Spieth on the upswing after tough year
Shoots second-round 66 at PGA, says he wasted two months working on 'the wrong thing'
August 10, 2018
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- 2015 FedExCup champion Jordan Spieth has had a down year by his standards and he may have found the reason why. (Kris Brant/PGA TOUR)
ST. LOUIS – It’s no secret that Jordan Spieth hasn’t had the best season, at least not by his standards.
The big mystery was why.
The winner of 11 PGA TOUR events, including three majors and the 2015 FedExCup, Spieth came to the PGA with a chance at the career Grand Slam but is winless in 19 starts. He had third-place finishes at the Masters and Houston Open, but had gone from No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2015 to No. 8 today. Observers placed the blame on his putting, but Spieth said after shooting a second-round 66 (3 under total) at the PGA Championship on Friday that he dove into a solution to shore up his full swing, too.
And he was working on the wrong thing. For two months.
“It cleared stuff up temporarily,” Spieth said, “but in fact pushed me further away from what I should have been doing. So, I spent literally two months nailing in the wrong thing, and I'm trying to climb back out of it.”
The problem, he said, was a new fix that he dove into shortly before THE PLAYERS Championship. In part, he said, the solution required him to modify his setup and takeaway, which he did even though it felt unnatural.
Somehow, though, he got worse.
“That's unusual,” Spieth said. “I never had that in my career; normally I work on the right thing too much and have to back off and work again. So, it's tough to trust on the golf course and I had a tough time yesterday and today I had no choice, you have to trust it and started to clear up a bit of it.
“A lot of it is just setup related,” he added after hitting 10 of 14 fairways and 15 greens, with 29 putts. “But where I start tracking the club off line from a setup position that's not correct. So, what is correct feels off, and so I'm just going to have to play, I just have to deal with it. But today was a really, it was a lot of progress.”
Spieth came to the PGA on the heels of an uninspiring T60 at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Akron’s Firestone Country Club. He was 165th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 118th in Driving Accuracy (60 percent). He was better Friday, but far from perfect.
For the second straight day, he lost his tee shot into the water at the par-5 17th hole, but at least salvaged a par compared to his bogey the day before. Spieth figures he has given away at least two shots to the field at that hole alone. What’s more, he added, rain-soaked Bellerive hasn’t suited him. He prefers a firm, fast golf course.
“My putting, both parts of my game not only were better today, they also felt better,” Spieth said. “Sometimes it feels the same and putts go in, but I feel like I've given myself some more space through both, which allows me to not have to flip hands at either putting or the swing.
“I need to work more on it,” he added. “… My expectations are lower than they are when I'm in form, certainly last year at this time, and I'm okay with that. It's just a process and I got to be patient with it getting back.”
Jordan Spieth's near-eagle at PGA Championship