One of the most intriguing players going into this 2019 season is Jordan Spieth.
He struggled in 2018, went winless and had the ghosts of the amazing 2015 season, along with those expectations, constantly haunting him.
In past years, Spieth’s seasons started on the island of Maui, in the company of the exclusive “winner’s club” on the PGA Tour.
Today’s he’s in the pack of a regular season event, full-field tournament — The Sony Open.
Spieth was upbeat prior to Thursday’s first round.
“I know how to get where I want to go with my golf game and have fun doing it. I think it’s taken a bit of maturing to do that. Like I kind of get credited with being mature from when I got out here, but in reality there was quite a bit of maturing to do as far as what you pay attention to, how other people’s opinion affects you and that kind of stuff,” he pointed out.
“I think I do a better job of that now. I don’t really know what anyone has said other than something is wrong. I know my results aren’t the same and I know I’m not playing as well. Clearly I already know that. It’s golf. Really is. I’m fine. Someday I’ll explain what got off and it’ll be a little bit easier to understand. It’s pretty difficult — it’s difficult, but I’m embracing the challenge to get things back where they need to be. It’s just difficult where I kind of nailed — I practice hard, but I practiced hard the wrong way.”
Seriously? And swing coach Cameron McCormick didn’t see that?
Spieth had more:
“Shoot, now I got to reverse that. But it’s progressing the right direction and that’s all I care about. I’m focused on myself. Like truly I really am. I don’t necessarily expect results right away; I don’t expect not to have results right away. There could be one day where it clicks together and all of a sudden I lead the field in strokes gained and tee to green like that. I believe that can happen. I’m just waiting for the moment.”
That moment did not come on Thursday at Waialae Country Club. Once again, Spieth struggled. There wasn’t much wind to speak of, the course wasn’t set up too tough yet at the end of the day his scorecard was in the “ugly” category with more bogeys than birdies. His only birdie of the day came when he planted a tee shot three feet at the par three seventh. Other than that, it was a day-long struggle. On two other par threes (11 and 17), he hit his tee shots so far right that he couldn’t save pars. Add bogeys at five and eight on the front and you’ve got yourself a three-over par 73, you’re tied for 127th and you better shoot three or four-under on Friday if you want to make the cut.
Late last year well-known instructor Hank Haney had a startling observation of Spieth:
‘When I watch him putt, he visibly has the yips. You watch his hands on short putts and there is a tremor in there. I don’t care if the putt goes in or doesn’t. He was center cut on his first putt at the Ryder Cup. But his hands were shaking. He had to miss more short putts than anybody on Tour.”
After his lackluster 73, Spieth had some lackluster comments:
“Putting’s coming around more than the swing is. It’ll get there.”
For the record, Spieth had 30 putts on Thursday.