May 07, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Spieth finished second at the Masters last month. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Jordan Spieth is making his PLAYERS Championship debut this week, but it isn't his first trip to TPC Sawgrass.
As an amateur, Spieth played in the Junior PLAYERS in 2010. He tied for second after Michael Johnson rolled in a 20-foot putt for bogey on the last hole to win by one.
"It was a really, really cool experience playing the Sunday pins, obviously not necessarily the same difficulty that we'll have, but pretty close," Spieth said Wednesday. "I'm excited to see the difference. I'm a different player now."
He became the first teenager to win on the PGA TOUR in more than 80 years when he beat Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a sudden-death playoff at last year's John Deere Classic.
Five weeks later, he nearly added a second victory before losing in a playoff to Patrick Reed at the Wyndham Championship.
Spieth also earned spots in last year's Open Championship and PGA Championship before shooting a final-round 62 at TPC Boston to cement himself as a captain's pick by Fred Couples for the U.S. Presidents Cup team.
Then there was this year's Masters.
The 20-year-old had a two-stroke lead midway through the final round before finishing in a tie for second. He has also already climbed to No. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Spieth's past experience here should be helpful, too, even if not much else remains the same from his last visit to TPC Sawgrass.
"Ultimately having seen the layout of these holes, I know in the practice rounds where to practice chipping from, which sides to miss it to certain pins," he said. "Certainly when you're hitting your second shots I think you'll see a lot of bailouts on not wanting to be in certain places because they're so difficult to get up‑and‑down from if you're too aggressive. That's kind of my thing is sometimes I'm too dangerous in the shots that I play, but if I draw back and approach it like it is a major, like I approached Augusta, then I should be able to play the safe shots and stay away from that trouble."