‘How do I hold this s**t together?’ Jordan Spieth brutally honest over past issues

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on Thursday on the 11th hole at Waialae Country Club.

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Jordan Spieth, while recounting his Sony Open first round on Thursday, was asked what was one of his better shots, and he nearly was just as thrilled describing it. 

“That was this really — I call it in-front-of fade, meaning just my sequence was fantastic. It was on plane. It was just exactly what I’ve been working towards, and I just hit this five-yard fade that held the wind up the middle of the fairway and had 80 yards into that flat green. 

“When I hit that shot, I walked off saying, this could be a really good day if I keep pressing how that just felt.”

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For the most part, Spieth did, and, yes, the day was very good. After starting on the Waialae Country Club back nine, he birdied 10, then 12, where his shot of the day came, a tee shot that traveled 343 yards down the left side of the fairway. From there, he tacked on five more birdies — seven in all, against one bogey — for a six-under 64, and a share of the lead after the morning wave of tee times. He was wonderfully in control — his description of his 12 tee ball says as much — though with Spieth, you know he’s been hit and miss there. 

Even at his height — think his stretch from June of 2015 to July of 2017, where he won 10 times, including all three of his major championships — you could bank on the out-of-control. A flare left or a flare right, though followed by Spieth fireworks. Then he tumbled — no wins from July of 2017 to April of 2021 — and his control issues were magnified. And now he’s back — two wins over the past two seasons — and maybe, just maybe, he has everything under control. Like his tee shot on 12. And others. 

And all of that led to a conversation about it. The Spieth journey has been well-documented, though this is as open as maybe he’s ever been. It started when a reporter asked him this:

“As far as your golf, what’s your level? Can you describe what expectations are like when you come to a tournament? You ever surprised by the way you play?”

Hang on till the end. 

“So I would say like I started really well in 2018, ’19, maybe a couple events in ’20 where a day like today where I shot five- or six-under to start — I think I remember doing it at Travelers one time and the PGA in ’19. I just remember thinking, I know where my game is at, and I can maybe fake it as best I can, but it’s not — I don’t really have great control.

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“I used my hands really well for a couple days. Conveniently the first two in a row. So it’s not like you — it’s not like I didn’t believe. It’s just I have a good idea of where things are at, and if I have that shot or don’t have that shot.

This is different. The last couple years have been a little different, where off to a good start, and I’m like, OK, I think I can improve a little to gain just a little bit more control, but I was in really good control.

“And for me, it’s about freedom. It’s not separating arms from the body and having to save shots. It’s feeling like I’m in front of them and being able to hold them off and nice fluid strokes on the greens.

“That’s really all it comes down to. Seems simple, but when you’re still fighting the urge to want to hit it hard or get over some bad habits, days like today I’m not surprised, but what I will say is I’m confident relative to other time periods I’ve been off to similar starts, which is a really good place to be.

So what about those “other time periods?”

“I believe I can shoot five- or six-under each day out here. Not to say that that means it’ll happen, but there are other times I would be sitting there going, how do I hold this s**t together, to be honest. 



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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.