Jordan Spieth explains how he’s fixing the ‘bad tendency’ in his putting
It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, Jordan Spieth was in the throes of a years-long winless slump.
In January 2021, Spieth was ranked No. 92 in the world — nearly four years removed from his last win, the 2017 Open Championship, and openly struggling with his game and his confidence.
Then, after a few solid finishes, he broke through at the 2021 Valero Texas Open to notch his 12th career PGA Tour win. He followed up with a near miss at the Masters, where he finished T3.
Last year, Spieth added Tour win No. 13 at the RBC Heritage. Over the last two years, he’s logged 17 top 10s and four runner-ups. And after a third-round 66 at the Players Championship, Spieth is lurking once again in T15 heading into the final round.
At this point, it seems safe to say that the Spieth of old is back in full force — just in time for the upcoming Masters. But one area of Spieth’s game that has been perpetually iffy of late has been his short putting. It’s a deficiency that he’s well aware of, and after his third round at TPC Sawgrass, he opened up about how hard he’s been working with longtime instructor Cameron McCormick on fixing the issue.
“I’ve had a tendency for a few years that’s been a really bad tendency,” Spieth said of the reasoning behind his putting work. “It was trying to continue to find ways, instead of just in a path feel, but actually in a big — I’m trying to take my hands out and use my big muscles more. I’ve always been a little handsy putting in a good way. A lot of great putters are handsy. Rickie Fowler and Tiger use his hands, Ben Crenshaw. So I think I’ll always still have that, but I was relying on it.
“When I would have pressure on or as I got closer to the hole I didn’t have time to make up for what was going on in the stroke,” he continued. “I was just putting really bad strokes on it. Now I feel like I don’t have to save it and it’s a very freeing, feeling it just needs more and more reps in tournament rounds and it just gets better.”
And what has Spieth been working on specifically? He said he’s been referencing video from his best putting days.
“It’s more a left arm elbow feel for me than anything,” he said. “I’m just trying to lock in this left side. Which I may be a little more bent over than when I’ve been at my best, but the traction of everything is just to match — my ceiling putting has been best in the world. I have, you know, video, I can just match, you would think, the stroke and the feel to then. That’s really the goal. There’s no reason to try and do anything different than at that time period. It feels really nice and tight and inside of 10 it’s been really solid this week. I made a few outside as well.”
Regardless of where he ends up this week, Spieth says he’s pleased with his progress.
“I putted really well last week as kind of the first time getting into a setup and a stroke position that I’m working on. This week’s just been a continuation,” he said. “It got better each day last week and it’s better this week. So, to summarize this last stretch, I’m very, I feel like I have momentum, I feel like things are trending.”
And as any Spieth fan knows, when his putter gets hot, watch out!