After the 13-week break from pro golf — the longest such stretch since World War II — there are many questions about how the players will be affected. In a game where there is virtually no offseason, an extended break like this is far from the norm.
But are there particular players that are better equipped to handle the layoff? The answer is yes, according to Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who thinks Jordan Spieth is the type of player who will come out of the lockdown with a sharper game than before.
Spieth’s fall from the top of his game is well documented — just before the shutdown he fell out of the top 50 in the World Ranking — but despite these struggles, Chamblee is convinced the break could be beneficial. Specifically, Spieth’s time away from swing coach Cameron McCormick might be just what he needs.
“I think Jordan Spieth perhaps could come out of this the best of anybody,” Chamblee said in a call with a contingent of golf reporters ahead of the Charles Schwab Challenge. “I believe that there’s intellectual power in solitude.”
Chamblee explained his theory that current players lean too heavily on their swing coaches, something that can be a hinderance to their games. He made the argument that “without exception, players are impoverished by helicopter teachers” and that the time away from the constant eye of their instructors will be hugely beneficial.
He pointed to World No. 1 Rory McIlroy as an example of someone who had come to this conclusion on his own, long before the lockdown. McIlroy is tutored by Michael Bannon, though the instructor rarely makes an appearance at Tour events hovering over his pupil.
“He talks to his coach, but he tries to figure it out on his own,” Chamblee said.
Although Spieth has been with McCormick for his entire pro career, Chamblee is not convinced that the instructor is integral to the three-time major winner’s success.
“It’s his genius that I think made him the player he was, with a little help from a coach,” Chamblee said. “And when I see the interaction between Jordan Spieth and his coach on driving ranges, it looks frantic. So perhaps 13 weeks off would have given him some time to sort of clear up his mind.”
While it remains to be seen if the time away from the grind of Tour life will be the thing that springboards Spieth back to the upper echelon of the game, Colonial would be an appropriate place to break out of his slump. Spieth won the event in 2016 and has five other top-15 finishes in seven starts at the Fort Worth track.
The Charles Schwab Challenge gets started Thursday morning and will be aired on the Golf Channel and PGA Tour Live.