The 25-year-old comes into 2019 ranked 17th in the world after a disappointing year by his standards
Jordan Spieth Returns After Winless 2018
A year ago this week, Jordan Spieth was the world number two and the Champion Golfer of the Year.
He had, at that point, won 11 times on the PGA Tour.
A year later, he still has 11 wins and has seen his world ranking drop from two to 17, with the likes of fellow Americans Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson all rocketing past him in the rankings.
For the first time since 2014 (where he was eligible to play after winning the John Deere Classic in ’13), Spieth has missed the Tournament of Champions and begins his year at the Sony Open.
There is, of course, no need to worry for the Texan, who has won three Majors and over $38m on the PGA Tour alone, however he will surely be looking to have a better year in 2019.
Jordan makes his first start of 2019 in Hawaii this week which will be the first time he tees it up in competition since the Mayakoba Classic in November, where he missed the cut.
That followed two T55s at the Shriners Open and BMW Championship after he failed to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time in his career.
After the BMW Championship, he headed to Le Golf National with his American teammates where he and Justin Thomas formed a brilliant partnership to win three points from their four matches.
It ended on a slightly sad note for Spieth, though, losing 5&4 to Thorbjorn Olesen.
Nevertheless, Spieth’s return of three points put him as USA’s second-highest points scorer.
And whilst he didn’t win or record a runner-up finish in 2018, he did come agonisingly close to winning the Masters, where a bogey on the 18th left him two back of Patrick Reed.
He shot a 64 in the final round, with a costly bogey down the last, to eventually finish 3rd.
He also went out in the final group at Carnoustie a few months later and ended up T9th after a lacklustre final round which included 0 birdies.
“It was a building year,” said the American towards the end of 2018.
“I look back at last year as something that I think will be beneficial for me in the long run. I really believe that.
“I know that’s an easy thing to say at kind of the positive in a negative, but there were tangible, mechanical things that I needed to address, and I was able to throughout the season.”
So, what does 2019 hold for him?
Well, he is currently joint-favourite to win the Masters with Woods and McIlroy, so the bookies clearly haven’t given up on him.
There were wide remarks that it was his putting that let him down and, statistically, it did – but there were many other parts of his game that let him down.
In 2017, a season in which he won the Pebble Beach Pro Am, the Travelers Championship and The Open, and finished 2nd three times, Spieth was 1st in SG: Approach and Total, which he was down in the 30s a year later.
He also dropped from 12th to 49th in SG: Around the green and saw his SG:Putting rank outside of the top 120 – that result would have been near-unthinkable before 2018 with Spieth known as arguably the greatest putter in the game.
Off the course, last year did see him get married and he clearly went through swing and putting technique issues which would have affected his confidence and trust in his game.
Whilst the likes of Koepka, DJ, Schauffele, DeChambeau and Reed have been the starring Americans over the past year, don’t forget about Spieth who has now had a full two months off to prepare for what could be a huge season ahead.
If you are looking for a textbook illustration…
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