Jordan Spieth would be the first to say that the 2018 wrap-around PGA Tour season was a disappointment. Having won every year on tour since 2015, last season was filled with frustration for Spieth. With only six top-10’s in 23 events, five missed cuts, one in a major, and no wins, Spieth is looking for a way to make the 2018 wrap-around a distant memory.
At first glance, it was Spieth’s putting that let him down. He was missing the short and mid-range putts we’ve grown accustomed to assuming he was going to make. As the season progressed, he became more uncomfortable over the ball on short, mid-range, and must make putts. His strokes gained putting collapsed. He was 39th in 2017 wrap-around and 123rd in 2018. For someone who has relied on putting to crush fields, the weapon was gone.Embed from Getty Images
People are now nipping at the bud that Spieth has the yips. There were times where Spieth’s stroke was shaky, but I’m not convinced it’s the dreaded “yips.” Spieth has always been one to be hard on himself. We’ve heard it during broadcasts. He’s not shy about hammering himself when he hits a bad shot. He’s also not shy about making a bigger deal about a small error. I think that has snowballed his putting.
Spieth needs to get back the confidence in his putting. When he’s on, he’s one of the best putters on the planet. If he misses a short putt, he needs to convince himself that the next one is going in. When he gets down on himself, frequently bad things happen.
Last season, strokes gained on approaches, Spieth was 33rd (1st the prior season). On approaches inside 100 yards he was 55th (15th the year before. 1.5 foot difference). His strokes gained off-the-tee was also down. While nearly all of Spieth’s game wasn’t as sharp as it was the prior season, it was his putting that dropped the most dramatically.
Look for Jordan Spieth to have a rebound year. Golf is a hard game. Very hard. He’s already shown he’s got greatness in him. He has three majors, five top 5’s in the rest of his majors, 14 wins, all of this done in only five seasons on tour. He’ll be back. I hope it’s this season. When he’s on, it’s a joy to watch.