FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – After weeks and months of professing his proximity to a turnaround, Jordan Spieth finally has a result to back up his self-belief.
Spieth battled difficult conditions Sunday at Bethpage Black, carding a 1-over 71 that left him at 2 under for the week. On a layout where bombers Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson finished first and second, Spieth was all smiles about his T-3 finish even though he came up short in his quest to claim the final leg of the career Grand Slam.
“This is the best I’ve felt in quite a while. I’m very happy,” Spieth said. “I knew coming into this week that it was unlikely on this golf course that I was going to have a chance to win, and that’s a humbling feeling for me. But I knew that if I played the course the right way, had the right mentality, kept putting the way I was putting, that I would be in it and having a chance to make some noise.”
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Part of Spieth’s enthusiasm was surely rooted in the fact that this result has been a long time coming. He entered the week with nary a top-20 finish in 13 starts this season, and he hadn’t cracked the top 10 since The Open last summer. His finish this week on the Black Course signaled his best result in more than a year, dating back to his third-place showing at the 2018 Masters.
Not surprisingly, Spieth’s biggest strength was with putter in hand on a layout where he was placed at a distinct disadvantage off the tee. He led the field in strokes gained: putting for the week, picking up nearly 11 shots on the field on the greens.
Spieth’s lean season has led to plenty of speculation about the state of his game, but after gleaning positives from middling results this spring he seemed relieved to finally have a high finish to once again call his own.
“I put in more hours over the last five months than I’ve ever put in my game in a five-month stretch, just trying to get to where I can be out here on a major championship Sunday, making par saves, making birdie putts, and contending even without my best stuff,” Spieth said. “I’ve just been waiting very patiently for this work to continue to get better, but it’s very positive going forward.”