One of the most welcomed developments on the PGA Tour as of late is the sudden hot play of three-time major champion Jordan Spieth. The 27-year-old experienced incredible early career success, with 11 victories in his first five seasons, spending considerable time atop the Official World Golf Ranking.
Unfortunately for the Texas product, zero of those 11 wins have come since his inspiring Sunday effort to outduel Matt Kuchar at the 2017 Open Championship.
In the 2020 season, he was not even contending in events. In 17 starts, he had nothing better than a season-opening T8, and in six of his nine starts after the COVID layoff, he finished outside the top 70 or missed the cut all together.
Spieth has imputed his struggles entirely on the mental game. For years, fans have had no idea what part of his game is going to tank in any given event. He was all over the place.
Some good news though: his slump may finally be coming to an end. In each of his last four starts on Tour, he has finished inside the top 15, including a T3 and a pair of T4s. He has struggled in Sunday contention, squandering at least a share of the 54-hole lead in two of those starts, but for the first time in years, he is looking close again.
Justin Thomas agrees, and thinks it’s only a matter of time before his good friend starts winning again.
“I knew that he would start playing better again, and I know he’s going to win again and contend in majors and probably win majors,” said Thomas, on Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass. “Like he’s too much of a gamer.”
Thomas even noted the return of Spieth’s “swagger.”
“He’s making hole-in-ones, he’s holing out bunker shots, he’s making long putts, and that stuff — he’s got that walk, he’s got that swagger to his step and that confidence, and confidence is such a huge thing that you can’t just turn a switch on and say, ‘I’m confident now.’
“It’s all the work that he’s put in, all the — he’s practiced so much and put — just created those reps to where he’s able to hit the shots that he wants to do and do it enough to where he’s built that confidence back. And now that he has it, he trusts it on the golf course, and it’s just kind of spreading throughout his game.
“I mean, it’s great for the game of golf. It’s great for him. I also think it’s great for me. It’ll probably end up pushing me, as well.”
Spieth will play the opening two rounds of the PLAYERS with Patrick Reed and Jon Rahm, while Thomas will be paired with Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland.