Jordan Spieth on his sloppy Bay Hill finish: 'I kind of want to go break something'
Jordan Spieth’s debut performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ended with a thud – three bogeys and a three-putt par at 16 in his (...)
Jordan Spieth’s debut performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ended with a thud – three bogeys and a three-putt par at 16 in his final four holes to shoot 3-over 75.
“I kind of want to go break something,” said Spieth, who finished tied for fourth at 6-under 282 at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando.
But in nearly the next breath, he was able to look at the bigger picture and a realization that he had recorded just three top-5 finishes in 34 months leading into the Waste Management Phoenix Open last month. Since then, Spieth has recorded three top-5 finishes in his last four starts (with the other being a T-15 at the Genesis Invitational).
“I made a step in the right direction today, regardless of the result,” Spieth said.
Arnold Palmer Invitational: Leaderboard | Photos
At some point, these moral victories will grow old. Spieth still is in the midst of piecing together a dependable golf swing. The errors off the tee, such as the smother-hooked tee shot on No. 3 on Saturday, are still costing him valuable strokes. (Despite fighting driver woes, Spieth has gone 389 holes without a double bogey or worse, his longest streak of his career on Tour.) Spieth ranked 50th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-tee. He lost nearly two strokes to the field off the tee on Saturday and somehow managed to shoot 68. But unless he can continue to be unconscious around and on the greens, his winless drought will continue.
Spieth made 141 feet of putts in the third round. It was a beautiful thing to see. But it also proved to be unsustainable. Nobody can be unconscious with the putter for four rounds and on Sunday he didn’t hole a putt longer than 10 feet. Spieth lost nearly two strokes to the field on the green on Sunday, ranking 64th of the 72 players to make the cut. That’s not how you end a winless streak dating to the 2017 British Open.
“I just wasn’t my day,” Spieth said. “I mean, I hit right lip, left lip, high lip, low lip. I mean it was — greens got super crusty and it was just, I mean the couple that I made I thought I missed and the ones I thought I made I missed. It was weird.”
He missed a 5-foot par putt at the third hole, but bounced back with birdies on both of the par-5s — Nos. 4 and 6 — and momentarily held a share of the lead at 9 under. He made a bogey at 8, but was still hanging around until his tough finish.
“I thought I played better today than I did any of those Sundays,” Spieth said, referring to Phoenix and Pebble Beach, where he held or shared the 54-hole lead. “At the beginning of the day if you told me I was going to be even through 10 and be in, hit driver in the middle of the fairway on 11 and on 12, I would have thought I was going to win the golf tournament.”
Spieth settled for par at both the 11th and 12th and the final dagger in his heart was taking three putts from 58 feet at the par-5 16th hole after having a wedge for his second shot. Spieth explained that the green was nearly impossible to hold.
“I ended up in a really tough spot to have to putt from along a crown,” he said.
Spieth’s final-round 75 beat the field average (75.5) on a day when only three golfers, including champion Bryson DeChambeau, broke par. Likewise, not all 68s are created equal and what Spieth did on Saturday to climb into contention was spectacular at times. He made a hole-in-one at the second hole, dropped a bunker shot at No. 7 for birdie and holed a series of big putts. It was magic, but he still needs to finish rounds and close the deal.
Spieth is getting closer thanks to an improved approach game, and the number of people who believe it’s a matter not of if he wins again, but when he gets back into the winner’s circle is growing. Most importantly, the three-time major champ’s self-confidence is growing by leaps and bounds.
“I put the ball exactly where I wanted to on just about every single shot and putt and it came out to 75 somehow,” concluded Spieth, overlooking the fact that he hit only half the fairways and greens on Sunday. “But that’s not going to happen every time, if I do, if I play the way I did today. It’s going to be really good going forward.”