Jordan Spieth takes a step back with missed cut at Valspar

Ryan Young/PGA TOUR

Jordan Spieth takes a step back with missed cut at Valspar

PGA Tour

Jordan Spieth takes a step back with missed cut at Valspar

PALM HABOR, Fla. – A deflated Jordan Spieth was the last man standing on the eighth green Friday afternoon. He’d just missed a 9-foot birdie putt on his second-to-last hole of the tournament and, while Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson walked to the ninth tee box, Spieth hung back for a minute and went through his putting motion without a ball or a putter.

He looked empty and down on himself and thus had picked a good day to pair a black shirt with black pants, his eyes barely moving above ground level underneath a black Under Armour hat as he walked to No. 9.

Woods held a share of the lead at the time, and earlier this week Spieth talked about how badly he wanted to have the opportunity to play with Woods in a final round on Sunday. Woods held up his end of the bargain this week but Spieth did not, missing the cut at 5 over after an even-par 71 in Round 2.

“I just got way off in my iron play,” said Spieth, who shot 5-over 76 in Round 1. “The putting (is) not really improving either from last week. I’ve been striking the ball well enough. I almost couldn’t shoot over par with the way I’m striking it and I just had a really bad ballstriking day (Thursday).”

It’s the second missed cut of the season for Spieth, who has had putting problems and also went home early at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last month. He missed just three cuts all of last season and two in 2015-16.

“These past two weeks I took a step back, unfortunately, is the feeling right now,” Spieth said.

Spieth does have two top-10s this season and hasn’t finished outside the top 25 during the five tournaments in which he’s made the cut. He cited some visual problems in his putting routine, issues he knows need to be corrected in the next month if he hopes to put on a good showing at Augusta National.

Right now, he just seems to be waiting around for any type of spark. He’ll have to wait a bit longer after a disappointing 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, where he won just three years ago.

“The good news is my confidence can flip into a pretty elite level once that kind of clicks, and I’ve just been searching for that,” Spieth said.

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