AMES, Iowa – Jordan Spieth is an easy guy to root for.
He comes off as polite. His posse consists of his family. He can do things with a golf club few pros can.
And he's chasing history. If he can win the Open Championship this week, he'll be three-quarters of the way to winning the Grand Slam.
But there's a better – or at least more personal reason – for those across the state to be pulling for Spieth this week.
If he can win a major a week after claiming the John Deere Classic, it may just convince others to play in the tournament.
The JDC Classic is a great event. It's the golf version of an Arena Football game. It's the spot for action junkies. The final nine on Sunday is pandamonium. Golfers are trading birdies and eagles because pars won't get you anywhere near atop the leaderboard.
Now, imagine it with a group of top-20 golfers.
But the problem is it falls a week before a major. The only worse time for Midwestern tournament to be held is in January.
Most of the top players pass on the JDC. Spieth was the only top-20 player in the field, but Zach Johnson, a former Masters champion, does add star power to his hometown event.
It's rare for other stars to find their way to the JDC. Most tend to head overseas early to get an early look at the Open Champpionship course, like Tiger Woods did this year, or play in the Scottish Open, like Rickie Fowler, who won it this past Sunday.
Jumping on a plane to the Open four days before the first round, flying over the Atlantic Ocean and having only a short time to deal with jet lag isn't how most pros approach the oldest major.
But I keep thinking about the JDC with Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson on the tee box. One with Fowler putting for birdie and Patrick Reed trying to prove he's "a top-five golfer" around like he so confidently said last year.
The only chance of it happening with the JDC in its current spot on the calendar is for a big name to pull off a multi-continent exacta. Win the JDC and then the Open the next week.
If it is to ever happen, now is the time. No one knows how many more years Spieth will play in the JDC. Something substantial must occur for top players to change their mind about how they approach the week before the Open.There isn't anything more substantial in golf right now than a Speith victory.
There are better odds that Johnson wins the Open by sinking a 40-foot putt than for this to work out. I know that.
Golfers are creatures of habit and someone like Phil Mickelson, who enjoys playing the week before a major, is the exception. The best players in the world treat majors the way swimmers taper for the Olympics. They don't push themselves too hard in the days leading up to a big competition. They want to peak when it matters.
The JDC will be good either way. It would just be something to see its Sunday leaderboard be packed with all the top names, not just a few.
This article was written by Bobby La Gesse from Ames Tribune, Iowa and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.