Leading Off

Jordan Spieth, the world’s best golfer, is still learning how to play

United States’ Jordan Spieth applauds after finishing the final round at the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Monday, July 20, 2015.
United States’ Jordan Spieth applauds after finishing the final round at the British Open Golf Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Monday, July 20, 2015. AP

This, that and the other thing:

▪ It’s not that we expected Jordan Spieth to win just the British Open on the Old Course at St. Andrews. We now expect him to win every major until he tees off in the Champions Tour in 2043.

What we are seeing from Spieth today are baby steps from a 21-year-old phenom. Imagine how much he still must learn about the game – and life and how it all works – and how much better and smarter he’ll be when he’s 25, 30 and 40.

Even though he plays golf the way a 3-year-old thoroughbred runs at full gallop, what we are seeing is a colt just learning how to run.

▪ We’ll find out Tuesday how well TV ratings fared for the final round of the British Open, won by Zach Johnson in a three-man playoff Monday. But you could almost hear a big sigh of disappointment and every TV channel changing to “Let’s Make a Deal” when Spieth missed a birdie putt on No. 18, ending his quest for the claret jug and golf’s first Grand Slam since 1930.

Nothing against Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman, but nobody wanted to watch a playoff minus J-Spieth.

▪ Every athlete faces danger: broken bones, torn ligaments, concussions, etc. But professional surfing proved Sunday it must be the only sport where an athlete can end up as lunch for a great white shark.

Ask three-time world champ Mick Fanning, who fought off a shark attack caught on video off the coast of South Africa.

▪ Rookie right-hander Chris Heston starts Tuesday for the Giants against the Padres at Petco Park.

Where would San Francisco be without its “savior,” as manager Bruce Bochy called Heston just before the All-Star break? In his last seven starts, including his June 9 no-hitter against the Mets, Heston is 4-1 with a 2.12 ERA.

Victor Contreras: (916) 326-5527, vcontreras@sacbee.com, @sacbeevictor

Playbook

WHAT TO WATCH: Baseball, Giants at San Diego, 7:10 p.m., CSNBA: The Giants always feel as if they’re playing a home game at Petco Park because so many of their fans attend.

TWITTER CHATTER: “With Spieth gone this feels like a playoff between vanilla, vanilla bean and French vanilla.” – Dan Wetzel, @DanWetzel

ON THIS DATE: On July 21, 2001, Chris Webber signs the second-biggest contract in NBA history, a seven-year, $122.7 million deal to stay with the Kings. No word if Joe Maloof ever did mow Webber’s lawn.

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