Spieth Avoids Special Olympics Funding Controversy

A major political storyline in the United States this week hit close to home for Jordan Spieth as the Texas Longhorn competes in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in his old college town.

Following the news that the federal government has proposed ending a $17.6 million grant to the Special Olympics as part of budget cuts proposed by Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Spieth’s mother, Christine, took to Twitter to voice her displeasure with the proposal.

In a series of tweets, some of which have since been deleted, Christine Spieth wrote, “This is HORRIBLE!!! Has (DeVos) EVER witnessed a Special Olympics ceremony?? It is a humbling experience that only those who have witnessed will EVER understand!!”

Spieth’s younger sister, Ellie, competes annually in the Special Olympics. 

“(Ellie) LIVES FOR THESE MEDALS!!!!!!,” Christine Spieth wrote. “What our administration is proposing by cutting Special Olympics is a travesty!! Please tweet your photos of your special athletes and let our voices be heard!!”

Given his foundation’s donations to the Special Olympics, his sister’s participation and his mother’s public comments, Spieth was asked about the situation and his opinion on it following his 3 & 2 victory over Kevin Na on Thursday.

“I haven’t been on Twitter in about a year,” Spieth responded when asked about his mother’s tweets. He continued to say that he hasn’t talked to his mother about the proposed cuts, nor has he done enough homework to speak on the issue intelligently.

“I don’t think I’m educated enough on it yet to have a point,” Spieth said.

One big-name pro who did feel compelled to speak on the proposal was Cameron Champ, whose sister, Madison, has also competed in Special Olympics.

“I’ve seen the power of the Special Olympics firsthand,” Champ wrote. “The Special Olympics is one of the purest examples of how sport can bring us all together regardless of our abilities. The joy that it brings to families and communities can’t be beat.”