U.S. Open: A confident Jordan Spieth sounds ready for Pebble Beach

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Open: A confident Jordan Spieth sounds ready for Pebble Beach

USGA

U.S. Open: A confident Jordan Spieth sounds ready for Pebble Beach

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. ­– If you want to get technical about it, and Jordan Spieth will, his swing isn’t there yet.

Not in the A+ sense anyway. But he’s closing in, and if there’s anything Spieth has learned in the dog days of a victory drought, it’s that it doesn’t take his best to contend at a major. Not even close.

“I had a chance to win two majors last year feeling like I had a “C” game,” said Spieth. “I mean, that’s realistic. I was in the final group Sunday of last year’s Open at Carnoustie, and I woke up saying ‘How in the world am I in the final group at Carnoustie?’ And that’s not just me not believing myself, that’s just legitimately, mechanically, how I felt through my swings. It just wasn’t good compared to when I was on.”

Spieth, 25, comes into the 119th U.S. Open breathing in the rare air of Pebble Beach with a sense of gratitude. He’s won here before, but that doesn’t detract from the sense of awe he still feels about the place. A victory walk up the 18th at Pebble feels like Augusta, he said.

Iconic.

“It was more beautiful in person than I could have imagined,” he said of his first time on property. “And then to be inside the ropes playing a tournament – not only not having to pay to play, but getting paid to play. Pebble Beach is really special, always has been.”

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Spieth, who hasn’t won since the 2017 British Open, matter-of-factly spelled out what went wrong in his golf game in his pre-tournament presser at Pebble. Simply put, he got off in his setup and tried to manipulate his swing. Got off visually with the putter.

“The number one most important thing for putting is being able to set the putter down, pointed where you want it to be pointed and your eyes matching that line,” said Spieth, “and I didn’t have that for a while.”

Consistency is what Spieth now seeks the most. He’s hopeful that what he has learned during this dip can serve as a blueprint for the future to keep him from straying too far offline.

Jordan Spieth and caddie Michael Greller discuss strategy on the ninth tee on Monday at the 2019 U.S. Open. (Photo: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports)

For those looking for the nitty gritty of how his setup went awry, Spieth said he got too high on the right side.

“Instead of nice and kind of sit back and with a relaxed right arm,” he said, “I got almost pretty stiff, which led me to essentially be open and kind of right shoulder high. … from that position there’s nobody that’s ever played good golf. It’s almost impossible. It requires a massive amount of timing, so the consistency is just really difficult.

“So I would pick the club up, and then from there my body would fire and it would then get behind me and open, and then I’d have to save it at impact. I could do it two out of four days, but I couldn’t do it four out of four days. And when I was swinging at my best, it was real nice and around my body, something that a lot of guys just take for granted. That needs to be a constant reminder for me.”

Three top-10 finishes in a row for Spieth have gone a long way in the trust department for the three-time major winner.

He’ll tee off at 5:09 p.m. ET alongside fellow U.S. Open winners Tiger Woods and Justin Rose on Sunday.

Hitting greens will be paramount this week. Summer Pebble requires fewer drivers and 3-woods than AT&T Pebble. In February, the game plan usually consists of taking more club and hitting it low into the greens, trying to trap draw it to reduce spin. This week he’ll be lofting the ball into the air with the goal of landing it at as softly as possible.

When the “A” game isn’t there, Spieth said, that’s when athleticism takes over. Pick apart the golf course the right way.

“When you’re out of position, make pars,” he said, “and when you’re in position, attack.”

He’s battle-ready.

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