Jordan Spieth looking to reclaim magic at Travelers after 2017 win

May 12, 2018; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Jordan Spieth reacts to his putt on the 15th green during the third round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Spieth looking to reclaim magic at Travelers after 2017 win

PGA Tour

Jordan Spieth looking to reclaim magic at Travelers after 2017 win

CROMWELL, Conn. – Last Monday, before the start of the U.S. Open, Jordan Spieth spent nearly two hours on the far-left side of the range, hitting shot after shot under the watchful eye of his swing coach, Cameron McCormick. The 2015 U.S. Open champ was positioned about 8 feet from a white tent. No one could practice behind him and Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller, and his agent, Jay Danzi, each stood at an angle that blocked the view of onlookers, photographers and fans for long stretches of time. The message that Team Spieth made was clear: Jordan is grinding.

Unfortunately for Spieth, the work didn’t pay off, and he missed the cut by a shot. Instead of playing on the weekend, he spent Saturday at his rented house on Long Island, then went to New York City on Sunday, took in a few sights and got to act like a tourist before coming to the Travelers Championship, where he is the defending champ.

Spieth spectacularly won this event last season in a playoff over Daniel Berger by holing a greenside bunker shot before throwing his club and chest bumping Greller. Highlights of that moment were replayed again and again, and when Spieth and Greller recollect on the moment, they don’t talk about the excellent bunker shot, they talk about the post-shot celebration.

“I think here, this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” he said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had to do too much from there on. (When) I averaged good scores in the first round, I’ve had a chance to win Sunday and that’s by not trying to do so much. Just hit greens and let the flow of the golf course come to you.”

That sounds like a good plan, but Spieth will need to putt better than he has this season if he hopes to win at TPC River Highlands. Last year, en route to winning, his strokes gained: putting for the week was 2.293, which ranked 31st for the week. For the season his average was 0.32, which ranked 42nd on the PGA Tour. So far this year, his strokes gained: putting average is -0.422 (188th), which means that based solely on his putting, Spieth is giving up over one and a half shots to the average player over 72 holes.

“I’ve kind of got to where my putting is making a lot of progress right now,” Spieth said. “It’s getting back to where I’m seeing my lines, and it’s getting back to where it could be top level.”

The Texan’s driving and iron play, statistically, are solid and if he can regain his putting touch, it might be just the thing the reigning British Open champion needs before he starts the run-up to this year’s event at Carnoustie.

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