The usual question for Jordan Spieth during Byron Nelson week concerns his inability to win, or even play well, at his hometown tournament. This year, the inquiry was posed differently: Why was Spieth not winning, or even playing well, anywhere?
(ABOVE: After a tough outing at the Byron Nelson, Jordan Spieth bounced back with a top-10 finish at the PGA Championship. Photos by Chris McGathey)
Indeed, the Preston Hollow resident came home to Trinity Forest Golf Club in early May amid the most prolonged slump of his career on the PGA Tour.
He finished the week in a tie for 29th place or 11 strokes behind unheralded champion Sung Kang. That matches the general pattern of his results at the Byron Nelson since he first started playing as a teenager — always making the cut, rarely in contention. Yet Spieth maintained an optimistic tone.
“I take more confidence than disappointment. The actual result doesn’t show really how well I played,” Spieth said. “The idea is to try to get better each day. Sometimes the score reflects that. Sometimes it doesn’t. This year, even if I’ve had a poor weekend, I felt like I found something to make me better long-term — oftentimes it’s looked at as negative or down, but I don’t see it that way.”
Formerly the top player in the world, Spieth, 25, has dropped out of the top 25 in the World Golf Ranking. And he’s outside the top 50 this season in FedEx Cup points, which is unusual for the three-time major champion.
However, Spieth showed his confidence was justified the following week when he finished third at the PGA Championship in New York. Although he hasn’t hoisted a first-place trophy in almost two years — since the British Open in July 2017 — he’s consistently placed in the top 10 at major championships. He said his mentality has changed.
“I let it really frustrate me and be really tough out there, on the course, even in practice days at home, taking it home with me and stuff. I don’t think that’s totally unusual, but it’s something that you shouldn’t do,” Spieth said.
“I have no doubt in my abilities and myself. I just need to forget about any kind of comparisons to any other years. You start to figure out what it is and you have to kind of embrace the work and the timeliness that it takes.”
The former Jesuit standout was supported by his usual large galleries during all four rounds at Trinity Forest, much like he has been each year since he tied for 16th place in his Nelson debut back in 2010.
“It’s always a special week — ninth time playing in this, which is crazy. I don’t feel like I’ve played in a tournament nine times,” Spieth said.
“From getting an exemption in high school twice to coming in, you know, after winning the Masters and having the reception I had then, and then each and every year, it’s been fantastic.”