Is it time to start worrying about Spieth?
Jordan Spieth hasn’t won since he lifted the Claret Jug in 2017, and he is yet to finish in the top 30 in a strokeplay event this season on the PGA Tour. Now he’s opened the Masters – a tournament in which his record reads 2-1-2-11-3 – with a 3-0ver 75, so we asked two of our writers: Is he finished?
Yes – Jordan Spieth is on a downward spiral
Once Jordan Spieth got back to his happy place, normal service would be resumed. That was the theory anyway, writes Dan Murphy.
Without a single top-5 finish anywhere in the world since last year’s Masters, when he finished 3rd to climb up to No. 3 in the world rankings, Spieth recently dropped outside the top 30.
His sole top 10 since then was a tie for 9th at Carnoustie, and even then he began Sunday in the last group, only to unravel and card a closing 76.
But it would be different at the Masters, where his career record to date is unfathomable.
A year ago, it would have been unthinkable that odds in excess of 20/1 could be obtained on the three-time major champion winning this week. It’s now looking like the bookies were being miserly.
During the first round, Butch Harmon said Spieth looked “robotic” as he zig-zagged his way round the front nine in a woeful 40. There were errant tee shots, imprecise iron play, chips rolling back to his feet and, perhaps most disturbingly of all, a horribly short missed putt at the very first hole.
Head down and hollow-cheeked, it almost began to look like he wished he were elsewhere.
Some happy place, to judge by his body language.
At his best, it is – or should that be was? – Spieth’s putting that sets him apart from his peers. The statistics don’t tell the whole story here. It’s a knack of holing the putts that matter the most and Spieth had it.
But nobody in the game’s history has putted that well for anything other than a hot streak of a few months.
Right now, Spieth is at the other extreme, seemingly capable of missing from even a couple of feet.
Rather than contemplating a second Green Jacket, success for Spieth this week looks more like sticking around for the weekend.
No – Jordan Spieth is just fine
Look, I may be biased because we’re best friends and all, writes Alex Perry, but can we all stop worrying about Jordan Spieth?
Spieth hasn’t lifted a trophy since back-to-back Ws at the Travelers Championship and Open Championship in 2017, but his record since then is hardly one to be concerned about.
And since I looked them up, here are his results between that Birkdale triumph and the end of 2018: T28, 2, 2, T7, T7, T3, 9, T18, MC, T20, T9, T14, MC, T17, T3, 3, MC, T41, T21, T32, MC, MC, T42, T9, T60, T12, T25, T12, and T55.
Twenty-nine events. Two runner-ups, three bronze medals, six other top 10s, six top 20s. Just three missed cuts.
Is that the record of a player some are saying is finished?
Sure, it’s been a tough start to 2019 – a T24 at the WGC-Match Play and T30 in strokeplay events – but a reminder, should you need it, that Rory McIlroy was winless in 2013 and everyone said he was finished. And you all know what he did next.
He’s having a tiny blip in his career. Lord knows we’ve all had them.
The experts say Spieth’s problem is on the greens. As Golf magazine’s Luke Kerr-Dineen pointed out in his excellent dissection of Spieth’s putting, just once since 2013 has Spieth ranked inside the top 50 from inside 10 feet. That’s largely testimony to just how good he is from outside that range.
Almost every other stat you can find reads in his favour. Once it all clicks back into place he’ll be after Jack’s record in no time.