Jordan Spieth's goal for 2017: Have a lot more fun on the golf course
Jordan Spieth had a terrific 2016, but sometimes it didn't feel that way
You know who had an underrated 2015-16 PGA Tour season? The No. 5 golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings did. Jordan Spieth won twice and was one shot from taking home his second straight green jacket. He won his first Ryder Cup and made $5.5 million. And yet there were whispers. About his slow play. About how much he was traveling. About how a 22-year old should be having more fun. His body language was poor at times, and he seemed to buckle under the weight of all those absurd expectations.
Spieth's new favorite line to trot out goes something like this: Did you expect me to win five times and two majors every year for the rest of my career? That means I would have 125 wins and 50 majors. That's ridiculous. I agree. I also think Spieth had a better 2016 than anyone gives him credit for. His putting improved from a strokes gained perspective. He was better off the tee. He learned about how to manage a career that has Hall of Fame written all over it. That's a lesson that will come in handy for the next 20 years.
Still, Spieth said his main goal for 2017 is simply to enjoy playing golf more. This is understandable. Despite the fact that he is making a ludicrous amount of money (reportedly over $50 million a year on and off the course), Spieth seemed sullen for much of the last calendar year.
Jordan Spieth seems mad at the Oakmont greens pic.twitter.com/8BFQzEDkDY— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) June 16, 2016
"I want to have a lot more fun," said Spieth at the Sony Open this week where he will be playing for the first time since his rookie year. "I want to smile more on the golf course. I want to just feel like I'm really enjoying the process of playing and living out my dream.
"I mean, obviously with my personality, good golf certainly helps that. But even when things aren't necessarily going as planned, just recognizing that's going to be the case. Specifically, I want to win more than last year. You know, each year I want to win more than the year before."
Winning solves everything. Just ask Tiger Woods.
"I think there were certainly times where my fuse was a little too short [last year]," added Spieth. "I mean, people go through those kind of stretches. Just here and there, complained a bit where it was unnecessary. Just when I'm talking to [caddie] Michael [Greller] and stuff. It doesn't do any good. So when you have time to think about the season, and think about the year and the next year, you kind of realize, 'hey, you know, pretty soon we're going to have been on Tour for 15 years.' Why not really enjoy that. Just keep making each year feel like it lasts a long time and you have a lot of great times every single week and just enjoy the process."
This is a refreshingly honest look into the mind of one of the best golfers on the planet. It's appreciated, too. I often myself in awe of players on the PGA Tour who act like they're having the most miserable time. You're playing golf for millions of dollars. It can't be that bad!
And I get it. Tournament golf is a complete and total grind, but I think everyone who loves the game likes where Spieth is coming from. It will help his on-course play, too. The Golden Child was wound up a little too tight at times last season. A loose, re-energized Spieth can (and will) do some extraordinary damage this season. It will be the fields he devastates that will be left without a smile.
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