Few golfers have cult hero status. Anthony Kim and John Daly are among them. So is Spencer Levin, whose name came up on this week’s GOLF Subpar Podcast with Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz.
Pro Charlie Beljan was this week’s guest, but the subject of Levin came up when they talked about Beljan’s time at the University of New Mexico, where he and Levin were teammates.
Levin, now 38, was a two-time All-American who has earned over $8 million in his professional golf career. He’s had more than 300 PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour starts, and he’s still out there gunning for more. In October, he qualified for the Shriners Children’s Open on Monday, and just this week he played his way into the Farmers Insurance Open.
But what has helped Levin achieve this cult status has been the way he goes about his business: his relationship with the average golfer. He’s not like your typical pro. He used to smoke on the pitch and his emotions run high. He has thrown clubs and some of his outbursts have gone viral.
“He was one of my favorites to be paired with,” Knost said. “Not only because he wanted to lose his s—, but he just knew how to play golf. Wasn’t the prettiest thing, wasn’t the prettiest golf swing, didn’t hit nine miles, but he put a score on a scorecard that was better than many people.”
The podcast had some great anecdotes about Levin that Beljan, Knost and Stoltz are all fond of, so we thought they were worth sharing here.
Here is one from Knost during a college game together.
“We played Texas A&M’s tournament and I was paired with Spencer and Tyler Leon,” Knost said. “First tee, Tyler is over there putting on sunscreen. He says, ‘Spence, do you want something? Spence says, ‘Nah, I’m going to die of lung cancer way before I die of skin cancer.'”
(The group noted that Levin no longer smokes.)
Stoltz also had a story about a college tournament. Stoltz waited for the first hole at an event in Tucson, Arizona, and Levin started in the front group. Levin found the fairway and after his group hit their second shot into the green, Stoltz’s group hit their putt and walked off the tee.
“We’re getting up there. We’re waiting by our balls and it’s taking them a while,” Stoltz said. “Spence apparently puts it in the front bunker, chops it out, goes back behind the green, chops it back to the front, misses, taps in and his bag is still down by the bunker. He’s the first one to finish. Grabs the pin, takes the pin and throws it at his bag and hits his bag, which is unbelievable because it’s hard to do. Knocks his bag down. All f—— chaos is going on. Puts the cane in, takes the visor off—that’s by the way a 36-hole day, and it’s 96 degrees—takes off his visor, curls it, and throws it with the ball into the little ravine that you cross to go to the second tee. And then we say, ‘Look down here! Look down here!’ It’s all Spencer’s —. He came back and shot like he was second at the end of the day. Doubled the first. We’re one hole in and he makes it. You know what I mean? Usually it’s holes like 31, when you’ve had enough, but that was one.”
Now it was Beljan’s turn. He picked up some time where they played in the Mountain West Conference Championship in Bend, Ore. Beljan said he made a long putt on the final hole to put New Mexico in a playoff with BYU. So all five players from both teams, plus the coaches and a few others watching, walked to the first tee to start the playoff.
“And I kid you not, Spencer gets ready to hit that man and he pulls back a little bit and he rolls up his sleeves and turns to the BYU team and says, ‘Boys, I’m going to do this quick thing I’m hungry,’” Beljan recalled. “And the guy goes out and birdies the first hole! … He was just great, man. He was a different cat, but he was good.”
Knost decided to bring up the aforementioned college group with Levin once more.
“He was in a fairway bunker and he hit this beautiful fairway bunker shot that came up like 20 feet from the hole and I was like, ‘Dude, good shot, Spence,'” Knost said. “And he’s spearing his club 60 yards and he’s like, ‘You never f… talk to my ball!’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ And he’s like, “Sorry, dude, I thought I stoned it.”
“He didn’t want to lose; that’s what made him great, man, he didn’t want to lose,” Beljan said. “And he didn’t accept losing well, but he didn’t lose often.”
You can check out the podcast below for even more stories about Levin, but also about Beljan’s life on Tour, his crazy win and much more.