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
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 Distance||291.8 (78th)||295.4 (51st)|
|Driving Accuracy||62.91% (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.”