PGA Championship

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Players Championship

Players 2023: Jordan Spieth comically says he got 'Sawgrassed' and plenty of other players can relate

March 12, 2023

Jordan Spieth reacts on the second green during the final round of the Players Championship.

Jared C. Tilton

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Jordan Spieth and TPC Sawgrass are not friends. They haven’t been since his tie for fourth in his debut in 2014. On Sunday, Spieth earned his first top-20 at the Players since that maiden trip on the Stadium Course. But for a three-time major winner, it’s a relatively poor record that, at least until next year, will continue.

But, boy, was it entertaining this week.

Spieth capped the 2023 Players with an even-par 72 to finish tied for 19th at six under, a distant 11 shots behind winner and fellow Dallas resident Scottie Scheffler. Then, Spieth fired off this brilliant line.

“You get Sawgrassed sometimes,” Spieth said. The 29-year-old was talking about a bad break in the greenside bunker on the par-5 11th in the final round. But getting “Sawgrassed” speaks to his rollercoaster week.

On Friday, Spieth sat at two over par and on the cutline playing the par-5 ninth (his 18th) when he blocked his drive toward the water. It ricocheted off the knee of an active U.S. Marine and into the fairway. Spieth muscled a fairway metal up to the greenside rough and chipped in for eagle. Then, he had that Marine, 47-year-old Lt. Col. Matt Cutler, hang around for the weekend to watch the golf.

Spieth made the cut, shot 66 Saturday to get somewhat in the mix before a final round featuring three birdies and as many bogeys. In his seven Players starts since that impressive debut, Spieth had missed the cut five times—with a best finish of T-41 before this week.


Jordan Spieth walks to the first tee before the final round of the Players Championship.

Ben Jared

“It's a tough track; a top-25 for me out here feels like a win anywhere else,” Spieth said. “It’s just my history. I was kind of half-kidding, but my history here isn't great.”

But why does Spieth play poorly at TPC Sawgrass? Out of his 26 rounds, only 11 have been under par. Granted, it’s a tough course that usually ranks in the teens for demanding courses on the PGA Tour. On that question, 13-time PGA Tour winner Spieth gave the most Spieth answer.

“I just don't play with a lot of discipline, and I didn't today,” he said. “I thought I should have birdied 10 and 11, and so I get on 12, and instead of just bailing out right in the collection area and making birdie, I'm trying to hit a driver on the green and make the birdie easier, have a chance at eagle, and I hit one in the water. I just do that every single year here. [On] 11, I did everything right; there happened to not be any sand in the bunker, so it bounced, and I end up making par.

“You get Sawgrassed sometimes. Actually, every round everyone gets Sawgrassed to an extent … something quirky happens. But my aggressive nature and inability to accept sometimes not making birdie when I thought I was going to, makes me make too many mistakes on a course that you can't get away with it.”

Spieth now can look ahead to Augusta National next month—where he does have a glittering record. In addition to his 2015 Masters victory, Spieth has two second-place finishes and two thirds.

“[I’m] playing well … I got a couple more weeks [on the PGA Tour] before I got ready for the Masters,” he said.