Jordan Spieth delivers some downright bizarre quotes after struggling again in Hawaii
The three-time major winner will be (should be) fine, but his week at the Sony Open left a lot to be desired
Jordan Spieth is an elite talker. His ability to communicate his thoughts and feelings in a comprehensible, interesting way is maybe surpassed only by his ability to do things on the golf course that lead to him getting to talk in the first place.
And last week at the Sony Open, he said many, many things. Unfortunately none of them engendered confidence that somebody coming off a 0-win 2018 calendar year would in fact bounce back to being not only one of the best players in the world but possibly one of the best players ever.
This happens with Spieth sometimes, just as it does with Rory McIlroy. They are hyper self-aware and extremely vulnerable human beings, and sometimes with Spieth he lets you into the parts of his mind that nobody, himself included, probably needs to go. He turns himself inside out trying to not only find the truth about his current reality, but to let you in on it a little bit as well.
So what came out of Hawaii in his first event as a married man and of the 2019 golf calendar were some head-scratching quotes about where he stands and where he's going. Let's take a look at them.
Quote No. 1
"I have [a] lesser amount of certainty of that than I've had in a while. It doesn't bother me right now. I don't feel anxious, like I have to do anything. I feel pretty patient with what's coming because I know I'm working on the right things. Took me a while to figure out what that was."
I'm less concerned about how much he's working than I am that he didn't really know the right things to work on to begin with. Quote No. 2 is related to this, I suppose.
Quote No. 2
"I almost took ignorance as bliss in a lot of parts of my game. I did things well, but I didn't know why. I just did them. Then they got off, and so I had to figure out why I did them well and how to train it back."
Those are the words of somebody who is trying to do too many things at the same time instead of just keeping it simple. This is how all golfers (and athletes) who are slumping sound, but it's still weird to hear it from Spieth.
Quote No. 3
"Again, like for me, just comes down to how I feel over the ball. Like for me, it's all the physical side of the ball. If I feel comfortable, if I am hitting the shots I want to, I still have the confidence that I know that that's capable of winning out here.
"So the problem is just getting to that point and keeping it there. When it's not at that point, you stand over each shot worrying about the misses or where you can't be when you're off versus what is my plan to birdie this hole. How do I make sure I don't bogey this hole? Just crazy how it can switch like that."
Confidence, not putting, has always been, to me, Spieth's superpower, and he's clearly on E right now. Maybe he gets that back over the course of a tournament or a month or six months, but as it presently stands, he has a long way to go.
Quote No. 4
"The move I'm trying to do with my swing, it's most difficult and impossible to do on course. Just the timing of it is just not consistent yet. I had three or four different golf swings throughout the week on the golf course. That's unusual. I don't think I've ever played with more than one kind of swing feel. I'm trying to just develop a way to make this downswing feel work. Once it clicks, I'll be right back where I need to be. Until then, it's a little inconsistent in the long clubs."
Seems ... not good! Less so that he's playing with three or four swings and more so that this is seemingly unprecedented territory for him over the course of his career.
Quote No. 5
"I put a really bad stroke on a par putt on 6 today. I had been thinking about my stroke on every putt I had hit from yesterday until that hole, and I just told myself, 'Just point, aim, and shoot and stop thinking.' Because I've been working on my stroke so much that I'm thinking about doing the path of the stroke.
"You know, if you think about the stroke you've got no touch or feel. From there on, 'Just point, aim, shoot,' and I just started making everything. Wish I had figured that out like the third hole in the tournament, not 30-something holes in."
This is the Spieth Problem (if there is one) in two paragraphs. He's so smart and wants so badly to be great, and sometimes this is the result. Sometimes it's better to clear the mind like Dustin Johnson and let it flow. OK, not sometimes, all the time.
Quote No. 6
"I went through like a couple different swings today. Yeah, I mean, it was kind of a test I guess. It's very unusual. I don't feel like I've been in this situation before. It's OK. I felt like I was patient out there and still am right now. Like I said, could take a while, but I got pretty far off and I'm trying to backtrack significantly. But I need to get some tournament rounds to do it, even though it's humbling at the same."
Basically a mashup of three of the other quotes. None of them were confidence-inspiring and this one even less so. Again, this is not a "What's wrong with Jordan Spieth?" take. Nor is it an indictment of the rest of his career. If I have to take the over or the under on 29.5 wins for Spieth on the PGA Tour, I'm still taking the over. I think he's that historically great. Instead, it's a look inside the messiness in Spieth's mind right now.
He's so deep in the process, so caught up in what he's doing, not doing and trying to do that I'm surprised he can even take the club back at all. His 73-66-MC at the Sony Open is nothing to lose sleep over, either as a fan or as Spieth himself. But if he can't clear the clutter out of his mind and get back to just being Jordan freaking Spieth then it won't be the last 73-66-MC he has this season.
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