Golf

Jordan Spieth Is in a Position He Hasn’t Been in for Seven Years and It’s Not Good

Just one day short of the seven-year anniversary of Jordan Speith winning his first PGA Tour event, the former No. 1 player in the world finds himself in a position that he hasn’t been in since that breakthrough victory at the John Deere Classic in 2013: outside the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

It’s been close to three years since Spieth was last in the winner’s circle, his last victory coming at The Open Championship in July 2017. Since then, the 26-year-old has had to watch some of the game’s other young guns steal the spotlight that once shone so brightly on him. It looked as if he’d turned a corner when the PGA Tour resumed its season last month but the last few weeks have been a disaster and the three-time major champion is now at his lowest point, at least in the rankings, since his rookie season.

Jordan Spieth first cracked the top 60 in the OWGR following his first PGA Tour win

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Coming into the 2013 John Deere Classic, Jordan Spieth was ranked 120th in the world. Then just 19 years old and less than a year into his pro career, he’d carded five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2013, which helped him jump more than 700 spots in the world rankings. Everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before he notched that first win but nobody could have predicted how dramatic it would be.

Needing to hole out from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole at TPC Deere Run to get into a playoff, Jordan Spieth did just that, sending the gallery into a frenzy. He went on to defeat David Hearn and defending champion Zach Johnson in the playoff, becoming the first teenager since 1931 to win a PGA Tour event. The victory vaulted him to No. 59 in the world rankings and he remained in the top 60 for the next seven years, minus one day.

He spent 26 weeks at No. 1

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After getting that first victory, Jordan Spieth began his ascent up the world rankings. By the end of his rookie season, he had cracked the top 25, ending the year at No. 22. In 2014, he made the top 10 for the first time and ended the year at No. 9. Following his historic win at The Masters in 2015, he moved up to No. 2 in the world, trailing only Rory McIlroy. He then won the U.S. Open and picked up another win at the John Deere and finally became the world No. 1 on August 26, 2015.

From that time until March 2016, Spieth spent a total of 26 weeks at No. 1, including a stretch of 20 consecutive weeks. Following that victory at The Open in 2017, Spieth moved to No. 2 but it’s been a steady decline ever since. At the end of 2018, he was ranked 17th. At the end of 2019, he’d dropped to No. 44. And when the new rankings came out on Monday morning, Jordan Spieth was ranked 61st, a result of missing the cut at the Workday Charity Open, the last of three straight disappointing finishes.

Jordan Spieth began the restart of the PGA Tour season with a top-10 finish but hasn’t played well since

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth | Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

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Before the PGA Tour season shut down in March, Jordan Spieth had carded just one top-10 finish in 2020, a tie for ninth at Pebble Beach. But outside of that, he hadn’t finished higher than 55th in five starts, which included a missed cut in Phoenix.

Things seemed to take a turn when the season resumed as Spieth played well at the Charles Schwab Challenge, finishing tied for 10th. But things haven’t gone well since. He finished tied for 68th at the RBC Heritage, tied for 54th at the Travelers Championship, and then missed the cut this past Friday at Muirfield Village.

He currently sits in 102nd place in the FedEx Cup standings and a few more bad finishes could take him out of the playoffs altogether. He’ll take another shot at Muirfield this week at the Memorial, where he finished tied for seventh a year ago.