Spieth seeking fresh start
HONOLULU — Jordan Spieth showed up in Hawaii three years ago hopeful that a new year would be more of a continuation than a fresh start. Back then, he was coming off two majors, five victories, the FedEx Cup and he was No. 1 in the world.
He’s in a different spot at the Sony Open. Spieth went through an entire year without a trophy for the first time as a pro. He didn’t have even a mathematical chance at the FedEx Cup because he didn’t make it to the Tour Championship for the first time. Spieth starts the year at No. 17.
So is this a fresh start or a continuation? In his case, a little of both. “Thinking of something as a fresh start, that you can throw away some of the struggles from last season, is beneficial,” he said Wednesday. “But I was doing really good work as the season went on where I was focusing my work, which was in the putting. So I don’t want to necessarily wash all that away. I was doing the right stuff. It’s then just a continuation of that work as I start to dial it in more and more.
“So yes and no,” he concluded. “I guess mentally, yes. But physically, no.”
He wasn’t even sure he was coming to Oahu until a few weeks ago. Spieth wasn’t eligible for the winners-only field at Kapalua. He got married over Thanksgiving weekend, which cut into a typical schedule of preparations for the new year. His expectations aren’t as high as they might be.
“Just after Christmas,” he said of his decision to play the Sony Open. “I had a good day practicing and said, ‘All right, I’m going.’ A couple of days after that it was, ‘Dang it, I’m not ready.’ Couple of days after that, ‘Yeah.’ I’m really glad I’m here, whether it goes well or not.”
The Sony Open starts today as the first full field of 2019, with 23 players who were at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week. That includes Justin Thomas, who won at Waialae two years ago by opening with a 59 and breaking the PGA Tour’s record for 72 holes with a 253 total.
Patrick Reed also is in the field, the first time Reed and Spieth have been in the same tournament since the Ryder Cup, remembered as much for the European victory as Reed blaming Spieth for them not playing together in France. Spieth and Thomas went 3-1 as partners, while Reed and Tiger Woods went 0-2. “I was a bit surprised,” Spieth said about Reed’s post-Ryder Cup comments. “It didn’t bother me. I was just like, ‘Whoa.’ There was nothing lead up to that... nothing told me that was going to happen.”
Jordan Spieth watches his putt on the first green during the Pro-Am round of the Sony Open on Wednesday, in Honolulu, Hawaii.