Why Jordan Spieth’s next four weeks are so important

Golf


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Jordan Spieth understandably could have been upset about putting his tee shot in the water and quadruple-bogeying his final hole at the Players Championship, but the three-time major winner was pretty pumped after his final round.

That’s because he really likes the way he’s playing, and that has his confidence soaring for the upcoming back-to-back tournaments on his home turf.

“I feel as good about my golf game right now as I have in two-plus years,” Spieth said Sunday after finishing tied for 41st at 6-under par at TPC Sawgrass. “I went 14-under … with three holes left in the first round until the 17th hole the final round on a golf course that really doesn’t fit my game, and I’m going to a few places in a row that I really love.

“Everything feels like it’s progressing really nicely. I’m extremely positive about the next few weeks.”

The PGA Tour’s next two stops are in Dallas, for the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic, and Fort Worth, Texas, for the Fort Worth Invitational. Spieth lives in Dallas and has played numerous rounds at Trinity Forest Golf Club, a links-style course that opened in the fall of 2016 and will be the new home of the Byron Nelson.

Spieth said that gives him a significant advantage over “anybody else in the field, having been there from the day they sprigged the greens.

“I haven’t seen a lot of the pins and I know the tees are going to switch around from what we normally play, but I’m excited about the next few weeks.”

Spieth hasn’t finished higher than a tie for 18th in six appearances at the Byron Nelson, but he has finished in the top 10 in four of his five appearances at the Fort Worth Invitational, including winning the tournament in 2016 and finishing tied for second last year and in 2015.

Those two tournaments will be Spieth’s second and third consecutive weeks of golf, and he’s expected to play the Memorial at the end of the month. It’s the only time he plays four times in four weeks every year, and he likes doing it.

“Historically I play better golf after I’ve played the week before,” Spieth said. “You just get these weird kinks, like what I did there on 18 [at the Players], these kind of, OK, refocus and make sure you’re playing away from trouble. I get a little, I don’t know if lazy is the right word, but a little lack of commitment or maybe even over-commitment, to trying to be too aggressive first weeks out trying to shoot up the board.

“Is it difficult [to play four consecutive weeks]? No. I’m in my own bed. There’s certainly a lot of obligations that I don’t have other weeks the next two, but I’ve done a good job managing them the last couple years and will continue to.”

Quadruple-bogey on No. 18 aside, Spieth’s performance at the Players was his best there since he finished tied for fourth in his tournament debut in 2014 (he missed the cut the previous three years), and his third-round 65 was his best round of the season. He had shot 66 five other times this season, including the first round of The Masters (he finished third).

Spieth missed the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans two weeks ago and didn’t play in the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, May 3-6. With his confidence in his game sky high, he’s excited about the next few weeks.

“I’ve got a four-week stretch here now that I really enjoy,” Spieth said. “This is the only time I play four in a row in a season, and I like doing that. It’s fun. I love being on the road and practicing and grinding and having a chance to play on the PGA Tour, and to have these events, go home — I’ve got an opportunity in these four weeks to have a lot of fun playing golf and potentially give myself a chance to win. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”



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