DUBLIN, Ohio – If Jordan Spieth goes on to win this week’s Memorial Tournament, could he possibly declare his slump – the one that extends nearly two years now back to the 2017 Open Championship – over?
Well, no. Because he will not utter the word.
For the fourth week in a row, Spieth broke par in the opening round of a tournament, a first in his career. This time he carded a six-under 66 on Thursday in the Memorial Tournament, his second-best score in seven starts at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
The round had its good moments, including hitting 12 of 14 fairways and needing just 22 putts. And great moments like two chip-ins from off the green (which helped the putting stats). He had just one bogey, coming on the penultimate hole.
Four straight weeks of competition isn’t ideal, but he’s young enough, 25, to handle it. And it might be aiding him as he seeks more ball-striking consistency and goes for his third straight top-10 finish after failing to post anything that high before he placed third behind Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson in the PGA Championship two weeks ago.
“To keep playing, trying to trust things on the golf course in tournament play is big for me now because it's kind of a significant type of feeling through the swing that if I took a couple of weeks off and came back, it's a little harder to trust it right way,” the Texan said.
“But if you're used to trusting it, it's almost like playing through -- I don't want to say slump -- but playing through anything that's been a little off. And more trusting on the golf course the better.”
There’s no doubt he’s been a little off after winning 11 PGA Tour titles, including three majors, by the age of 23. But don’t call it a slump. Because he won’t. He made a point to avoid the word in his pre-championship remarks at Bethpage Black, where he contended in the PGA, and that attempt at a bit of self-hypnosis, of sorts, seemed to make a difference.
Or maybe he just knew that he was on his way to finding his way out of the wilderness.
“I feel I’m doing significant feels through the swing, probably more so than I'd like," he said, meaning that swing adjustments he has been making aren't yet second nature. "But it’s just progressing in the right direction. It’s just going to take a little bit more time, probably.”