LOS ANGELES -- Here is the answer to the first question that will invariably be asked after viewing Jordan Spieth's new "This Is SportsCenter" commercial: It was macaroni and cheese -- not the powdery, stir-in stuff usually served to toddlers, but some legit, gourmet fare. Extra saucy, of course.
And here's the answer to the next question: Yes, he really ate a mouthful of it with every single take.
The advertisement, which began airing this week, shows Spieth and caddie Michael Greller debating in hushed tones about which utensil to use while eating in an ESPN cafeteria.
"I don't know," Spieth asks him. "What do you think?
"Cheese looks a little saucy," Greller replies. "I'd go spoon."
"Alright, spoon," decides Spieth, who then proceeds to dig in.
By the end of the two-hour shoot at ESPN's Los Angeles studio a day before the opening round of the recent Northern Trust Open, with so many takes for subtle alterations like background lighting or camera angles, Spieth had engulfed 51 mouthfuls of mac and cheese.
This is the part where keen observers will try to paint a connection between this number and another big one -- 79 -- that he posted at Riviera the next day, but Spieth insists he's already a seasoned veteran at keeping down his commercial-shoot consumption without needing a spit bucket.
"I did a Coca-Cola commercial and drank about 18 Cokes," he boasted at one point, "so this is nothing."
The lasting memory of the shoot and its final product, though, is less about gluttony than teamwork.
Other golfers -- or any individual sport athlete, really -- might have requested to be the lone star in their own promo. Spieth, who often preaches about his "team," instead chose Greller to be his sidekick, letting him seek that best supporting actor nomination in the role of himself.
The funniest moments are often born of truth, which explains why this spot will elicit plenty of chuckles.
OK, so Spieth and Greller might not discuss their options in player dining as if they're hitting an approach shot from a side-hill lie into a 2-club wind, but their conversation in the commercial mirrors the language they often use on the course.
In fact, during the shoot, each of them offered up suggestions as to not only what they'd say to each other when pondering a shot, but how they'd say it.
There was an internal rhythm and chemistry between them that shines through in the 30-second spot. Some late-script changes might have been the television equivalent of a calm, sunny round interrupted by blustery rain, but the duo navigated the conditions with hardly a misstep.
Not that there wasn't preparation.
During tournament weeks, Greller will often walk the golf course multiple times without Spieth, just to get a feel for the conditions, triple-check his numbers and spy any hidden pratfalls. His preparation for the shoot wasn't as fruitful.
"I tried going over my line last night," he reported before they'd started shooting. "I couldn't do it with a straight face."
Once the cameras started rolling, though, both Greller and Spieth knocked down their lines like a series of uphill 2-foot putts -- even under duress.
The first take took five seconds before the director yelled, "Cut!" The next few didn't last much longer, with minor fixes being applied each time. Finally, after the eighth take, one crew member deemed it "the first successful, good one."
They were hardly done, though.
Somewhere on the cutting room floor exists slightly different versions of the commercial. One of them, aided by a suggestion from the main characters, showed Greller offering Spieth a spoon, only for him to take a bite and hang his head in disgust at the poor decision -- just as he would had the caddie given him a poor club selection on the course.
By the time two hours had passed, the 51st take of the morning was the last, with Spieth and Greller walking away from the shoot looking like they'd just played a grueling U.S. Open round.
When asked afterward about that mac and cheese, though, Spieth still managed a smile. After that many mouthfuls of the saucy stuff, he proclaimed, "It's actually pretty good!"