Spieth’s elite golf fame has vanished

What has happened to Jordan Spieth?

In his personal life, the 27-year-old Texan is in a good place.

He was recently married to his longtime girlfriend, Annie, and he’s pulling down a couple of million dollars a year, at least, from on-course earnings and endorsement revenue. 

His net worth is reportedly $100 million.

Professionally, however, Spieth’s golf game — as the kids would say — sucks!

In his first four years on the PGA Tour, Spieth played as if he were going to be the next Tiger Woods, or at least the next Rory McIlroy. 

He won three major championships by age 23, and fumbled away a fourth by messing up the par-3 12th at Augusta in 2016. 

He was a favourite to contend in almost every tournament he entered. 

He had 11 PGA Tour victories by the age of 24. When he won the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in July, 2017, the golf world was in agreement that the sky was the limit. Since then, however, the sky has fallen.

His driver became his worst enemy. His short game, long the model for youngsters to emulate, got loose. Too loose. He scuffed chips. He missed many makeable putts. He started missing cuts regularly. He stopped winning. He stopped even contending.

So how long would this slump last? ‘He’ll be back’ was the common theme among Golf Channel analysts, who spent hours trying to pinpoint Spieth’s problems — and possible solutions.

The height of Spieth’s woes may have happened at the recent U.S. Open at Winged Foot in New York, where Spieth shot 73-81. 

Only 12 golfers in the 144-player field were worse. The second round featured nine bogeys, one double bogey and eight pars.

An NBC broadcaster said Spieth admitted he was “lost.”

Still, he hasn’t given up. “I’ve got a lot of years in front of me and hopefully the best years in front of me,” Spieth told GolfWeek. 

“I’ve worked my butt off over the last year mentally, physically and mechanically. Things will start to come together.”

Ranked first or second in the world for most of 2015 and 2016, Spieth ended the 2019 calendar year ranked 44th. He had fallen to 67th when the U.S. Open started and likely a few places lower based on his inept performance.

Spieth is only 27 years old and some believe the biggest problem he’s having isn’t with his swing or his putting, but between his ears. 

Perhaps spending a few hours on a psychoanalyst’s couch instead of banging balls eight hours a day might get him back on track.

Slap Shots

Dan Daly of ProFootballDaly.com, via Twitter, on owner Daniel Snyder’s legacy with the Washington Football Team: “Snyder bought Saks Fifth Avenue and in 20 years turned it into the Dollar Store.”

•  Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com, with an MLB who-woulda-thunk-it: “Pretty sure absolutely, positively NO ONE had the best 2020 team in the state of New York being the Blue Jays.”

• Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, on Mavericks wunderkind Luka Doncic: “I love Doncic’s game, but at least let him shave before comparing him to Larry Bird.”

• Patti Dawn Swansson, the River City Renegade, after a Mike Trout rookie card fetched a record $3.936 million: “Scant seconds later, millions of parents across North America grounded their kids indefinitely for putting baseball cards in the spokes of their bike wheels.”

• From fark.com: “Gardner Minshew unaware that Jaguars are tanking because all the scrubs the team has retained are trying really hard.”

• Greg Cote of the MiamiHerald, on a retired baseball broadcasting legend opening a Twitter account: “Welcome to Twitter, Vin Scully! Social media does not deserve but dearly needs your civility.”

• Michael Corcoran of golf.com, on the 1974 course setup at Winged Foot, site of this year’s U.S. Open: “… Rough higher than Snoop Dogg and greens harder than a frozen Snickers.”

• Bob Molinaro of pilotonline.com: “Last week, the University of Colorado became the first college to sign a sponsorship deal with an online gambling operation. The alumni must be so proud.”

• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com:  “I heard Toronto lost a game last week 20-6. Did the CFL season start while I wasn’t looking?”

• Headline at theonion.com: “Scientists Study Brains Of Baseball Fans To Find Out How They Stay Interested During First 7 Innings”

• Another headline at  TheOnion.com: “Mariners place Kyle Lewis on IL after losing him in thick outfield smog.”

• Headline in the New York Daily News: “Normalcy in 2020 at last … Jets remain Jets!”

• Sign of the times, from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:: “Banner towed behind an airplane above Dodger Stadium when Houston paid a recent visit: “Hey, Astr*s, try stealing this sign!”

Nick Canepa again, after the Braves put up an NL-record 29 runs on the Marlins: “They violated every one of baseball’s 1,212 unwritten rules.”

Care to comment? Email brucepenton2003@yahoo.ca.

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