Rookie Denny McCarthy was two-over par after five holes Thursday at the Byron Nelson. He then played his final 13 in 10-under, shot a dazzling 63 and grabbed the first round lead.
Jordan Spieth was five-under par through his first seven holes on his home course. Jordy then went two-over for his final 11 holes at Trinity Forest. He finished with 68 and found himself tied for 36th.
The rookie went up, Spieth on his home course, went the other way.
Granted, morning conditions were calm, the afternoon windy but with Spieth’s start, the knee-jerk reaction would be — is Jordy back?
Welcome to the struggling season of Spieth, who continues to stumble his way up the proverbial Mountain Of Misery that is his 2019 PGA Tour season.
He finished 2018 ranked 17th in the world but didn’t qualify for the fat Tour Championship. As the 2019 season has unfolded, he’s fallen to 39th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
There are three really telling stats: 84th in driving distance, 210th in driving accuracy and 167th in Greens In Regulation. Add a putting stroke that in no way resembles what he had going in 2015 and you’ve got the Jordan Spieth that simply couldn’t do anything with his fast start on Thursday.
We keep hearing the same things from Spieth. He keeps telling everyone he’s close. But close to what?
Check these finishes:
Missed Cut at The Players.
T54 at WGC Mexico and The Heritage.
T51 at The Genesis.
T30 at The Texas Open.
T24 at The Match Play.
T21 at The Masters.
Total Money: $397,607 (including fall cross-over events).
Looks totally like a golfer struggling to find some consistency.
Which brings us back to Trinity Forest and that fast start that faded into the North Texas afternoon.
Spieth gave this observation earlier in the week:
“I know what I need to work on. I’ve been now putting the effort in over there while making sure we’re maintaining the rest of the game.”
Look at the stats and its very easy to know. Drive it in the fairway, hit some greens. And watching him on Thursday, that short game is no ball of fire either.
Not sure what good parts there are to “maintain” for Jordy, he’s shorter, crooked and misses greens. That a great formula for dropping out of the top 30 in the world.
What’s really mind-boggling is that Spieth came up with this gem prior to Thursday’s first round:
“I’ve been a couple tee balls away from really having a chance to win,” he said, “and that’s without feeling like I had my best stuff.”
A chance to win? Let’s face the cold reality — it’s been a long time since Jordan Spieth has been anywhere close to “his best stuff.”
What we’ve seen is an amalgamation of confusion. You wonder why Spieth and McCormick haven’t been able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Spieth is different with that funky grip of his, looks like he’s wearing oven mitts. Then there’s the chicken-wing move with the left elbow and whatever happened to the putting stroke that made more long birdie putts than anyone out there?
Spieth came up with this:
“I don’t know on timeframe, but I feel really good about the progressions being made,” he said. “I know it got off for awhile. … Now it’s just the difficulty in fixing it.”
Well, we’ve got three more rounds to see some.
At least he’s beating Tony Romo.