Jordan Spieth went winless last season on the PGA Tour. It’s the first time since 2014 that he hasn’t won. For many, it is quite surprising that Spieth couldn’t pull off a win, but for anyone who watched him it was easy to see where he was struggling.
Spieth went from 39th in strokes gained putting in 2017 to 123rd in 2018.
The drop is surprising considering he was second in strokes gained putting in 2016 and ninth in 2015. Most would figure that a three-time major winner would spend his off season putting in work on the putting green, but Spieth confirmed prior to the Sony Open this week that he didn’t do that and after getting married and enjoying his honeymoon he is using this week to “knock off some rust.”
Well-known swing coach Hank Haney told ESPN.com that it appears that Spieth has the yips.
“He’s got to get his putting figured out. I think he will. But he has to. And I think that spilled into the rest of his game. When I watch him putt, he visibly has the yips. You watch his hands on short putts and there is a tremor in there. I don’t care if the putt goes in or doesn’t. He was center cut on his first putt at the Ryder Cup. But his hands were shaking. He had to miss more short putts than anybody on Tour.”
While I’m not on the level of Haney, I did mention this prior to The Open in 2018 where he was still listed at +2200 to win. After The Open, where Spieth finished tied for ninth, he had finishes of T60, T12, T25, T12, and T55.
Spieth opened the Sony Open this week with a three-over 73 and made just 33 feet, seven inches worth of putts.
However, Spieth doesn’t seem too concerned with his putting:
“Actually, pretty good. I mean, felt comfortable with the putter today. Didn’t end up making anything, but felt like I hit my lines; felt comfortable.
“That’s closer than the swing is. It’s not to where I’m just over it and playing shots or over it and seeing lines and hitting putts. It’ll get there. I’m not worried about it.”
To state the obvious, if Spieth is hoping to win in 2019, he’s going to have to turn his putting around.
Spieth has dropped out of the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time since 2014.