USA TODAY US Edition
Spieth shrugs off ‘slump’ and his critics
World No. 2 says game is ready for next FedExCup event
“You just need to keep your head down, stay focused and try and be the guy that people are talking about next week.” Jordan Spieth
LAKE FOREST, I LL . Geez, Jordan Spieth misses two consecutive cuts for the first time since turning pro and one would think the sky fell on the Golden Child’s head.
One golf publication had a screaming headline — “Why Jordan Spieth’s next tournament could be his most important of the year” — ahead of this week’s BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club, the third of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.
Pundits weighed in, and some of the most unflattering pictures of Spieth in dejection mode during The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship popped up everywhere. Comedian Larry David even gave his take on Spieth’s receding hairline.
Then the Masters and U.S. Open champion stood by in anonymity as cameras zoomed in on Tiger Woods in a suite watching the game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Spieth, the No. 2 player in the world, was standing just 3 yards away.
And, my, oh my, the 22-yearold kid hasn’t won since July 12.
He can’t putt. He’s physically worn down and mentally fried. His driving has been erratic, his iron play spotty. And he’s no longer getting breaks.
To all of which Spieth, who won two other events outside the majors this year, responded with a laugh and a smile.
“I’m not aware of the specifics on what Joe sitting on his couch in Montana thinks about my golf game,” Spieth said Tuesday after a practice round at Conway Farms. “But I am aware that people thought (about the missed cuts). ... It just seems like it’s interesting how it’s a what-can-youdo-for-me now kind of (mentality) when the spotlight is on.”
Spieth didn’t go looking for the commentary after his woeful performances in the first two events of the FedExCup Playoffs, but since he makes use of Instagram and Twitter, it was hard to ignore. He was stunned by the number of photos showing his frequent disappointment while he missed two cuts. But he never reached a boiling point.
“I just had two bad weeks. Just leave it at that,” he said. “Everyone has their opinions, and the hardest thing for me to do is to not react to that and just to say, you know what, two weeks ago, everyone said, ‘You’re the best there is, you’re the best in the world, you’re awesome, man.’ And then Jason (Day) wins and Jason is the best in the world. … Rickie (Fowler) wins, and all of a sudden people are coming out of their igloos and they’re saying, ‘Man, that’s my guy. He’s the best in the world.’
“The more I can smile and laugh about that and the fact that people are true fans. ... It’s just interesting from our point of view seeing what’s published. You just need to keep your head down, stay focused and try and be the guy that people are talking about next week.”
In his off week, Spieth made good use of his downtime. He practiced a bit, spent time with family and went to the GiantsCowboys game. The night before the Texas Longhorns football team’s home opener, he wore his green jacket and watched as the band spelled out his name on the field. And he found his game again. “Everything is on point,” he said. “My game is in a solid state right now. It’s in a state where I can certainly shoot into double digits under par, and I believe that. It’s just a matter of getting it rolling, get into a groove and starting to see some putts go in and get an under-par round started so that I can settle in a little easier. I feel very confident about where I’m at right this second.”