Any golfing purist can appreciate Jordan Spieth. What makes him perhaps most relatable to the standard weekend warrior, though, is just how neurotic and rent-free in his own head he gets at times. For somebody who exploded onto the PGA Tour scene as a young phenom, Spieth started to get in the weeds and way too technical at some point. Although he’s rallied back to some degree in recent years, there are demons that still plague the three-time major champion.
Spieth is now 30, and since hoisting the Claret Jug at the 2017 Open Championship, he’s won only twice. That last victory was in a playoff at the RBC Heritage in April 2022. He’s teeing it up this week in The Sentry — a tournament he claimed by eight strokes back in 2016. Sitting only two strokes off Chris Kirk’s 54-hole lead, if Spieth loses by a single shot, he’ll be kept up at night for a few days at least over this botched 3-footer, which one of his playing peers, Kevin Kisner, ripped him for:
“It’s 3 feet Jordan, just knock it in bud.”—Kevin Kisner.
You can hear the hot mic pick up Spieth’s audio once he misses that bunny of a putt. The skill level, consistency and mental fortitude it takes to reach the heights Spieth did on the PGA Tour at such a young age are frankly qualities with which I’m not familiar, nor could ever imagine possessing.
One persistent, strange flaw of Spieth’s has always been his anxiety over very, very short putts. I don’t know how you can literally look at the hole while you’re striking a putt and fully believe it’s going to help you. In a pressure-packed tournament situation. At the highest level of professional golf. GTFOH.
It actually worked for Spieth for a while. That’s what’s crazy. Until, of course, it didn’t. If you look at where his ball ended up once he lipped out, I swear it was about the same distance from the hole as he was in the first place. He had no trouble walking right up to that one and tapping it in. Makes zero sense to me.
I held out hope as he persevered through trials and tribulations for the back half of his 20s that Spieth would come out the other side even better than before. Like, he’d elevate his game to a whole other level. What’s happened instead? A sinking feeling and prevailing notion that he’ll never ascend to such heights in the sport again. Maybe he has one or two majors left in him.
Perhaps he can overcome this adversity in Hawaii, win on Sunday, and springboard himself into a phenomenal 2024. The more I see of things like this, the more chaotic and colorful scorecards that he turns in, the more doubt starts to creep in.
Go get ’em, Jordo! Rooting for you. To give you an idea of just how good this guy is, for all the nitpicking I just did in articulating his “struggles”, he’s still the 15th-ranked golfer on the planet. Ridiculous.
Kisner is drawing rave reviews for his debut in the booth, by the way. Looks like he’ll have a fine media career once he’s finished playing if he wants it.
The debut of @K_Kisner in the booth on Friday did not disappoint 🎙️