Jordan Spieth celebrated being back where it all began a decade ago with a Jordan Spieth lap on opening day Valspar Championship at Innisbrook – the tournament that gave him his big break PGA Tour.
At that event in 2013, a 19-year-old Spieth managed to finish T7 to earn special temporary membership on the PGA Tour, which gave him the stepping stone to an already fantastic career.
Spieth showed signs of what was to come during his last round a decade ago when he managed to hole a flop shot and pace out of a bunker to get the finish that would earn him the PGA Tour – and he hasn’t forgotten it.
“That was everything back then,” said Spieth. “I didn’t have status anywhere and had made the decision the week before not to secure Korn Ferry Tour status and instead go to Puerto Rico and play well and then came in here.
“I mean, that was huge. That opened up all the possibilities for the rest of the year, that was kind of a stepping stone to progressing all the way to the TOUR championship and then the Presidents Cup, and just really, really great memories that I otherwise wouldn’t have had for the end of this one Event.
“It’s a special tournament – I won’t forget that. It gave me a lot of freedom and essentially the ability to play a full schedule until I finally win later this year and then you actually get to choose where you want to go. So because of that event, it was a huge opportunity.”
It’s the kind of sliding-door moment PGA Tour pros don’t forget, knowing that margins are so fine that everything that followed for Spieth stemmed from his performance in 2013 Copperhead course.
Its sparkle master Debut, who finished second when he could have been a rare first-time winner, came a year later to announce himself as a big-time player – before slipping into the green jacket in 2015 and adding two more majors.
And Spieth celebrated his decade in the spotlight with a four-under 67 to be just a shot away from the first-round lead Valspar Championship 2023.
On a typical Spieth round, he hit just five fairways, but delivered a putting masterclass, hitting four shots down the field with the flat club in his best performance on the greens in two years, while also playing scramble and Sandsparen led the field.
Spieth nailed a 57-foot bomb for one of his four birdies in a somewhat bogey-free round, and even produced his signature move to recover from a miss-fire shot – resulting in a remarkable escape before emptying at least a 31-foot birdie when he faced a bogey.
“I would have signed for two or three like you do around the area,” Spieth admitted after making 147-foot putts that day.
“If you’re only hitting like five fairways you’re doing that around this course and shooting under par, that’s pretty solid. I was able to smuggle in a few extras with the putter today.
“I mean when I hit the tee ball (at 6) it was a crapshoot. Pretty lucky to get away with a three. I didn’t really have a shot at that hole there, but I told Michael (Greller, his caddy) if I walk and I have some form of momentum, I’ll be happy. So there were no complaints.”
It’s just how it’s been for a decade to watch Spieth, a flawed genius on the golf course, as he extricates himself from the toughest spots – all through his own fault, of course – and displays a skill and imagination that few can match, but also plays places on the course that few ever visit.
There’s never a dull moment watching the 29-year-old Texan squirm around a golf course, and it’s fitting that he’s bouncing back on the very course that got him his big break a decade ago.
Source : sports.yahoo.com