Jordan Spieth made a valiant effort down the stretch on Friday, making birdies on three of his final four holes at Waialae Country Club to finish at 1-under par, one shot shy of the (-2) cut line at the Sony Open.
While he was satisfied with his late-effort – calling it “fun,” Spieth has no interest in becoming a player who has to fight just to make a cut.
“Love the way we fought back there at the end. That was fun,” said Spieth, who owns 11 PGA Tour career wins.
“I felt like I was trying to win a golf tournament just to make the cut, which is not really something I want to get used to, but early in the season when I started the day 17 shots back, it was something where I could actually feel some pressure and make adjustments, too.”
It was the second-straight missed-cut for Spieth and third-consecutive finish where he’s come up empty in the world-ranking points column – a career first.
When the 25-year old Texan missed the Tour Championship, late last summer – following his (by far) worst season as a pro, the narrative went something like, ‘Spieth just needs time off to decompress, reboot, and whatnot.’
He did that. And even got married.
Yet he showed up at two wrap-around events in November – the Shriners and Mayakoba, and proceeded to post a T55 and MC, respectively.
In his last 15 starts – going back to the PLAYERS Championship in May 2018, Spieth has posted just a single top-10 finish (T9 at The Open), and even that left a bad taste, as he’d blown the 54-hole lead, and barely held on to a top-10 spot with a final-round 76.
Still, despite the recent sampling, media and fans alike expected Spieth to show up in Honolulu with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and return to form.
But his performance was not even close to the Spieth of old (2014-17).
He shot a 3-over 73 on day one, followed by a solid – albeit up-and-down, round of 4-under 66 on Friday, and headed home to Texas with more questions than answers about his once unassailable game.
Before departing, Spieth attempted to put some spin on the state of his form, claiming he’s in a “good space.”
“I’ve missed cuts before and gone on and won my next event,” said Spieth, who is expected to fall to No. 19 in the world rankings.
“I’ve finished runner-up my next event. It’s not like an all-tell. I knew coming in that the game was off and needed to kind of start to fine tune. So I’m in a good space given what happened.”
What he said was factually incorrect (Spieth has never won following a missed-cut; although he’s been runner-up several times), but of more importance was the bias of omission, as he left out the fact that he’s never been in such a prolonged slump, nor has he ever gone this long without win.
Spieth, though, hinted his true feelings when he ended his interview by saying, “It’s a learning experience, I’m tired of learning experiences, though.”
He put his head down, and walked to the locker room.
Spieth will tee it up next at the Farmers Insurance Open, but with a loaded field at Torrey Pines, it’s hard to see him being a real factor in his current form. But we shall see.
Update: Spieth finished T35 at the Farmers Insurance Open with rounds of 65, 72, 72, and 72 at Torrey Pines. He earned $16k, and was awarded 2.2 OWGR points, falling to 20th in the world.
Update II: After opening with rounds of 66 and 68, Spieth collapsed on the weekend with 74-75 to post a T45 finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He earned $21k and 1.2 world-ranking points. He slipped three spots to No. 23 in the world.
Update III: At the Genesis Open, Spieth opened with a 64 at Riviera, and remained in the top 5 through three days. But a final-round 81 sent Spieth stumbling all the way down to T51. He earned $17k and just 1.4 points. He dropped two more spots and is now ranked No. 25 in the world.
Update IV: In Mexico, Spieth’s troubles continued as he carded first and third rounds of 75 with second and fourth rounds of 69 to finish T54 on 4-over par. Spieth was fortunate it was a limited-field, no-cut WGC event, otherwise – where he was +2 through 36 holes, he more than likely would have racked up another missed-cut. He slipped one more spot in the world rankings to No. 26.
Update V: Spieth nightmare season(plus) continued with an opening round of 76 at TPC Sawgrass. A solid 3-under 67 on Friday got him to 1-over par total, but it was two shots below the cut line (-1). On the season, Spieth has missed three cuts in just eight starts. His finishes in the money include: T55, T54, T51, T45, and T31.
Update VI: Spieth started out strong at TPC San Antonio, opening with a pair of 68s, but weekend rounds of 73 and 72 dropped him to T30, marking his 15th straight start without a top-10 finish. He will fall to 33rd in the world rankings.
Update VII: An opening round of 75 pretty much ended his chances at redemption. Despite closing with three under-par rounds (68-69-71), the bottomline is that even Spieth’s safe space of Augusta National couldn’t bail him out of this free-fall. A T21 was his best finish of the season, though. He will fall one more spot in the world rankings, to No. 34.
Update VIII: Spieth entered Harbour Town with a glimmer of hope, having produced his best two finishes of the season (T30 and T21), and seemed to be at least trending in the right direction. He oepned with 71 and 66 to get in the mix, but once again, weekend rounds of 74-75 sent him spiraling to a T54 finish and back to the drawing board. He is now ranked No. 35.