IRVING, Texas -- As Jordan Spieth walked up the 15th fairway on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, a fan cupped his hand and hollered loudly for everyone to hear, "I've got a Michelob over here for you, Jordan!" As Spieth walked past, I heard the guy's buddy say a lot more quietly, "He's more in the whiskey now the way he's been playing."
Spieth came into the final round of his hometown event in second place alone. After a 74 over the final 18 holes (including six bogeys), he slipped to T18 and still could not surpass his best finish ever at this event (T16 as a 16-year-old amateur).
I expected a morose Spieth in the interview area. He sounded like he was giving the invocation for his own funeral on Saturday after a 67 got him in contention. What in the world would he sound like on Sunday after a 74 took him out of the tournament?
Instead, I got an upbeat player excited about next week.
"I actually felt very comfortable over the ball today," said Spieth.
The No. 2 player in the world did improve his proximity to the hole on approach shots on Sunday but not by much. His average approach on Sunday was 40 feet, which was No. 61 in the field. If you're scoring at home, that's not good.
"I hit really solid swings," insisted Spieth. "I was aggressive through the ball today. I wasn't hesitant at the ball, which is what I was the last couple of days trying to guide shots. I put nice, fluid solid swings on the golf ball. I don't know exactly what happened. A break here, break there, you know, gust of wind here or there that just let it push the balls to roll into tough locations. I felt like I deserved a better score today than I did yesterday and that's just how golf is sometimes.
"Funny how it works. Yesterday, it was about as uncomfortable as I've ever felt and shot 3 under. Today, I felt like I kind of fixed it a little on the range. I felt really good about it on the golf course today. I just didn't score well."
Golf is weird. That's true. But there was something else that bumped Spieth all the way down to that T18, and that was the fact that his putter went ice cold during the final round. He went from seventh in strokes gained putting on Saturday to 72nd on Sunday. There were only 74 players playing on Sunday. He went from 101 feet of putts made to 35. That's how you turn a 67 into a 74.
On the 15th green, just after the Michelob comment, Spieth missed a par putt from about 10 feet. He pulled his Scotty Cameron back head high like he was going to beat the thing into the ground and yelled, "How does that miss?!"
This is the synopsis of the world's best. They're so good that it doesn't make sense when they're bad.
So it was a disappointing week for Spieth, who was trying to do for Dallas what Rory McIlroy did for Ireland earlier on Sunday, deliver a victory to the adoring home fans. He failed, quite miserably actually, but he gets another shot next week at Colonial in Fort Worth.
"I had an off day today," said Spieth. "We're going to go to a golf course next week where I've had success. I felt like I found something today that I can fine-tune with my ball-striking and my putting is there. I feel very confident about next week. I almost matched my best finish in six starts here. I can look at that positively."
On to the next one.