he adores.

Give a big hand to Jordan Spieth.

This past Sunday, at the tender age of 21, Spieth won the Masters golf tournament in Georgia, one of the most prestigious contests not only in the realm of little balls and clubs, but in all of the competitive sporting universe. It has transformed him into a member in good standing of the celebrity industrial complex.

But Spieth accomplished a feat that has eluded other golfers, most notably Tiger Woods, now 39, by winning the match with grace and poise. In 1997, also at age 21 — 155 days younger than Spieth — Woods became the youngest man ever to be awarded a sartorially challenged Masters green winner’s jacket (Spieith is the second-youngest), winning the tournament the first of four times.

But something else happened. This Masters represented only the second time ever, after Woods’ initial star turn, that I found myself glued to the television during a golf outing, cheering on the phenom’s every stroke.

This is where comparisons between the two athletes begin and end. For Spieth, the victory was not all about him.

He won the match for Ellie Spieth, his 14-year-old sister. She’s a little girl who’s growing up with spunk and a wicked sense of humor, despite facing awesome challenges. For Ellie was born prematurely with a neurological disorder that places her on the autism spectrum.

Just after setting Masters records and sailing to victory, Spieth’s thoughts raced back to Ellie.

“I miss her a lot, and I wish she could have been here,’’ he said on CNN. “But I can’t wait to get back to her and maybe let her try on the jacket.’’

He said, “She’s the most special part of our family. She’s the funniest part of our family. I love having her around. She’s an incredible sister, my biggest supporter. She is somebody who you can watch and then reflect on the big picture of life and understand all these frustrations in a day, or in a round of golf, are really secondary.’’

Ellie Spieth is also the reason her big bro established the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, which raises money for special-needs youth, for military families and for junior golf.

What a breath of fresh air.

Although he’s so young, Spieth has avoided appearing spoiled and pampered, traps that have felled so many narcissistic champions.

Spieth, who has said his parents named him after basketball legend Michael Jordan, maxed out on unfortunate utterances when he muttered, “Dang it!’’ after mucking up a tee shot on Sunday. On Saturday, Woods, who finished the match tied for 17th place, tossed his driver to the ground and shouted, “Oh, my f—king God’’ into his microphone after blowing a tee shot, causing a CBS commentator to apologize to TV viewers.

It’s difficult to avoid comparing Woods to Spieth, now the world’s No. 2-ranked golfer after Northern Irish-born Rory McIlroy, 25. Spieth still dates his high-school sweetheart, has a younger brother in addition to his sister, and is fiercely loyal to his dad, Shawn, and mom, Chris.

Woods squandered the goodwill of his fans by feeding his insatiable appetites. In the early- morning hours following Thanksgiving 2009, his then-wife and the mother of his two children, Elin Nordegren, now 35, chased him with a golf club out of the couple’s Florida mansion after learning that he’d been sexually unfaithful. And how. It soon came out that he’d had carnal relations, sometimes while standing up, with hordes of blondes, brunettes and redheads.

Now he dates brave Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, 30.

For the first time in a long while, it is possible to believe that a superstar can also be a grounded human being. Spieth raked in $1.8 million for winning the Masters, and is to earn many times more from endorsement deals, but he displays no sign of ego.

“It’s humbling to see [Ellie] and her friends and the struggles they go through each day that we take for granted,’’ he told The Washington Post.

“I’m lucky to play on tour and to compete with these guys, it’s been a dream come true,’’ he told Ohio.com. “I definitely attribute a lot of that to’’ Ellie.

Thank you, Jordan Spieth. Golf needs you. Sports needs you. The celebrity universe needs you.

We all do.

Andrea Peyser



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Andrea's Recent Columns archived on andreapeyser.com

Hey, Blas, Hill’s got it ‘right’

Hillary Rodham Clinton need not care if Bill de Blasio is a traitor. New York City’s mayor, who served as campaign manager for Clinton’s successful 2000 bid for a seat in the US Senate from New York, has infuriated top Democrats and Clinton insiders by refusing to support his former political ally, at least just yet.

“No, not until I see — and, again, I would say this about any candidate — until I see an actual vision of where they want to go,’’ de Blasio said this past Sunday on TV’s “Meet the Press’’ when asked if he’d endorse Clinton as she seeks the Democratic nomination for president.

He repeated the diss Tuesday, saying that he wants to know where Clinton stands on such issues as income inequality.

“We need to hear a vision that relates to this time, not eight years ago’’ — when Clinton first unsuccessfully sought the US presidency. Ouch.

Now, angry Democratic donors may pull support for de Blasio when he’s up for re-election, The Post reported. But while Clinton’s perceived shift to the right might make her unpopular with New York’s ruling class, I believe that a new, more centrist candidate will win support from average American voters. Shrewd move.

Ladies agree: tat’s a bad idea

Skin art. Tramp stamps. Call ladies’ tattoos what you will, many readers agreed withmy column slamming ordinary Janes and celebrities, from TV queen Lena Dunham to Hollywood goddess Angelina Jolie, for having their bodies illustrated.

Sarah Peltz of Brooklyn confessed that, like me, she’s had one tat hidden on her frame. “It is not meant for public viewing and the only people who have really seen it are doctors and less than a handful of lucky gentlemen,’’ Peltz, 36, wrote me via e-mail.

The next time you gals have too much to drink and start craving ink, take a nap. You’ll regret your tattoos when your skin puckers with age like Halloween jack-o’-lanterns at Christmastime. (Guys, too, should take note.)

And don’t get me started on females and dudes who get their tongues, eyebrows, navels, genitals and other body parts pierced.

Gross.

Gwyn’s Paltr-y food-stamp ploy

Six days after vowing to subsist on $29 worth of food a week for two weeks in solidarity with people receiving food stamps, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hollywood’s 42-year-old living advertisement for eating disorders, was spotted this week at two celebrity-choked Los Angeles diners in one night, including an $85-a-plate barbecue bash. But no one actually saw Gwyn take a bite, and her rep said she’d already completed her challenge to play poor.

I wish she’d eat already.

 

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Andrea Peyser is a columnist for the New York Post, writing on the social and political issues important to Americans.

Her commentary has brought her awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and Columnist of the Year from the New York State Associated Press for 2005.

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15 years ago...........

My first book was released, Mother Love, Deadly Love, and now Susan Smith is back in the news attempting to gain a retrial.

Mother Love, Deadly Love

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