AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth says he was in a “panic” after a recent five-over-par round, but thinks he is now on the right track even if his putting is still a work in progress.
His game, specifically his putting, was a shambles only three weeks ago when he shot a first-round 76 at the PGA Tour event in Palm Harbour, Florida.
“I don’t shoot five-over very often ... You’re like ‘what the heck happened?’” the three-times major champion said on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s opening round at the U.S. Masters.
“I was like ‘what in the world is going on? Other guys are playing so well and I’m paired with them, and for whatever reason I’m just not able to do what they’re able to do right now’.”
Hard work on his stroke and alignment and a closing 66 at the Houston Open on Sunday, when he tied for third, suggests Spieth’s worst may be behind him.
“I made big strides in the last two weeks to get from kind of a panic place to a very calm, collected and confident place,” said the 24-year-old Texan.
“And it’s difficult to do in two weeks. Sometimes it takes years. And I feel like I’ve been able to speed that process up a lot over the last couple weeks.”
Spieth is unusual in that he sometimes putts looking at the hole, and sometimes looking at the ball, more commonly looking at the hole the closer he gets to it.
Having won the Masters in 2015, he goes into this year’s event with some baggage from the past couple of years.
He famously suffered a meltdown in 2016, when he had one arm in the Green Jacket before a quadruple-bogey at the 12th hole on the Sunday.
Last year he was two shots from the lead starting the final round, only to disappear without trace with a closing 75.
He heads into this year’s Masters, however, in a positive frame of mind.
“My iron play and off the tee has been fantastic,” he said.
“If the putt goes in, great, and if it doesn’t, you walk to the next hole and wait for your opportunities.”
Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Toby Davis