Spieth updates from PGA Championship
August 13, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- August 13, 2017
Inside the PGA TOUR
Statistics back up Spieth Grand Slam bid
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jordan Spieth's first crack at the career grand slam came up short at the PGA Championship, and now he'll focus on the FedExCup Playoffs. Check out PGATOUR.COM's day-by-day coverage from Quail Hollow below.
Sunday: A great major year
Michael Greller felt compelled to say something to his boss, Jordan Spieth, as they walked off the 18th green Sunday at Quail Hollow.
“Just want you to know that’s a great year in the majors,” Greller said.
Responded Spieth: “Buddy, we won one of the majors. I understand that’s a great year in the majors.”
It didn’t end with the career grand slam, but it did end with Spieth reaching the precipice thanks to his Open Championship win at Royal Birkdale in July. With his third different major win in his pocket, Spieth never made a serious challenge to complete the career slam this week. His final-round 1-under 70 was his lowest of the week at Quail Hollow, as he ended at 2 over and a tie for 29th.
“He almost thinks I’m disappointed maybe with how this week went,” Spieth said of his caddie's comment. “But we won a major. We had a chance to win at Augusta, too.
“The U.S. Open and here – I didn’t have a chance to win, which is a downer. But overall, when I look back on the year in the major championships, shoot, it was fantastic.
“If I did this every year, I would go down as the greatest ever to play the game. I need to look at it that way – and I am.”
Spieth has won three events this season. Asked if he could have a great season without a major win, he replied yes.
“Look at what Tiger did in 2013,” Spieth said. “He won five events, including a PLAYERS. A PLAYERS Championship is, in our minds, up there. May as well be equal with the majors.”
“Even with that, yes, absolutely. I mean, you can have chances to win and you don’t quite pull it off. If I didn’t have a chance to win a major in a year, then I would be disappointed at the end of the year. Winning them is so difficult to do that you can have a fantastic year without winning a major.”
Spieth said he was pleased with his ball-striking at Quail Hollow, especially off the tee. His problems have been with the putter, but he said he found something during Friday’s rain delay that led to better production on the greens over the weekend.
He hopes to carry that into the FedExCup Playoffs, which he won in 2015. He could join Tiger Woods as the only multiple FedExCup winners.
“I’m going to approach the first two events trying to obviously win but looking to kind of crescendo into East Lake and peak there,” Spieth said. “[I] consider East Lake a major at this point as far as our preparation goes.”
-- Mike McAllister
Jordan Spieth's beautiful flop at PGA Championship
Saturday: Hot streak, tough finish
For the first seven holes Saturday, Jordan Spieth continued the frustrating play that has denied him a shot at history. Three bogeys had him free-falling down the leaderboard.
But then he finally found the form -- specifically, his putting stroke -- that he had been seeking all week at Quail Hollow.
A birdie from 10 feet at the eighth hole, followed by his longest made putt of the week, from 33-1/2 feet from the fringe at the ninth. Then four consecutive pars followed by three consecutive birdies, including a 23-foot putt at the 16th.
His 5-under stretch in those nine holes had him on the verge of climbing inside the top 20 on the leaderboard.
But on the final hole, his tee shot found the bunker and his second shot landed in the water. He ultimately suffered a double bogey, leaving him with an even-par 71 and 3 over going into the final round.
It's his best score of the week but even after his hot stretch, he had few illusions of becoming a contender.
"If I had birdied one of the last two and I'm at even, it's unrealistic," Spieth said. "My goal was to try to work our way into a backdoor Top-10. Kind of stinks because it sets me back there. 18 is just a ridiculously hard hole today."
He'll go into Sunday hoping to build some momentum going into the FedExCup Playoffs. Two months ago, he was out of contention at the U.S. Open but shot a final-round confidence-boosting 69. He said it was a catalyst to his wins at the Travelers Championship and The Open Championship.
"Obviously any week you don't have a chance to win, you've fallen short of where you would like to be," Spieth said. "Disappointing would have been going home after two days. I think I saw some highlights today.
"Like Michael [Greller, his caddie] was saying, we could break the season into quarters. This is the start of the fourth quarter. [Entering the] U.S. Open Sunday, I was out of it, but I gathered a little something off that Sunday round that led to two wins and two tournaments after that including a major.
"Just one round like that can do that. That's what I'm looking to do here."
-- Mike McAllister
Friday: Essentially out of it
Jordan Spieth will start the weekend 11 shots behind co-leaders Kevin Kisner and Hideki Matsuyama. That means he has lots of ground to make up. Does he have a target score in mind for Saturday’s third round at Oak Hill?
“54 would be nice,” he joked.
Consider that Spieth’s way of saying he’ll likely have to wait another year to complete the career Grand Slam. His 2-over 73 on Friday leaves him at 3 over through two rounds and a tie for 46th, with some players yet to complete their second rounds.
The good news for Spieth was that he did finish his round. The horn suspended play for darkness just before his chip shot onto the 18th green. Opting to finish the hole, Spieth chipped onto the green, then two-putted from 11 feet for bogey.
It was that kind of day. Spieth posted just one birdie – he has just four through the first 36 holes – and never built any momentum. Instead, it was mostly just trying to scramble out of trouble.
After a rain delay Friday afternoon softened the course and created prime scoring conditions, Spieth played even par once play resumed. He failed to birdie the drivable par-4 14th or the par-5 15th, missing a birdie putt from just inside 10 feet. He said he bailed out on both tee shots.
He also thought 16 and 18 were playing easier, but he failed to take advantage of those opportunities others did, and consequently, he gave up ground quickly on the leaderboard.
“It was more gettable after the rain delay than it was before, no doubt about it,” Spieth said. “I played even par after the delay and that's not very good in my opinion on those holes that we had left.”
So now his best chance is a Hail Mary on the weekend.
“I kind of accept the fact that I'm essentially out of this tournament pending some form of crazy stuff the next couple of days,” he said. “I'm sure going to give it a try."
-- Mike McAllister
Jordan Spieth sticks his approach close at PGA Championship
Thursday: Putting struggles
Jordan Spieth has displayed a new skill set in 2017, and it’s one that we still have to get accustomed to.
His ballstriking has been the key to his success, while his trusty putter has failed to live up to his standards. That was the case again Thursday as Spieth began his pursuit of the career Grand Slam at Quail Hollow.
This is a course that requires players to drive the ball well, and Spieth leaned heavily on the longest club in his bag. It was the shortest one that frustrated him, though.
“It was just the putter,” Spieth said after a first-round 72 that left him five shots behind leader Thorbjorn Olesen. Spieth had 32 putts Thursday, and didn’t make a putt longer than 5 feet.
-- Sean Martin
Jordan Spieth on ability for big moments before the PGA Championship
Preview: No added pressure
Jordan Spieth enters the season’s final major with a rare opportunity to wipe out one of Tiger’s records. Having just turned 24 in late July, Spieth is about six months younger than Woods was at St. Andrews. Should Spieth win at Quail Hollow, he would eclipse Tiger as the youngest player to complete the career slam.
Theoretically, Spieth will have many opportunities – two decades? three decades? – to finish the career slam. But he’ll have only one shot to do it faster than Woods did.
“He can accomplish something that has to rank up there with the greatest records in the history of this 500-year-old sport,” CBS golf anchor Jim Nantz said. “It’s a huge story. … Golf could be on the precipice of one of the greatest achievements.”
Thanks to his win at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale – along with his Masters and U.S. Open wins in his magical 2015 season -- Spieth has put himself in this position. He knows the spotlight will be heavily focused on him at Quail Hollow. He calls it “noise.”
Whether he’s feeling any additional pressure, however, remains to be seen. His preparation will not deviate just because it’s his first slam opportunity. His goal of winning majors – “The four events that we try to peak and think most about at the beginning of every year,” he said – has not changed.
-- Mike McAllister