In a rare occurrence, Jordan Spieth has been made to look human with a putter in his hands over the past three days. The flat stick that was red hot as he landed two majors last season has turned cold this week.
It has resulted in him having 91 putts so far, including 30 in the 72 he signed for yesterday to sit comfortably out of contention on five over par. Having had 33 in the first round, it has been a frustrating fourth Open Championship appearance for the 22-year-old.
“It’s kind of rare, but I’m really struggling on the greens this week,” he admitted. “I’m struggling reading them, and then because of that I have a tough time hitting a nice, solid putt on a line and being confident about it. I’ve missed four putts maybe inside of five feet today; that’s not normal.”
Having made it to the weekend by the skin of his teeth, Spieth bagged four birdies in the opening seven holes before giving all those gains back in three damaging holes around the turn.
“I could have shot seven under on that front nine and I hit it well enough to shoot four or five under easy today,” he said.
The American was “disappointed” that the tees had been moved up on the 16th and 17th. “That was unnecessary,” he said of a step that had been taken due to fears that the wind might gust up to 30mph.
But he loved the Postage Stamp being played at exactly 100 yards – some 25 yards shorter than the previous day.
“The tee on No.8 is pretty cool,” he said. “For how strong the wind was when we were on the tee, I thought that was a great set-up.”
The man who won the opening two majors last season before getting into the mix as well in this event 12 months ago is having a quiet year by comparison.
As Spieth himself pointed out before the gun went off in Ayrshire, he has won twice on the PGA Tour so it has hardly been disastrous. The problem with setting the bar as high as he did last year is that people expect it to be matched. Spieth, though, reckons he should be cut some slack.
“I think it’s been a solid year and I think had last year not happened I’d be having a lot of positive questions,” he said.
“Instead most of the questions I get are comparing to last year and, therefore, negative because it’s not to the same standard. That makes it tough to then convince myself that you’re having a good year when the questions I get make me feel like it’s not.
“I would say what happened to me last year has happened less than a dozen times to anybody in golf ever in a year, so it seems a bit unfair at 22 to be expecting something like that all the time. But don’t feel sorry for me. I’ll still be okay.”
Spieth’s final chance to win a major this season will come in just a fortnight’s time, when the US PGA Championship, which is being held at Baltusrol in New Jersey, takes place a week earlier than normal because of the Olympics having been added to the schedule this summer. “I feel like I’ve been getting a little more frustrated off the golf course than normal,” he said in turning one eye towards that.
“Ball striking has really let me down this year, but my game feels as though it is rounding into shape. It’s very close, and I feel confident about getting back to kind of the basics at home and getting ready for PGA,” he added.