Full Swing Thoughts is a podcast from The Fried Egg on the Netflix golf docuseries, Full Swing. Andy Johnson, Joseph LaMagna, and Brendan Porath will recap and review each episode, sharing insights on what they learned about the tours and their stars, what they found amusing, what worked, and what flopped. They will attempt to bring their usual enthusiasm, skepticism, and humor as they discuss the unveiling of this highly anticipated new show.
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all other major podcast platforms. Here, we’ll try to give you a quick overview of each episode before you jump into the larger discussion and critique on the podcast.
Episode 1 Synopsis:
The show begins with two of the game’s most familiar “young” stars in Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. The production value and look of the show are immediately apparent — it’s unique from any other kind of behind-the-scenes content we’ve seen, which often comes from the heavy hand of the Tour itself.
The title, “Frenemies,” is meant to call on their longtime friendship from early junior golf days to the present moment as multiple major champions. The enemy part of that is an attempt to hit on how they want to beat each other, but, as Joseph calls out in our first podcast recap episode, that’s rarely how we think of them on a leaderboard or even in a field together at an event.
The episode bounces between scenes of each star solo at home or maybe on a commercial shoot, and then together on a private jet headed to Tulsa for a PGA Championship practice round at Southern Hills. There is an exceptionally staged scene of Spieth calling his good friend to talk about his best-man speech at JT’s wedding, and it goes nowhere.
Spieth is portrayed as the more accomplished player, with JT as a perhaps-jealous friend trying to catchup. Footage from Harbour Town is our first real exposure to event recap and coverage, and it’s used to advance this framing of Spieth racing out ahead of his friend and contemporary. But this is not a context or framing that anyone following the game with moderate interest has used in several years, perhaps all the way back to summer of 2017. Spieth comes across as the more self-assured player and JT as the mentally anguished one working through all manner of swing thoughts. If anything, JT has been the one held in much higher regard in recent years with Spieth trying to hang on, so it was a little odd to see that setup.
The JT portrayal is a fuller one, with little new gleaned about Spieth after fairly empty white-bread scenes at a commercial shoot. Mike Thomas is an unexpected revelation in the episode, articulating the pressure and weight Justin feels and his own struggles as both his father and coach. An anecdote about a practical joke Spieth played on Justin is a bit of a waste, but otherwise, the elder Thomas shines throughout with some powerful testimony. And the culmination at the close of the PGA is a fitting cap to that portrayal.
The subject of friendship within the confines of elite competition is a theme of this show, so the contrast in these quotes, given the characters who gave them, is amusing:
Rickie Fowler: In a way, we’re kind of all out there and in it together. You do get a sense of satisfaction when you see a friend succeed and do well.
Justin Thomas: He’s one of my best friends but I hope I beat him in every single tournament that we play in for the rest of our lives.
The elder Thomas talking about how hard his father was on him and how that’s informed his approach with Justin is especially powerful within an episode where JT is seen in torment alongside his dad on the range at Medalist, Saturday night at the PGA, and then in the tense moments of waiting to see if there’s a playoff at Southern Hills.
For a full account and critique, listen to Full Swing Thoughts on…