Married Spieth hopes to spark bounce-back season at Sony Open in Hawaii
January 09, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Jordan Spieth comments before Sony Open
Jordan Spieth will make his first start of 2019, and first start as a married man, at the Sony Open in Hawaii this week.
The 2015 FedExCup winner and former world No. 1, who is trying to rebound from his worst season as a pro, wed longtime girlfriend Annie Verret last November and admitted Wednesday he expects to see some rust in his game at Waialae Country Club this week.
“This tournament was up in in the air, given I wasn’t in Maui this year,” said Spieth, who finished 31st in the FedExCup last season and missed the TOUR Championship for the first time in his six-year career. “I decided that I really wanted to come down here. I like the golf course a lot, the hospitality is fantastic, and the weather is perfect.
“Really could come down and try out the very little work I was able to put in, but at least knock some rust off and gather some information about where I am at and hopefully make some adjustments going forward into the season.”
Spieth slipped to 123rd in Strokes Gained: Putting in 2018, from 39th the year before and 2nd in 2016. He also struggled with his swing and said he wasted time working on the wrong thing.
The result: His five top-10s in 23 starts were the fewest of his career.
“I was certainly frustrated with last season results-wise compared to previous seasons,” he said. “It was also something I kind of embraced as an inevitable at some point in the career.
“I almost took ignorance as bliss in a lot of parts of my game,” he added, alluding to the torrid start of his career, when he won 11 times, including three majors, all before turning 25. “I did things well, but I didn't know why. I just did them. Then they got off, and so I had to figure out why I did them well and how to train it back.”
Spieth said he’s now working on the right thing, but finding the time to get it grooved has been another matter. The off-season saw him spend less time on his game than on his wedding in Dallas and honeymoon in the Caribbean. As a result, he said, he’s not sure what to expect at the Sony. He was 3rd in 2017 and T18 a year ago, but returns to Waialae after “limited work.”
“I think that was good for me,” he said. “I needed some time away from the game after being off and having to play through it at the end the season, and then in the fall kind of the same thing.”
In a departure from his usual scheduling, Spieth finished T55 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, and missed the cut at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in the fall. He comes into this week at 191st in the FedExCup and 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I’m a little bit behind,” he said, “which I can play catch up, I think, pretty easily.”
One adjustment: What to do about that new wedding ring when gripping the club?
“I'm fine with playing with it,” Spieth said. “It's just my putting; when I'm cross-handed kind of jams into my grip.”
As a result, he said, he probably will take it off when he’s inside the ropes.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “that means I'll probably lose some rings, but I don't think — as of now I don't think I'm going to start playing with it on. Just it was putting that was the reason. Kind of odd.”