Jordan Spieth’s goal entering this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am? Get healthy.
Spieth is coming off a rough week at Torrey Pines, where he not only missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open to snap his PGA Tour-leading active streak but also developed a bacterial infection in his stomach that forced a trip to the hospital. While his condition has improved, Spieth admitted he’s still not 100% as he prepares to compete in one of his favorite events on the calendar.
“I was really struggling,” Spieth said Tuesday. “Having nothing in the tank and playing Torrey Pines South is really a tough go, so a few days of rest and then starting to kind of get back into it this week. So, I don’t know what to expect, but when there’s good weather here on the Monterey Peninsula, it’s just hard to beat.”
A few strolls around Pebble Beach Golf Links in chamber-of-commerce weather arguably can remedy any ailment, though Spieth is also about halfway through a 10-day antibiotic regimen for what doctors diagnosed as clostridioides difficile, which is a bacterium that causes an infection of the large intestine.
Spieth believes he likely suffered the infection after running through a couple of other antibiotics trying to “kick” a “nasty sinus infection.” After the initial stomach discomfort didn’t subside, he ended up going to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla last Wednesday to get checked out.
“Everything was just kind of running through me,” said Spieth, who underwent tests but didn’t receive the results until after his first-round 70 on Torrey Pines’ North Course. Had he known the diagnosis beforehand, Spieth said, he may have withdrawn before hitting a shot.
“My parents, even they were like, ‘Yeah, you just did not look like yourself’ on PGA Tour Live or whatever,” Spieth added. “I mean, the last like three holes of the first round I was just trying to get in the house and then pretty much the whole second round was a tough go for me.”
Spieth backed his opening score up with a 78 to end his run of consecutive cuts at 20 – only 122 shy of Tiger Woods’ seemingly untouchable record.
Full-field tee times from AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Woods made 142 straight weekends in a seven-year span, a streak that, funny enough, began after Woods chose to withdraw from the 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am rather than return nearly seven months later to complete the rain-delayed tournament, which was shortened to 54 holes before the final round was officially wrapped up in mid-August. Also coincidentally, Spieth attended the tournament that ended Woods’ miraculous run. It was the 2005 Byron Nelson at Cottonwood Valley in Irving, Texas, and an 11-year-old Spieth was watching as Woods bogeyed the last hole to miss the cut by a shot.
“Nobody missed out on Tiger on the weekend in seven years,” Spieth recalled, “and now I just missed out on the weekend of Tiger in seven years.”
Nearly two decades later and a main draw in his own right, Spieth still gets upset over MCs. Though this latest one, his first missed cut since last year’s Farmers, may not have been the worst thing to have happened to him.
“I hate missing weekends. I wish that there were no cuts ever. It’s not something you really want to think about, unless you get to that point on Friday and you maybe have to change the way you’re playing something,” Spieth said. “But it was a little bit of a different circumstance because, yes, I played poorly and it’s not to say that I would have made the cut if I was 100%, but I told Michael when I got done, I was almost like relieved because I felt like pretty bad and didn’t have anything in the system, and I was just hoping that maybe something actually was wrong so this wasn’t like normal, in a weird way.”
With the stomach issue nearly resolved, Spieth can start to focus on what will be his 10th straight appearance in the Pro-Am. In nine previous starts, Spieth owns a win (2017), four more top-10s and just one finish worse than T-22.
No wonder Spieth says he’s “fallen in love” with the Monterey Peninsula and its courses, including Pebble and its co-hosts Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course.
“It’s arguably the most beautiful place in the United States, especially for a golf lover, it’s got to be a No. 1 spot,” Spieth said. “And then when we get the forecast that we have this week, it just amplifies how amazing it is to play these golf courses and I’ve played well here.”
He just hopes this week he can stick around for four rounds – and preferably without a hospital visit.