What Jordan Spieth says he ‘feels’ when his putting is sharp
Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
If it seemed like Jordan Spieth got his groove back during Thursday’s first round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, that’s because, in his own words, he did.
After carding a 7-under 63 (which, at the time, had him leading the tournament — he’s currently in 2nd place at 9-under following Round 2), Spieth was asked about what areas of his practice most translated to the tournament. He didn’t hesitate in calling out the flat stick.
“Quite a bit of putting,” he said. “We come to slopey Bermuda [grass], and very fast slopey Bermuda, where I feel a little more comfortable picking lines and kind of feeding the ball in using gravity. I think that helped.”
But just because a golfer feels confident doesn’t always mean the ball goes where they want it to. It takes touch to have the right distance control with the putter in-hand, which is something Spieth has rediscovered thus far at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
It also requires training the mind to handle pressure, regardless of whether the shot is for birdie or par, or from three feet or 10 feet.
Following Thursday’s first round, Spieth seemed to attribute his putting success to that shift in mindset more than anything else.
“I didn’t feel like I was stepping into any putt thinking like par or birdie, and thinking it was different from the other, which is really a good sign,” he said. “I don’t want to feel like I have to make the par putts, and then you don’t on the birdie. I want them to all feel the same.”
Spieth’s admission goes back to his supreme confidence with the flat stick right now. Rather than put pressure on himself, he’s stroking it with first-class touch by simply freeing his mind, trusting his practice routines, and feeling like his pre-shot preparation is steady.
“They all felt like, I’m going to do what I can; I’m going to pick my line and speed and put the stroke, and I’m going to do everything in my power, and if it goes in, great. If it doesn’t, so be it.”
That type of positive attitude has helped Spieth rank 8th in SG: Putting through the first two rounds of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. And while he still has two more days to try and overcome the current leader (Lucas Glover at 10-under), Spieth is trusting the feel and touch he currently has on the putting surface.
“My stroke is in a good spot, it’s just a matter of doing enough work on the practice green there of performance putting where you start to see them drop in, matching the right line and speed,” he said.