Spieth targets scoring iron improvement in 2017
December 19, 2016
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Jordan Spieth has seven PGA TOUR wins combined in his last two seasons. (Matt Melcalfe/Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth, the 2015 FedExCup champion, has targeted improvement on his scoring irons in 2017 as he looks to make a run back towards the top of the golf world.
After a stellar 2015 where he won five times on the PGA TOUR - including at the Masters and U.S. Open to reach No. 1 in the world ranking – Spieth managed just two TOUR wins in 2016.
While he added a second Australian Open crown and was part of the successful Ryder Cup team, the Texan lost his spot as the world’s premier player and will finish out the calendar year in fifth spot behind Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson.
McIlroy also took his season long FedExCup crown.
But ahead of his title defense at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Kapalua in the opening week of January, Spieth revealed he and coach Cameron McCormick have pinpointed his scoring irons from 125-175 yards specifically as they look for improvement.
And for good reason.
Spieth dropped from 11th on TOUR in strokes gained: approach the green in 2014-15 to 87th in 2015-16.
He ranked a distant 145th in greens in regulation at just 63.52 percent, dropping from 49th and 67.89 percent the season prior.
From 125-150 yards in 2016 Spieth was ranked 87th in GIR at 71.19 percent, with his average distance to the pin from the fairway at 21 feet, 11 inches the 47th best on TOUR.
From the rough he averaged 33 feet, 6 inches to be ranked 52nd.
From 150-175 yards in 2016 he found just 61.06 percent of greens to be 145th and his proximity of 27 feet, 8 inches from the fairway ranked 101st.
From the rough he averaged 43 feet to be ranked 126th.
“From that yardage, when I dissected the stats with Cameron, we looked at that yardage as big room for improvement for this season,” Spieth confirmed.
“That was one area of the game that took a little bit of a hit this past season. I just wasn't as good with my wedge, 9-, 8-, 7-iron, and especially on kind of shorter par 3s. I didn't play the short par 3s extremely well, because I think I was just trying to do a little bit too much, given they were more scoring par 3s.”
For the record Spieth’s scoring average on the par 3’s in 2016 was just a touch over par at 3.06 ranking him 78th on TOUR. In 2015 he was 13th at 2.99.
Spieth’s focus on the full swing from the 125-175 yard range has encompassed working on patience through the backswing and a couple of moves he started on during the impressive 2015 season.
It helped him to a win in Australia and a solid hit out at the Hero World Challenge.
“For two years straight, I’ve been trying to go kind of go against the way I originally learned how to swing the golf club and to load more into my back leg and get more of a full shoulder turn, and commit to that,” he said.
“I can do it on the range just fine. Committing to that in tournament play consistently (is harder), it's the same things I was working on in Hawaii last year. It's the same things I was working on in some of my worst weeks. It's just a matter of how tight the dispersion is, how much work I put into it.
“So I’m trying to just get more and more consistent with it and almost create that as a new normal. A lot of it's just loading into my back leg more and not being as quick in transition. Just letting it set and then from there, I can play each ball flight.”