Torrey Pines revisited: A reminder of how Jordan Spieth has rediscovered his mojo

Back in January, at the Farmers Insurance Open, the 27-year-old was apparently stuck in a funk, but he’s been brilliant ever since.

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Jordan Spieth top 10 at 19/10

Spin back five months.

Shouldn't take long for most of us, we haven't done much.

But head back to late January and the PGA Tour's first visit to Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open.

Jordan Spieth carded a second round 75, missed the cut and departed without anyone noticing.

The one-time wonderkid, who talked to his ball like a Roald Dahl character, was stuck in a rut.

He hadn't made a top five anywhere in over 18 months, hadn't lifted a trophy in over three and a half years, and just making the top 30 was looking like a success because he hadn't managed that in ten starts.

Now compare and contrast with his arrival at Torrey Pines this week: the difference is almost comical.


He no sooner left San Diego than he was transformed: in his very next start, at the Phoenix Open, he shared the 54 hole lead; a week later, at Pebble Beach, he owned the 54 hole lead; a month on from that he converted the win on home soil in the Texas Open.

In the 12 starts between Torrey Pines visits he's ticked off 10 top 20 finishes, eight of them top 10s.

He's talking to his ball again, fidgeting and twitching as it arcs to the green, gabbling away at it to twist this way and that. For three years it ignored him; now it has started to listen again.

If Spieth was a Dahl creation he'd have found the golden ticket, a giant peach or, most likely, a marvellous medicine.

But he's a normal person, so what's actually happened is that he worked very hard, with little to show for it, and then finally the tide turned.


"Overall, everything's been quite a bit better and there's reasons why," he said ahead of the first round of this week's US Open. "I've just been sticking to the game plan and working on those reasons.

"I've made progress tee to green, but I feel like I've been moving the right direction with the flat-stick as well.

"And it was just around that time, being here, when I started to get a really good grasp on what things are supposed to feel like through impact. What I did that was such an advantage for a long time, my DNA, it had gotten off. So it was a case of working my way back to that feel through impact."

The disparity is not just between courses visits, but also between how he felt approaching last year's US Open at Winged Foot and how he feels this week.

He's still chasing a fourth Major Championship, and second triumph in the event, but he's in a much better head-space.

"Winged Foot was, 'Oh, boy, here we go,' and this week I'm in a position where I can stand on the 10th tee on Thursday and think I can win this golf tournament," he said.

"As much as you want to say that you can fake it till you make it, I needed that confidence between then and now to really believe that standing on the tee.

"In a US Open, when you're really struggling off the tee, it's just not going to go well. You could get away with it at other places but not at a US Open.


"I think I've had success maybe once on this course out of playing it five times, so I'm probably going to need to reshape the game plan a little bit to maintain that confidence through the week.

"But at Winged Foot I three-putted the first and left a ball in a tree at the second. From there it wasn't very good.

"Being in a better place allows me to feel like I'm teeing off with a little more patience that, if I do make a couple of bogeys, it's fine, because I feel like I'm going to make some birdies, versus: 'Oh, no, the wheels are coming off.'"

READ MORE: Phil Mickelson's US Open quest: A journey fuelled by dreaming, thinking, and over-thinking

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