In the third round of the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Jordan Spieth drops his 222-yard tee shot for a hole-in-one at the par-3 2nd hole at Bay Hill.
The ace followed a birdie on the first hole by Spieth, which – at the time – moved the young Texan to 8-under par and near the top of the leaderboard.
It was Spieth fourth career PGA Tour ace, but first since 2015.
Using a 5 iron, Spieth’s ball speed was measured at 139 mph with an apex topping out at 69 feet. The shot was a little left to right cut, and landed in front of the right edge of the green.
After a favorable bounce, and as it was curving towards the hole, NBC’s Jimmy Roberts had the call:
“Let’s see if it stops. Let’s see if it stops… Let’s see if it drops,” said Roberts, getting more excited with each rotation. Just as the ball was about to fall in the hole, Roberts exclaimed, “Are you kidding me!? Are you kidding me?!”
As the tape went back to the tee with a smiling Spieth acting as b-roll, Roberts noted, “This is shades of a couple weeks ago in Phoenix. The big smile, pointing at the crowd. That is just a moment to remember.”
Analyst Steve Sands added, “Jimmy we said yesterday, he’s [Spieth] like a modern day Arnold Palmer [popularity with fans]. You know Mr. Palmer is smiling from above watching that.”
As the replay showed the ball dropping in the hole again, Roberts asked, “Is there anything better to watch than an ace?
“Can you imagine – look at the crowd, just jumping up and down – can you imagine if there was a full complement of people here to watch? What an enormously popular player who has gone through a few really, really tough years.”
“One more look at just the most thrilling things to watch in all of golf,” said Roberts as the replay was shown one final time.
Then as a smiling Spieth walked up the fairway, Roberts concluded perfectly, “There’s that smile we haven’t seen in such a long time. From a man who as we said has been through some difficult, difficult times. But has fought his way back.”
Great shot. Great call.