ROME — Sophie Spieth is a Ryder Cup baby. Not because of intent but because of timing.
Jordan Spieth and his wife Annie welcomed the baby girl, their second child, on Sept. 12, enabling the three-time major champion to compete for the U.S. in his fifth Ryder Cup this week at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.
It was all part of a plan, though one, apparently, that had little to do with Spieth’s appearance in the 44th Ryder Cup.
U.S. captain Zach Johnson, who made Spieth one of his six wildcard picks for the 12-man team, said he wasn’t concerned about Spieth’s participation, “given pieces of information Spieths have let me in on, I think my confidence was pretty high.”
Spieth, 30, didn’t elaborate much further during his press conference on Tuesday. Asked if there was ever any doubt he would be here, the Texan replied, “Not unless things didn't go well but not as far as timing.
“I guess we were safe, but I don't really want to get personal. I was not prioritizing my child's birth to happen at a certain time because of the Ryder Cup, but we knew it was going to happen because of certain reasons.”
With Sophie’s arrival imminent, Spieth was one of three Americans who did not venture to Italy for a two-day scouting trip Sept. 9-10. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele also opted out.
“It’s not ideal to stay home when you’re preparing for a massive tournament, but I needed to be home,” Spieth said. “Thankfully, they’re all doing great.”
After staying in Dallas, Spieth’s preparation leading into this week included reviewing copious notes supplied by his regular wingman, Justin Thomas. On Monday, his first look at Marco Simone, he said he “flew around the front nine in a cart in an hour and five minutes” with his caddie Michael Greller, and then the U.S. team played the back nine on Tuesday. Spieth was grouped with Thomas, Cantlay and Schauffele in what almost certainly will constitute half of the starting lineup for the Americans in Friday morning’s opening foursomes session.
Participating in his ninth team event since his debut in the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, Spieth is making his third start in Europe for the U.S., having competed in 2014 at Gleneagles, in Scotland, and 2018 at Le Golf National in Paris. Only Rickie Fowler, who is playing in his fourth Ryder Cup overseas, has more road experience (2010, '14 and '18).
Spieth’s career record in the Ryder Cup is 8-7-3, which includes a 5-3-1 record in hostile territory, which, by the way, is a challenge he appears to savor.