Jordan Spieth has a green jacket among five top-three finishes at Augusta National, tying the legendary Arnold Palmer for the most in history among players through their first nine Masters.
Embarking on his 10th Masters at just 29 years old, Spieth was quick to put some context to those numbers.
“I haven’t had a lot of opportunities on the back nine (of the final round),” he said Monday. “I’ve back-doored some of those top finishes.”
After posting five rounds of 67 or better through his first five trips to Augusta, Spieth has none in his past four. That includes a lone top-15 -- a tie for third two years ago when he began the final round six shots off the lead and ultimately finished three shots behind champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan.
That was in the midst of a multi-year process Spieth went through to “re-engineer” his game. He missed the cut at last year’s Masters, but won his following start at the RBC Heritage to return to the top 10 in the world rankings.
Spieth arrived at Augusta this week with high expectations, despite letting recent opportunities to win slip by at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Valspar Championship.
“Tenth appearance now, feels crazy,” he said. “I’d love to get in the mix, because right now I feel better about my game than I’ve felt since probably 2017.
The next few years saw Spieth’s game spiral out of form. He admitted to trying to work his way out of the funk without “knowing what I was really doing.” He eventually let his “guard down,” and sought advice from fellow players he trusts along with his inner circle.
“I’ve got the scars to show the hours, but it’s what I want to do,” he said. “Because it’s really, really enjoyable when you start to feel progression and confidence coming back. To me, there’s nothing like it. It’s everything to kind of re-fall in love with the game.
By 2021, Spieth used a win at the Valero Texas Open to springboard his way back among the elite of the game. However, he’s still trying to reclaim that early Masters magic, and enters this week with a career scoring average of 70.7 at the Masters along with eight cuts made.
Spieth isn’t likely to get at least one wish granted this week -- a firmer, faster Masters. With the forecast calling for cooler and damp conditions, he expects to lean into his vaunted short game.
“When you get that many opportunities at a young age, and you feel good about your chances here, I want to win it again,” he said. “That’s the goal.
“I feel good about the form I’m in. I don’t feel like I have all of the weapons right now, but I have enough.”
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