Jordan Spieth nearly backed down into Lake Michigan after making a stunning escape from the thick edge of a steep bank during the Ryder Cup opener at Whistling Straits.
Playing in the foursomes’ opener, Spieth found himself with a tough approach down a steep slope after his playing partner Justin Thomas missed the 17th green in the American pair’s game against Europeans Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia.
The grass on the shore was also at ankle height and Spieth had no view of the green from his position well below the level of the putting surface.
Remarkably, he managed to make solid contact with a corner and the ball landed well a few yards from the hole.
Spieth didn’t see this, however, as he lost his balance taking the hit and found himself descending the slope towards the big lake, which borders one side of the Wisconsin course.
It looked like the 28-year-old might not be able to stop as he approached the water, but he just managed to stop his momentum in time.
“I don’t think I exaggerated this fall, you know how steep it is!” Spieth said after.
“Once I started moving, I thought to myself, ‘I have to keep moving until I find a flat spot.’
“It’s one of those plans that you practice as a kid for fun and ultimately don’t want to have.
“And the odds are – you could roll a thousand balls on the green and it’s not going to stay where it was!”
An impressed Garcia said: “I applaud. I was hoping he didn’t hurt himself, but he hit an incredible shot.
“I didn’t think there was a chance he could get it on the green.”
Despite Spieth’s best efforts, Thomas missed what was a crucial putt and Rahm and Garcia won the game 3 and 1.