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Opinion & Analysis

Jordan Spieth’s issues are mental and not technical

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On the face of it, it appears as if Jordan Spieth’s issues this season are entirely down to his trusty putter having turned cold in 2018. That has been the consensus, and up until a few weeks ago, it would have been difficult to argue otherwise. Since then, Spieth has suffered his worst run to date this year, with two missed cuts and a disappointing T42 at last week’s Travelers Championship. However, it’s within these past three weeks that have revealed the most about the state of Spieth’s game and mind at the moment.

Spieth, who ranks 179th for Strokes Gained-Putting this season, has had to deal with constant questioning from the media this year regarding his poor performance on the greens. The Texan’s most devastating club throughout his young career had always been the flat stick, and it has suddenly betrayed him. However, Spieth’s putting has been excellent in the past three weeks. The 24-year-old has gained strokes with the putter in all of his last three events with a deadly combined total of 8.4 strokes gained in this category. Spieth’s upturn in recent weeks with the putter has gone unnoticed, as his long game, which has been hailed all season long, has crumbled in the same period. Spieth sits 13th for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green this season, however, in the past three events he has lost a combined 9.6 strokes to the field.

Meanwhile, another man who has suffered similar volatile changing in fortunes with certain parts of his game this year is none other than Tiger Woods. First, it was his driver holding him back, then his putter, and then at Shinnecock Hills Woods’ irons didn’t fire. Despite the frustration, there is a confidence that borders on certainty among the minds of the golfing world that Woods is going to put all parts of his game together very soon. Despite Jordan Spieth suffering the same frustrations, there is no confidence that he is close to doing the same. The serene calmness that Woods has projected all year is the exact opposite of how Spieth has dealt with the issue. His irritation has been constantly evident.

Jordan Spieth’s frustrations have scrambled a mind that once appeared to be impenetrable on the golf course. Spieth has openly hinted toward this in recent weeks. Last week, he told the media at the Travelers that he had tried to do too much in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills and it cost him dearly. After a miserable Friday in Connecticut, Spieth pinned the problem down to mental mistakes.

“Unfortunately didn’t stick with the game plan, and it cost me two or three strokes today,” Spieth said. “Just stuff I could control before I hit it. That’s the most frustrating part of today.”

His demeanor on the golf course has given truth to these admissions all year. An already very animated and talkative player on the golf course, Spieth has been more fractious than ever with both caddy, Michael Greller, and spectators alike. Nothing portrayed how the game had gotten well and truly under Spieth’s skin than when the camera panned to him by the side of the 18th green on Friday evening at Shinnecock Hills. Spieth stood with his shoulders slumped against the backdrop of the amber evening sun, shaking his head with a look of both bewilderment and anger knowing full well that he had just thrown away the opportunity of playing the weekend of the U.S. Open.

It was at this point of the year in 2017 that Spieth turned his season around, winning the Travelers before The Open Championship. This year, however, Spieth looks further away from saving his season than at any other point this year. He has played seven of the last eight weeks, which shows his envious single-mindedness and determination to turn his year around, and it feels unjust that this determination has gone unrewarded. The adage of trying too hard resonates very much in this case. Spieth ends this exhausting stretch of golf with more questions than answers than when he began it, and Golf Channel’s David Duval also believes that he is mentally suffering. 

“Listening to him talk about his golf right now, and how he’s feeling and what he’s doing on the golf course, he’s talking about mental mistakes,” Duval said. “He’s been trying to force the issue too much. I think he’s played a little bit too much. I think it’s time for a breather, a chance to regroup and get ready for the summer season.”

Spieth is currently not committed to play before he will defend the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in July, although he may opt to play the John Deere Classic, an event that he has played previously in preparation for The Open. The high expectations placed on Spieth by both the public and himself have led to mental exhaustion and frustration, with his patience tested to the extreme, and recharging his batteries looks the prudent play.

It’s worth remembering that Spieth is 24 years old, a three-time major championship winner and an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour. His impatience is unnecessary, as has been some of the intense scrutiny and criticism of Spieth’s game all year. He has become a victim of his success and a well earned mental reset before the years third major could make all the difference for Spieth’s 2018.

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. SaiDaiOh

    Jul 1, 2018 at 3:05 am

    His woes are technical. Jordan’s bad swing just outrun his nerve and athletic talent.

  2. George

    Jun 30, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    Desperate Democrats protest marching for open borders to import illegal dago voters… sooo obvious.

  3. jo

    Jun 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    “He has become a victim of his success”

    murican’s hoped he’d erase Tiger’s records. A lot to live up to, even for a Texan…/s

  4. Tom54

    Jun 29, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    To me it definitely looks like there’s no confidence in his stroke lately. Lots of fidgeting before and during his stroke. Looks like when he was putting lights out he made a nice stroke pretty much knowing it was going in or scare the hole anyway. I’m sure he will get it back just needs to see em start dropping. Maybe he needs to give his Scotty a rest too, who knows after all that’s golf ain’t it?

  5. Man

    Jun 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Didn’t need this article to tell us this. Why state the obvious? We can see and hear it. He’s human.

    • Commoner

      Jul 1, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      They come and they go…more so now than ever. Both talent and money are in huge supply, so changes in the top tier will be more frequent than previous eras.

  6. dlygrisse

    Jun 29, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Didn’t JS get really ill early during the season? I just don’t think he ever rebounded, now is pressing, and golf is REALLY hard when you aren’t organized mentally and physically. Best recipe is some time off, regroup and things will be fine.

  7. The Dude

    Jun 28, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Gianni…do you golf?

    • Gmatt

      Jun 29, 2018 at 8:39 am

      Somehow I think not, it’s so hard to blog and actually play the sport they write about. Maybe he should give it a try someday

  8. Tom

    Jun 28, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Golf is a very difficult and fickle game, even the best players are not immune from riding the ebbs and flows.

    • gif

      Jun 29, 2018 at 12:01 am

      “feel” golfers are inconsistent because their feel turns into “feeeelings” when their feel fails them emotionally. It happens so many times to all pro golfers.

  9. faq

    Jun 28, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Putting is a mental game. Perhaps he should change his putter like Tiger did. Ardmore?

  10. Mike C

    Jun 28, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    I had no idea he putted so well the last 3 events. I’d say that’s a good sign.

  11. Mike C

    Jun 28, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    I had no idea he putted so well the last 3 events. I’d say they’d a good sign.

  12. 2putttom

    Jun 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I like the photo. Looked like me after Wednesday Mens league.

  13. Jamie

    Jun 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    The obsessive need to fix his hair immediately after taking his hat off is the tell of what a nutjob he is. Glad he’s young enough to get this fixed.

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: Aguila Golf Course in Phoenix, Arizona

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member evgolfer, who takes us to Aguila Golf Course in Phoenix, Arizona. The course sits at the base of South Mountain, offering up some stunning scenic mountain views, and in his description of the track evgolfer praises the fair test that the course offers up to players of all levels.

“I love it because the price is always right as a City of Phoenix municipal course. The conditions are usually fairly decent. Also, the course presents a fair challenge to me as a high handicapper and still appeals to low caps. It is easily walkable. Not surrounded by houses, not overly tight or cramped. Designed by Gary Panks. Not overly penal.”

According to Aguila Golf Course’s website, in peak time, an 18 hole round can be booked for $29, with the rate rising to $44 should you wish to add a cart. While, off-peak the price drops to $34, which includes a cart.

@TheHectorRios

@VernonLorenz

@HSTuscon

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Opinion & Analysis

This stat indicates Tiger Woods will win major 15 in 2019

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For Tiger Woods’ fans, it’s been over 10 years waiting for his 15th major victory. Even with PGA Tour win No. 80, plenty are already looking ahead to next year’s major.

Looking into Tiger’s performance at the majors in 2018, and more recently the PGA Championship, there’s exciting news for his fans. Tiger briefly held the lead at this year’s Open Championship, only to finish in a tie for sixth. But, it’s his performance at the PGA Championship, when he stormed home for second place thanks to a final round 64, and the recent statistics behind that tournament, that will get his legion of supporters brimming with confidence.

Going back to 2015, strong performances at the PGA Championship have proven to be a great form line for the following year’s major winners. In fact, if you go back further into the records, it extends for several years prior as well. Let’s take a look at recent PGA Championship results and the players that emerged from those performances that lead to major victory the next year.

The 2017 PGA Championship was one of the strongest forms lines in recent years. Justin Thomas won the tournament by two shots, but Patrick Reed, and Francisco Molinari tied for second. Reed went on to win this year’s Masters and Molinari won the Open Championship to capture their first major championships.

At the 2016 PGA Championship, Jimmy Walker surprised the field with victory, but an emerging talent in Brooks Koepka finished tied for fourth and would go on to secure his 1st major in 2017 by winning the U.S. Open. Interesting, Patrick Reed and Francisco Molinari were also just outside the top-10.

The 2015 PGA Championship was won by Jason Day, but current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson finished tied for seventh. Dustin went on to win his first major, the U.S. Open, the following year at the Oakmont Country Club. Also worth noting: Jordan Spieth finished second to Jason Day and went close to winning the Masters the next year only to finish in second place.

Fast forward to this year’s PGA Championship where Tiger finished second behind Brooks Koepka. Is it a sign that his 10-year major drought could end in 2019? And don’t forget, if Tiger has a great chance in 2019, then surely players that finished around him in that tournament, such as Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland, must have high hopes for 2019 too?

All this is true and only time will tell if the tournament form line stacks up.

Anyway you look at the 2018 PGA Championship results, it’s a great form line for 2019, and Tiger could well be in the mix in the big ones next year. With his body coping well with the rigors of the tough PGA Tour circuit, Tiger Woods’ fans can be feeling good about his chances for the 2019 season.

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here! 

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member JimGantz, who takes us to Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio. Just 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Boulder Creek features over 100 feet of elevation changes, and when you look at the photos of the course, it’s easy to see why this track landed in our hidden gem thread. JimGantz gives us a concise description of the course, praising it for its nice blend of different hole types.

“Conditions are always top notch. Fluffy bunkers, thick-ish rough.  Staff are super friendly. Good mix of long and short holes which is something I like. I’m not a huge fan of playing a course where every par 3 is over 200yds. This track mixes it up.”

According to Boulder Creek Golf Club’s website, 18 holes with a cart from Monday-Thursday will set you back $40, while to play on the weekend costs $50. Seniors can play the course for as little as $25 during the week.

@BoulderCreekOH

@amgolferblog

@troymezz

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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