One of the most compelling storylines of the 2021 PGA Tour season continues to be the career resurrection of three-time major champion Jordan Spieth, who was stuck in a four-year winless bog coming into the year, with each season being worse than the last.
Spieth missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. From there, he started a streak where he has posted eight top 10s in 11 starts, highlighted by a win at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. He held several other Sunday leads, but in learning to win again, which used to come much easier for him, he was not able to hold.
That win was the 12th of his career, which is still remarkable at the age of 27. His last major victory was at the 2017 Open Championship.
“Yeah, it was just a — to have the consistency I’ve had is very nice,” said Spieth on Tuesday at Muirfield Village, ahead of the 2021 Memorial.
“I mean, I had a month off and was able to come back and play pretty solid golf the last three weeks.”
Despite his hot recent play however, the state of his mental game could be in question this week at Muirfield Village. At last week’s Charles Schwab Classic, held near his hometown of Dallas, Spieth was the overwhelming crowd favorite as he held a one-stroke 54-hole lead.
Unfortunately for his legion of fans, he bogeyed three of his first four holes, and finished with a 3-over 73, which left him runner-up by one to journeyman Jason Kokrak, who had shot a pretty pedestrian round himself. Down by one going into the final hole, Spieth desperately needed to put pressure on Kokrak, but sent his approach into the water, ending his bid for a second victory of the year.
With a psyche that could be considered somewhat fragile, it is fair to wonder whether scar tissue will be an issue at Jack’s Place this week.
Spieth doesn’t think so.
“Over the weekend I got a little bit off and I kind of had to, I guess, carve around with what I could, which is kind of a tough position to be in when you’re leading, but still almost pulled through last week.” said Spieth.
Even with his recent struggles, he has still managed three finishes of T13 or better in his last four starts in this event. His best result was a T3 in the 2015 edition, finishing two strokes out of the playoff between David Lingmerth and Justin Rose.
“This is always one of our favorite stops for a number of reasons,” said Spieth. “One, the clubhouse, the milk shakes, the food, the treatment.
“And then two, and more obvious probably, is the golf course itself. It’s one of the kind of most fun, most difficult but purest tracks that we play all year, even with most every single hole being changed it seems like it’s still that way, which is pretty remarkable in a year’s time.
“And it’s a golf course where you just can’t, you can’t fake anything.
“I mean you’re either on or you’re not and you can see guys shoot 6-under and you see guys shoot 6-over in the same round and there’s just very few golf courses that yield that kind of disparity in scores throughout a season.
“So it’s always kind of a fun one to not only test your game around one of the coolest tracks, but with a couple weeks before the U.S. Open it really brings out kind of the flaws in where you’re at and what you need to kind of work on heading into a major.”
Spieth will be paired with Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay for the opening two rounds at the Memorial.