It’s hard to believe, but it was just five short years ago Jordan Spieth put on his first green jacket at The Masters. That same year, he captured the U.S. Open, won the Tour Championship, and finished as the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world.
In 2016 and 2017, he won five times, including the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Then, just like that, his name vanished from the Sunday leaderboards. It’s been tough to watch one of the game’s most likable players who appeared on a trajectory to greatness, repeatedly stumble week after week for the last several years. One legendary golfer, however, thinks Spieth’s struggles can be easily fixed.
Jordan Spieth’s rise to the top
Back in 2013, Jordan Spieth introduced himself to the golf world with his first PGA Tour win at the John Deere Classic. He also added a runner-up finish at the Wyndham Championship. He was named 2013 Rookie of the Year.
After going winless in 2014, Spieth had the best year of his career and one of the best seasons in PGA Tour history in 2015. He won five times including, a pair of majors at the Masters and the U.S. Open. After a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, he won the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup Championship, and finished the year as the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world.
In 2016, Jordan Spieth won a couple of events, but that year will be remembered for his collapse on Sunday at the Masters, where he blew a five-stroke lead heading into the back nine. For the first time in his young career, Spieth revealed the fragility of his mental game.
One statistic reveals why Jordan Spieth is struggling
While some thought Jordan Spieth’s monumental failure at Augusta National could send his career into a tailspin, it didn’t happen. He won a couple of times in 2016 and three times in 2017, including the Open Championship, his third major. However, since that victory in England, Spieth hasn’t won another tournament.
While there have been countless reasons discussed as to why Spieth has struggled, CBS Sports identified one specific statistic that is very alarming. Spieth’s tee-to-green rankings have dropped precipitously since 2018.
- 2016: 25th
- 2017: 2nd
- 2018: 23rd
- 2019: 157th
- 2020: 161st
At the U.S. Open earlier this year, Jordan Spieth acknowledged he’s confused about his game.
“There’s a lot that’s off. I’m not really sure. If I knew, I’d fix it. Standing on a tee at the U.S. Open and not exactly knowing where the ball is going to go is not a great feeling,” Spieth told reporters.
Others think they have the solution
Coming into the Masters, Jordan Spieth was ranked No. 80 in the world golf rankings. While Spieth admitted earlier this year he was uncertain as to why his game had taken a dramatic turn for the worse in recent years, several other notable golfers think they have identified the problem.
Earlier this year, former No. 1 golfer, Open champion, and someone who had struggles of his own, David Duval, said Spieth made the mistake of chasing distance. He said now he’s trying to regain his old swing and thinking too much about it.
“I sometimes wish he would just go hit balls alone. He’s playing the golf swing right now. He needs to go out and play golf,” Duval said on the Golf Channel.
Nine-time major champion Gary Player agrees.
“If I could spend one hour with Jordan Spieth, I’m absolutely convinced he’d be the No. 1 player in the world. Long hitting is the most overrated thing in golf,” Player said during an interview on SiriusXM. “The thing that wins golf tournaments is the mind — and we haven’t even scratched the surface of the mind…There are lot of things that are so hidden, debatable. There are amazing things about golf…but the swing takes one second, and there have been three million words written about it.”
Whether Jordan Spieth has read anything about the swing, is working with a swing coach, seeing a psychologist, or doing any combination of those things is unclear. What is undeniable is Spieth has the talent to be one of the best golfers in the world. He’s proven it before. The question is whether or not he will return to those heights ever again.