Tough to imagine someone needs to mount a career comeback at age 25 but that exactly where Jordan Spieth finds himself.
Outside of a final day run at The Masters and The Open Championship, it was a lost season for Spieth, who, after 11 wins and three majors by the age of 24, inserted himself into the equation as golf’s hottest young star.
Seemed like Jordan Spieth ruled the world’s putting greens — made everything he looked at — it was pretty magical.
Then came last season. His putter went from “magic wand” status to “broken down” condition faster than you can say “Go Get That!”
Difficult to fathom that he fell all the way to 136th in Strokes Gained Putting last season, which basically meant Jordy wasn’t gaining any strokes with his putter — he was losing them. He was missing from five feet, six feet, four feet, three feet and, heaven forbid, even missed some inside two feet.
Spieth obviously didn’t have any easy answers for the breakdown, the slump, if you will. He cited everything from mechanics to mental and the second — mental — is huge when it comes to the flat stick. Once it abandons you, it’s tough to get it back.
So now we find Jordy in Las Vegas this week doing something he typically hasn’t done over the past three years — play in one of these fall season cross-over events.
Easy to explain. Jordy didn’t appear in enough events last year and thus left himself at the mercy of the Sherriff Of Nottingham — aka PGA Tour Commish Jay Monahan and his nasty band of henchmen.
They’ll never tell but most likely Jordy avoided any fines or nasty stuff like that by gracing the TPC Summerlin with his presence this week.
And if you take a look at what went on out there on Thursday, maybe this fall gig stuff just might set things back in the right direction for young Mr. Spieth.
Jordy was good enough on the green in the first round at the Shriners to put seven birdies on his scorecard. Good news is that he only had two bogeys. Last season he might have had five or six and Spieth admitted last year that the putter was a constant struggle.
Even better news is that Spieth went 14-for-14 from inside 10 feet. You read that right. The guy who was hit-and-miss last year was perfect, at least during the first round when some wind came up and made things a bit tricky at times.
He didn’t have to hang his head after this one.
“It’s getting close to where I feel like I can just kind of point, aim, shoot, which is where I want to be,” Spieth said after holing a 26-foot birdie putt to finish out a round of 66.
“Certainly nice to see some putts go in and see it pay off with a bit of results. I have belief in what I’m doing. Just continue to do it; stay the course. That’s where rounds go to 5 under instead of 2 under. I was certainly able to save a couple coming in.
“I’ve been hitting some pretty good putts for the last six or seven tournaments. I saw some good in at the Ryder Cup under the biggest pressure, so today kind of felt, at least heart rate-wise, like a little bit of a breeze,” Spieth said at the end of his round that left him just three off the lead of Peter Uihlein.
Jordy has always been known as a clutch putter. He ranked second in Strokes Gained Putting in 2016 and inside the top 40 from 2014 through 2017.
“Something like today will work into being the norm for me going forward. I know why and how not to have it get so off again,” he said.
And that’s a good thing if you’re looking for a big-time comeback.
“If I shoot three more rounds like today,” Spieth predicted late Thursday, “it’s probably good enough.”
Good enough for a win?
See you on Sunday, Jordy.