Jordan’s Not-So-Little Brother, Steven Spieth

It’s mid-February in Providence, Rhode Island. The wind is howling, the thermometer’s at 24 degrees, and there’s six inches of snow on the ground. Steven Spieth has just trudged up a hill to the Brown University gym. After a morning of classes, he’s about to hit the weight room, followed by three hours of basketball practice and a session studying game films. After dinner, he’ll return for another hour of skills work with the coaches.
On the opposite coast, his big brother is basking in sunshine at Pebble Beach, rubbing elbows with Aaron Rodgers and Bill Murray, adding to the more than $50 million he’s banked in the last few months, and living the life of golf’s new golden boy.
Last year, Jordan won two major championships; Steven suffered two stress fractures in his right foot. Currently, Jordan is the number-one golfer in the world; Brown basketball is in the Ivy League cellar.
Most of us would have some mixed feelings about all that—a bit of sibling rivalry along with the brotherly love—but if Steven Spieth feels any envy, not an ounce of it emanates from his 6-foot-6, 200-pound frame. What does come through is maturity—the same groundedness, humility, and comfort in his own skin that the world has come to appreciate in his brother.
“Hey, Jordan’s the same person he’s always been, and there’s zero rivalry between us,” he says, “partly, I think, because we’ve settled into our different sports.” Then he smiles. “Now, when we were kids…”
Athletic competition has always been a big part of Spieth family life. Both parents were collegiate athletes—father Shawn played baseball at Lehigh, mother Chris played basketball at Moravia—and their talent and tenacity flowed straight to their boys.
“When we were in grade school, we had my dad mow one corner of the lawn really low, and we dug a hole in the ground,” says Steven. “Every morning before school, Jordan and I would be out there swatting Wiffle balls around the front yard—either that or shooting hoops in the back.
“He beat me at golf but as I got older and taller, I started drilling him in our one-on-one games. One day—he was in the ninth grade and I was in seventh—he squeaked out a win. ‘That’s it,’ he said, ‘that’s the last time I’m playing you.’ He wanted to go out on top.”
A junior forward at Brown, Steven is averaging 11 points per game. His 87 percent free throw average is second in the Ivies and he also ranks among the top 10 in rebounds and assists. If all goes well, the Spieth family will soon have a second professional athlete.
“I’d love to play pro ball,” he says, “and I think I have a chance but probably overseas rather than the U.S. For now, I just want to get through this season, and then try to win an Ivy title for Brown next year.”
Steven was on hand for both the Masters and U.S. Open last year and will be there for Jordan’s defenses, as well. “Some day, I want to caddie for him at the Par-3 Contest at Augusta, but I think our grandfather is getting that perk this year.”
Meanwhile, Shawn and Chris follow their younger son’s exploits just as loyally as Jordan’s. “They’ve flown up from Dallas for games the last three weekends,” he says. Each time they’ve brought his 15-year-old sister Ellie, who was born with a neurological disorder on the autism spectrum.
Steven Spieth may lack his brother’s fame but he has a few things going for him that Jordan never will—namely five inches in height, an Ivy League education, and, perhaps most satisfyingly, a full head of hair.
“Ohmygod, I love to give Jordan grief about that,” he says. “He’s coping okay for the moment—wearing a hat all the time—but sooner or later there’ll he no choice. He’s gonna have to go full Bill Haas.”

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