With his Masters victory three years ago, Jordan Spieth, like Phil Mickelson, has a spot at Augusta for life, but unlike Mickelson, Spieth’s recent play has been mostly underwhelming, and his form does not look Masters ready.
However, the world No. 4 is the highest ranked player in the Houston Open field, and has plenty of reason to be confident.
“Not the start that I’ve wanted so far, but I would like to think that the season kind of starts next week. You put a lot of emphasis on peaking for four weeks a year and that first one comes at the Masters,” said Spieth on Wednesday at the Golf Club of Houston in advance of this week’s Houston Open.
“Trying to obviously have a fantastic event here, which is the best way to gear up for that.”
In his eight starts this season, the 24-year-old three-time major champion Spieth has just two top-10 finishes: a pair of T9s, far below the standard he has set in past years. His tee-to-green game has still been solid, but he has been plagued in 2018 with the putting yips, and shockingly ranks 172nd on Tour in strokes gained: putting.
Despite the struggles, Spieth is confident things will work themselves out, even boasting that the ability to putt is part of his DNA.
“I don’t think that really solid putting was a fluke for me. I think it’s to my DNA going back to when I was a junior golfer and that’s the belief I’ll continue to hold, and instead right now, yeah, it’s technical that’s gotten away from that ability,” said Spieth.
“But once that clears up, then it should get right back to where it was.”
For perspective, Spieth finished second in that category just two years ago. He looked like he was close to coming back around with a pair of top-15s, but an opening-round 76 led to a missed cut at the Valspar Championship. Last week at the Dell Match Play Championship, Spieth failed to make it to the weekend, losing to Patrick Reed in the finale of group play.
Spieth shockingly missed the cut at last year’s Houston Open, largely due to a second-round 77, but he has played this tournament well in the past, finishing T13 in 2016 and taking runner-up honors three years ago.
“I’ve had a mixed bag here at this event. I come in trying to regain some form and some momentum. Certainly this golf course forces you to hit pretty aggressive shots and fearless shots with the amount of trouble that’s around the place,” said Spieth. “That’s great, it’s a great test.”
Regardless of what Spieth does this week, he will be among the favorites at Augusta, but he’d feel a lot better about his chances for a second green jacket if he were able to fix his putting woes this week in Houston.
Spieth has six top-20 finishes in eight starts.
9 – Sentry Tournament of Champions
18 – Sony Open in Hawaii
MC – Waste Management Phoenix Open
20 – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
9 – Genesis Open
14 – Mexico Championship
MC – Valspar Championship
17 – Dell Technologies Match Play