Jordan Spieth’s swing demons appear to have followed him to Winged Foot.
The 2015 US Open champion laboured to an uneven three-over 73 in the opening round of this year’s championship, leaving him well off the early pace set at five-under by his good friend Justin Thomas.
Three-time major winner Spieth has not had his troubles to seek over the last few years. Without a win since the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale, the 27-year-old had only three top-10 finishes in 14 starts on the PGA Tour last season and missed the cut on his 2020-21 campaign opener at last week’s Safeway Open.
Having spent 26 weeks at the top of the world rankings between August 2015 and March 2016, the Texan has now fallen to world No.67.
After an uneven opening round at Winged Foot – where he suffered the ignominy of getting a ball lodged in a tree – Spieth admitted he’s “really struggling” with his ball-striking.
“There's a lot that's off,” he said. “I'm not really sure [what it is]. If I knew, I'd fix it. I'm kind of just working through it and looking forward to having a little more time off to figure it out. I mean, yeah, I'm late behind [the ball]. The second I try to get back out in front of, it's hooking.
“Standing on a tee at the US Open and not exactly knowing where the ball is going to go is not a great feeling. I know you guys probably haven't experienced that before, but it's not incredibly enjoyable.”
Despite his ongoing difficulties, Spieth remains committed to finding a solution.
“I'll grind it out,” he said. “I don't ever give up. I have no reason to. I'm here.”
“I feel that, even with not having much tee to green, I can somehow still shoot an even or under par round on this course, and that's incredible self-belief in the grind.”