David Duval explains how 1 mistake led to Jordan Spieth’s downfall

jordan spieth frustrated

Can Jordan Spieth ever find his way back?

Getty Images

Golf is a better place when Jordan Spieth is playing well and contending at the top of leaderboards. Whether you are his biggest fan or not, it’s not fun watching a player with as much talent as Spieth struggle, like he did on Saturday at the 2020 PGA Championship.

Naturally, with Spieth playing alongside Justin Thomas in one of ESPN’s featured groups, he was hot topic of conversation during their round, amplified by JT’s magnificent play and Spieth’s bogey-bogey-par-par-bogey-bogey start.

On-course analyst Colt Knost said that “the wheels are just kind of falling off for Jordan Spieth right now,” in part because he’s gone “full technical” with his game.

Duval’s take: Jordan starting chased distance

David Duval
David Duval cautioned Spieth against chasing distance. Getty Images

As Spieth made his way to the par-3 3rd green, Duval talked about a conversation he had with Spieth after his grand slam-chasing 2015 season. Duval, as someone who had once reached World No. 1 himself, said he gave Jordan a word of advice: Don’t chase distance.

When the pair re-connected in 2016, Duval said Jordan didn’t listen to his advice.

“When we got done talking at the end of the year in 2015 after that historic season he had, one thing I said and cautioned him and hoped he wouldn’t do was chase distance. He came back in 2016 saying he was trying to find 5 or 10 yards in the offseason and I was like: ‘oh boy.’ 

Looking at the stats over between Spieth’s 2015 and 2016 seasons, you can see Spieth’s Driving Distance jumped about five yards overall, but his accuracy and overall Strokes Gained: Driving ranking went down. Though, to be fair, he did win two times that season and three times — including a major — in 2017.

Driving Distance291.8 (78th)295.4 (51st)
Driving Accuracy62.91% (80th)58.14% (123rd)
SG: Driving.494 (15th).402 (29th)

Today, Spieth ranks 174th in SG: Driving and hasn’t won since 2017. Duval, rounding-out his comments, has some new advice for Jordan to help turn his game around:

“I believe [Spieth] needs to let go of Cameron McCormick’s hand and start digging it out of the dirt himself,” Duval said. “That’s nothing against Cameron … he just needs to figure it out himself.”


Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.