What’s Up With Jordan Spieth?

Published on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018 in News | Slider

It’s been a calendar year since Home Teamer Jordan Spieth — whose caddy, Michael Greller, lives in University Place, where he used to teach middle school — thrilled us all with that back-nine surge (including one of the most epic 3-irons you’ll ever see) at Royal Birkdale, playing holes 14-17 five-under par en route to a three-shot win over Matt Kuchar.

It’s also been a calendar year since Jordan Spieth last won an event.

If you’re a regular follower of the PGA TOUR, or Golf Channel viewer, than this isn’t news to you. If you’re one of the millions, though, who only really tune in during the biggest events of the year, then you’re no doubt surprised. Prior to the 2017-18 season, Spieth hadn’t gone without a win since 2014, racking up 10 wins over the past three seasons, including three major championships. This year, though, he’s been downright mortal — just four top-10s and two top-5s in 17 events. Since back-to-back third-place finishes in April (including The Masters), Spieth hasn’t finished higher than 21st in any of seven events, and has missed the cut three times, equaling his total number of missed cuts from the previous 11 months combined.

So, the question, of course, is … why?

IT’S HIS PUTTING
The most obvious culprit is the flatstick. One of the Tour’s best putters throughout the first few years of his career, Spieth has struggled to get the ball the final few feet to the hole this season. And it’s not like he’s just off a little from his own torrid pace … Spieth has gone from being one of the best putters on Tour, to one of the worst, seemingly overnight. After ranking third in three-putt avoidance in 2017, Spieth is 134th this year. And, there is no consistent miss — he is 200th in putts from 15-25 feet, and 202nd in putts inside three feet. There are 205 players on Tour.

What’s the reason? That’s the hardest part … there’s no obvious thing to blame. He’s used the same Scotty Cameron Circle T 009 putter for the last 10 years, and his stroke, at least to the layman’s eye (and pros who have addressed the issue on the Golf Channel) looks the same. The putts just aren’t falling.

IT’S HIS IRONS
Add it all up, and Spieth is giving away nearly three shots per 72 holes to an average putter. But, that’s just three shots — that doesn’t account for Spieth’s fall from consistent top-10s, to flights home on Friday night. That’s because he has also struggled just to get to the greens in 2018, dropping from No. 1 on Tour in strokes gained approach in 2017, to No. 23 this year. It’s not as dramatic a fall as his putting, of course, but it’s noticeable nonetheless, and accounts for nearly another stroke per tournament.

IT’S … SOMETHING ELSE?
Outside of his game, it’s hard to pinpoint anything else that could be a distraction. Spieth has theorized that maybe he’s been playing too much. While many of the top pros play a somewhat limited schedule — majors, major tune-ups, World Golf Championship events, etc. — Spieth has never played fewer than 21 events in a season, and indeed has played 17 tournaments already in 2018. Spieth took three weeks off prior to this week’s Open to clear his head, traveling with his family to Seattle, in fact, to watch his sister, Ellie, compete in the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month. While here, he and Greller met up for a round at Chambers Bay, walking the course where, three years ago, Spieth reached the height of his young career.

“We kind of walked down the 18th hole, and it was cool reliving those memories,” he said.

Will it help Spieth get the mojo back, particularly on the greens? We certainly hope so. Log onto our Facebook page and let us know who you think will win this year’s Open Championship, and what their final score (to par) will be. We’ll give the winner some cool CG Swag! Need some help? Check out our picks below, but beware — if you win with our picks, you’ll have to take us with you.

CASCADE GOLFER OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PICKS!

Dick Stephens, Publisher: FRANCESCO MOLINARI
If FedEx points were just this month, he’s the world No. 1. He’s playing out of his mind and putts like Crenshaw. Proof? Here’s his combined July score card: 67-65-65-62-65-66-70-64. Dude – who does that?! I’ve played Carnoustie and respect the moniker “The Most Challenging Course in the World” notation that is emblazoned on signs, scorebooks and around the town. It’s hugely difficult. BUT, the wind is looking to be a non-factor with gusts of just 10-15 mph. So, putters like Koepka, Molinari and “ropers” will rule this one. Scotch broom and fescue will SWALLOW YOU here. Molinari’s ranked fourth off the tee and second tee-to-green. Plus, the Open is a place where one-and-done major winners shine: Paul Lawrie, Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton, Darren Clarke. He’s my boy this year. (Dark Horse? PETER UIHLEIN)

Kirk Tourtillotte, Vice President: TOMMY FLEETWOOD
I am going with Tommy Fleetwood. Just missed winning at the US Open with a great closing round and owns the low round Competitive score at Carnoustie.

Brian Beaky, Editor: ZACH JOHNSON
Every fiber in my being wanted to pick SERGIO GARCIA — not only has he finished in the top-21 of 12 of the last 17 Opens, he was second on this very course in 2007, blowing a three-shot lead in the final round. But man, that recent form … five missed cuts in his last six events, the lone exception a 70th at the Players. Yikes. So, I’ll go with a guy who has a similar Open pedigree — only, unlike Garcia, he’s actually won one. Johnson has finished in the top-16 at the Open six of the last seven years, was 20th at Carnoustie in 2007, and is playing solid golf in 2018. He’s about as consistent as you can get, which is what it takes at Carnoustie. (And if Dick gets a dark horse, I’ll take one, too: HUNTER MAHAN)

Simon Dubiel, Golf Sales Manager: PATRICK REED
He has proven to be able to play in big moments with his win at Augusta this year and past Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup performances. His game is in good form and he has the mental toughness to be able to shake off a few bad breaks, which are plenty at Carnoustie.

Tony Dellino, CG Events: JUSTIN ROSE
His game is in good shape and he’s ready to get back on top. He’s got the mental toughness and looks ready to tackle Carnoustie.

Ian Civey, CG Sales: JUSTIN THOMAS
He recently spent some time ranked No.1 in the world, so I’m sure he’s hungry to regain that crown. urrently still tied for the PGA TOUR lead heading into a favorable course, so he’s got the mojo!




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