Spieth Spins Poor 2018 Into Positive Motivation

A year in which a professional golfer notches 13 top-25s in 23 starts — including five top-10s, a solo third-place finish at the Masters — and cashes $2.8 million on the course can only be considered a disappointment for a select few.

Fortunately — and unfortunately, in a sense — Jordan Spieth is one of those elite few. The 2017-18 PGA Tour season for Spieth was widely considered a wasted year for the 25-year-old. No wins anywhere in the world and a summer marred by putting woes has the 11-time winner on the Tour looking to turn a new leaf this week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

“It’s a blessing and a curse, kind of, the perfectionism that I kind of have,” Spieth said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I just overdid it (last season). I was spending longer, I spent more time at the course when my game was off than when it was on. Didn’t really find the right balance.

“It was a building year. 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 looking 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.”

Spieth’s new PGA Tour season is starting earlier than usual for a few reasons: a nod-and-wink agreement with the PGA Tour to play a few new events to appease his punishment for failing to play in 25 events last season as well as his upcoming wedding to longtime girlfriend Annie Verrett

As a result, Spieth is playing this week in the Shriners and next week in Mexico at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and not the Australian Open or Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challange. 

“In the past, I’ve played in November, December, and therefore this was a time of rest and off-season,” Spieth said, referencing his typical trips to Australia and the Bahamas. “Now that I’m not going to be playing down there in Australia and whatnot, I still wanted to play this fall. Those events this week and next week were extremely highly talked about by my friends and ones that when I’ve been watching them the during off-season in the past I’ve been jealous I haven’t been there.

“I’m playing the same number (of tournaments) from the end of the team events until the new year. As far as number of tournaments next year, that’s going to change for everybody given the schedule being compact and shortened.”

Spieth begins his seventh season on the PGA Tour ranked 13th in the world, his lowest ranking since 2014. He’ll get his campaign underway on Thursday alongside last week’s winner Cameron Champ and the newly-minted 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Aaron Wise at 7:30 a.m. PST.