Is Jordan Back?


Photo Courtesy Jopal22 via Wikimedia Commons

Jordan Spieth holds up the trophy after winning the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Jack Mezey, Online Editor & News Editor

Jordan Spieth’s last PGA Tour victory came at the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale. He hasn’t been the same since. His descent into mediocrity began in 2018, where it was clear that the three-time major winner had lost something. What that something was, however, was unclear. Many thought he had lost a strong mental game, something that even the most casual golfer knows is just as important as a good swing. Others suspected that he had developed a bad habit or two in his golf swing. The mediocrity continued until February 4, 2021. 

After the first round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, Spieth found himself in contention after an opening four-under 67. He shot another 67 on Friday. Still in contention. Saturday, the fireworks started. On moving day, he shot a ten-under 61. His iron play was decent, he put the ball on the greens. However, the shots weren’t as close to the pin as he might have liked. But that didn’t seem to matter once he took his putter out of the bag. It didn’t seem to matter on that Saturday the way it didn’t seem to matter at the 2015 US Open, the 2015 Masters, the 2017 Open, or any of his other tour wins. The length didn’t matter. The speed didn’t matter. The slope didn’t matter. Every putt fell. 

The 61 shot him into the 54-hole co-lead going into Sunday. Sunday was lackluster. He shot a one-over 72 and finished the tournament tied for fourth. Even with the bad final round, a T4 isn’t too shabby for a guy who has consistently struggled to make the cut. The golf world was impressed, and I had the same thought that many other fans had: “Jordan’s back”. But every fan also knew that Spieth would have to do well at the next tournament to prove it wasn’t a fluke. 

And that he did. He had the 54-hole lead again going into Sunday, but once again faded in the final round. He finished T3. Still, a very good effort to prove that he has very much improved and is capable of being in contention week in and week out once again. 

At the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club, Spieth tied for fifteenth place. At one point on Saturday, he was within two shots of the lead and appeared to have a lot of momentum. Then he missed a three-footer for par, and it went downhill from there. He finished two over par on Saturday and even par on Sunday. Not quite the performance of the past two tournaments, but still miles better than missing the cut or finishing dead last. 

So how did the Dallas-native turn things around so quickly and suddenly? Spieth did not make any personnel changes during his three or so years of mediocrity. He stuck with his caddy, Michael Greller, as well as his same swing coach, Cameron McCormick. However, in the October of 2020 Spieth visited legendary swing coach Butch Harmon. Many jumped to the conclusion that Spieth had moved on from McCormick to Harmon. Harmon later denied these rumors on his social media and told various news sources, “All I did was give him my opinion”.

Harmon agreed with what Spieth and McCormick were working on. His only note was that he needed to rotate his body more. Well, it appears that just a few months after the Harmon consultation something finally clicked with Spieth. 

He just missed out on being invited to the World Golf Championships that begin on February 25. Spieth’s next tournament was the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 4-7. He finished with a very strong T5. After that, he had an off week at THE PLAYERS Championship at the famous TPC Sawgrass where he tied for 48th. He followed that with a good performance at the Dell Technologies Match Play World Golf Championships. 

Then, he won the Valero Texas Open. It was a special day for him as it was his first win in 1,351 days. It was also his first win as a husband. Last but not least, it gave him great momentum heading into the famous Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Spieth tied for third and finished just three shots back of the lead. Had he not made a triple-bogey in the first round, a double-bogey in the third round, and started his final round with three bogeys in the first six holes, he would have, without a doubt, won his second green jacket. 

Spieth has taken a couple of tournaments off after the Masters. But he will return to the course on May 13 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in McKinney, TX. This is effectively his home tournament, as it is just a short drive to Dallas. After that, it’s on to the PGA Championship at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s The Ocean Course in South Carolina. This will be a prime opportunity for Spieth to get his career grand slam. He has won the three other major tournaments, but the PGA Championship has evaded him so far. The PGA Championship will be starting May 20 and ending on May 23. Look for Spieth to get his second win this year and to become just the sixth golfer in history to get a grand slam.