On a day celebrating the resurrection, Jordan Spieth won for the first time in nearly four years, his victory at the Valero Texas Open capping a journey in which the former world No. 1 almost fell out of the top 100 before gradually recapturing the form that made him the most compelling player in the game for a time.
“This is a monumental win for me. It’s one that I’ve certainly thought about for a long time,” Spieth said Sunday after beating Charley Hoffman by two strokes for his 12th career PGA Tour victory.
Looking for the Masters favorite this week?
It’s Spieth and he’s not just a sentimental choice. He’s trending in all the right ways as he heads to a place he plays like few others
For all of his success, Spieth has never played flawless golf. He blends rough edges with sustained flashes of brilliance and that has returned in 2021, putting him top of mind as Masters week arrives.
“It’s been a long road. I never really doubted in myself to be able to kind of get back to where I wanted to go but when you lose confidence a lot of times it’s hard to see the positive going forward.”
- Jordan Spieth
Spieth’s struggles have been almost as engrossing as his successes, as he tumbled down the rankings and into borderline irrelevance while battling ballstriking issues that at times infiltrated his short game and putting. Spieth persevered, never dodging the issue publicly, trusting he and longtime coach Cameron McCormick would find the way back.
“It’s been a long road,” Spieth said. “I never really doubted in myself to be able to kind of get back to where I wanted to go but when you lose confidence a lot of times it’s hard to see the positive going forward.”
At times, Spieth sounded like a man trying to talk his way out of a prolonged slump but earlier this year the results began to come. He began hitting more fairways and his misses weren’t as costly.
He stacked one encouraging finish on top of another and, in the past month, Spieth has looked like a player ready to win again. But what once seemed to come almost automatically had turned into a fascinating case study of a player fighting himself and his swing, ultimately coming out of the darkness.
Still, until Sunday in San Antonio, Texas, Spieth hadn’t held a trophy since he won the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale at a time when it seemed his run might last for years. As he flirted with chances to win again, Spieth seemed to pull fans along with him, almost willing him to a victory.
Three times this year, Spieth had carried the 54-hole lead into Sunday. He finally got it across the finish line this time.
“I felt like I just wanted to come out and smile and try to have some fun,” Spieth said. “That’s been kind of a challenge for me on the Sundays that I’ve been in contention … I’ve kind of just not come out with a real lightness to me and today I did which I thought was nice.”
Ron Green Jr.