Bethpage Black seemed an unlikely venue for Jordan Spieth to snap a slump.
Colonial Country Club, on the other hand, looks to be the ideal setting for him to end a victory drought.
Spieth is one of the headliners of the Charles Schwab ChallengeJordan Spieth brings confidence to Colonial after resurgence at Bethpage at Colonial, one of his favorite haunts on the PGA Tour. In six previous starts, he had a victory in 2016, ties for second in 2015 and 2017 and two other top-15 finishes.
In 24 rounds on the historic real estate in Fort Worth, Texas, Spieth’s broken par 19 times and has a career average of 67.63. Only twice – in the third round in 2013 and the second round in 2015 – has he signed for an over-par score.
His history bodes well as Spieth seeks his 12th PGA Tour title. And his solid performance in last week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black restored some much sought after confidence and has him energized at Colonial.
“This is the best I’ve felt in quite a while. I’m very happy,” Spieth said after he tied for third in the PGA Championship, six shots behind victor Brooks Koepka.
He felt pretty good ahead of the PGA Championship despite nearly two years of substandard play, saying as much when he told the assembled media his slump was over. Eyebrows were raised, seeing that Spieth, who won 10 PGA Tour titles and three major championships from 2015-17, had just one top-10 since his most recent victory in the 2017 British Open. Heading into Bethpage, he hadn’t had a top-20 this year and the former No. 1 in the world had fallen to No. 39.
But on a course that favored bangers like Koepka and fellow Bash Brother Dustin Johnson, who finished second, Spieth rode four days of strong putting and worthy iron play to get into contention on the weekend.
“I knew that it was unlikely on this golf course that I was going to have a chance to win, and that’s a humbling feeling for me,” Spieth said. “But I knew that if I played the course the right way, had the right mentality, kept putting the way I’ve been putting, that I would be in it and having a chance to make some noise.
“I don’t feel like I overachieved. I feel like I can go to a course next week that I’ve had success at, and is a way better fit for me I think than Bethpage. Bethpage, just when the rough is up this high, obviously I can’t pick a course that’s probably further away from it being for me. Having said that, and still feeling like I have work to do, I’m in a good place.”
Colonial is certainly a good place for Spieth, one of the top contenders alongside defending champion Justin Rose, reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Kisner and Graeme McDowell, who said the course will feel like a pitch-and-putt after what the players faced at Bethpage Black.
Colonial is a 7,209-yard, par-70, tree-lined layout that features tight fairways and several doglegs and favors precision over power. Players will be called upon to shape shots to get the better of the course.
Ben Hogan won here five times, thus the course’s nickname, Hogan’s Alley. Well, the course is right up Spieth’s alley, too. Especially after he’s endured the challenges of a slump that lasted nearly two years.
“I have full belief in my process, my mentality, my selfishness and my work ethic,” Spieth said. “I put in more hours over the last five months than I’ve ever put in my game in a five-month stretch, just trying to get to where I can be out here on a major championship Sunday making par saves, making birdie putts, and contending even without having my best stuff.
“That’s like 2015, 2016, 2017, that’s how I felt then. I’ve just been waiting patiently for this work to continue to get better and it’s very positive going forward.”