At the end of one of the most publicised droughts in golf's recent history, is it about time we accepted that Jordan Spieth is back? Barry Plummer looks at the evidence
Let me take you back. The year is 2015 and World No 1 Jordan Spieth is dominating golf at the tender age of 22. In a calendar year where Spieth claimed the Masters, the US Open and the Tour Championship – as well as two regular PGA Tour events – the young American appeared to be a on a one-way trajectory towards greatness.
Then, following a phenomenal display at Royal Birkdale to win the Open Championship in 2017, the fairytale ended. The three years that followed would see Spieth plummet to his lowest position in the world golf rankings since 2012, and ensue one of the most publicised droughts in modern golf history.
A recent resurgence in form has given fans a glimmer of hope that Spieth is on his way back, with a vintage display at Augusta to finish third the most recent piece to add to this particular puzzle. The statistics certainly suggest a rapid up-turn in form, but the question still remains…
Is Jordan Spieth back?
When looking at his most recent starts, there is no question that we are seeing some top quality golf from Jordan – with five top 5 finishes in his last eight starts. When you compare that figure to his previous form, in the midst of the near four year slump, it took Spieth 73 starts to record just four top-five finishes.
Similar can be said for his win figures, as he recorded his first win since that famous victory at Royal Birkdale when securing the Valero Texas Open earlier this month. That period spanned 1,351 days, or 83 starts, which was at the time unthinkable for one of the best players in the world.
The reasons for his winless run are also evident in his performance data, with his strokes gained total figures nosediving after the 2017 Open Championship win. In that year, he ranked 2nd on tour for SG: Total. When you compare that to 32nd in 2018, 59th in 2019, and 99th in 2020, the decline is clear to see. On the 2021 season so far, Spieth ranks 28th for SG: Total, which indicates a sharp improvement in performance.
When you break that down further, the progress is even more impressive. In the last six months, Spieth ranks 12th for SG: Total out of the top 150 players in the world – and in the last three months ranks 1st in the same category.
A 71-place climb in performance data (SG: Total), a 53-place rise in the OWGR from the end of last season, and a recent win on the PGA Tour are enough evidence for me to suggest that Spieth is on his way back to greatness. Watch out Kiawah Island, Spieth is coming for the Grand Slam.