DUBLIN, Ohio – Jordan Spieth flew to Ohio for the Memorial Tournament with eight top-10s in his most recent 11 starts, which included a victory in the Valero Texas Open, his first win since 2017.
Upon arrival in the Buckeye State on Tuesday, he hit the reset button.
Last week’s runner-up finish in the Charles Schwab Challenge, where Spieth couldn’t get his one-shot advantage through 54 holes to the end and lost by two to Jason Kokrak after a final-round 73, has him intent on working hard the two days ahead of Thursday’s first round to get back in form and far away from where he was last Sunday when, in his words, he had “no freaking clue where (the ball) was going to go.”
“I need to get back on track, just tighten things up. I just got a little loose,” Spieth said. “And it was kind of on Friday afternoon, after the delay, I came out and I told Michael (Greller, his caddie) within the first couple holes after that I was like, ‘Man, I’m moving different, I’m swinging different.’
“It was just a different feeling going into Sunday than other ones that I had played well or played poorly in throughout this year. I just knew that I was a little off and I was going to have to try and make it work and that’s just a tough thing to do around a tricky course.”
Despite being off-kilter, Spieth had a chance to win on the 72nd hole before rinsing his approach. Through grit and determination, he got himself to the final hole despite fighting himself on every swing.
“I was set up to easily win that golf tournament and so it’s really frustrating when I play that poorly and it didn’t matter that it was Sunday, it wasn’t the situation or the day that had anything to do with it, it was the fact that I was kind of going a little bit (down) as the weekend went on and I couldn’t quite flip it around,” Spieth said. “And that was kind of the goal coming in to today and tomorrow was to kind of hit the reset button, tighten things back up, see if I can go back kind of on the upward trend on a course that demands it.”
Spieth, 27, has been on an upward ascent for some time now. After falling to 92nd in the world rankings in January – his worst rank since 2012 – he’s won, finished second once, tied for third twice, tied for fourth once and tied for ninth twice and moved to No. 23 in the world rankings.
He’s clearly put his struggles from 2018 through 2020 behind him and actually enjoyed the grind to get through his tough times.
He’s certainly closer to being the Jordan Spieth who won two majors and five titles in all and became No. 1 in the world in 2015 than the Jordan Spieth of the past three years when he had just three top-3s in 69 starts.
“The only thing that I care about looking backwards is mechanically matching up to what I was doing,” said Spieth, a three-time major champion with 12 PGA Tour titles. “As far as any kind of comparisons to years or results, it is literally the last thing that’s on my mind. I hate the word ‘back,’ I hate that, ‘He’s back.’ I never went anywhere. This is all part of what happens in a career. There’s ups and downs.
“And I like looking forward and to what are the pieces that I need to put together for this kind of this jump start, this new kind of way that I want to be playing golf week-in and week-out. Focus forward with picking apart things in my DNA that have made me successful.”
He’ll do that at Muirfield Village, a place that always makes him smile.
“This is always one of our favorite stops for a number of reasons. One, the clubhouse, the milkshakes, the food, the treatment. And then two, and more obvious probably, is the golf course itself,” said Spieth, who has four top-13 finishes in his last six starts in the Memorial. “It’s one of the kind of most fun, most difficult but purest tracks that we play all year. It’s a golf course where you just can’t fake anything. 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 where you’re at and what you need to kind of work on heading into a major.”