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Players Championship 2019: Jordan Spieth's birdie binge not enough to make the cut

March 15, 2019
The PLAYERS Championship - Round Two

Gregory Shamus

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Only three players made more birdies than Jordan Spieth in the first two rounds of the Players Championship, with Jason Day, Brian Harman and Kevin Kisner each tallying a dozen over the first 36 holes at TPC Sawgrass.

They’re both near the top of the leader board.

Spieth? He had 11 birdies and has the weekend off after spectacularly missing the cut by three strokes thanks to a pair of scorecards that looked closer to that of a 3-handicap rather than that of a three-time major champion.

It’s the third time in the 25-year-old Texan’s last seven starts and fourth time in six career appearances at the PGA Tour’s signature event that he has been sent packing following a three-under 69 on Friday that left him at one over for the week.

“It’s a work in progress from my long irons to woods,” Spieth said of the swing that led to him ranking near the bottom of the field in strokes gained-off the tee and approach to the green at TPC Sawgrass. “That’s what killed me around here.”

You could say that.

Spieth hit just 12 of 28 fairways and 21 of 36 greens at TPC Sawgrass. For the year, he ranks 215th in driving accuracy and 161st in greens in regulation.

That’s not all.

Spieth’s magical ability to scramble seems to have vanished, too, as he ranks outside the top 100 in nearly every statistical category around the green. He’s also in the triple digits when it comes to strokes gained-putting, though he at least showed some sign of life with the putter on Friday, when he needed just 24 putts in all.

“The putting is back,” said Spieth, who hasn’t raised a trophy since the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. “It’s very close to being top of the world again.”

The rest of his game not so much.

Spieth continues to search, adding that it’s a “visual thing” with the clubface looking closed to him.

The good news is that the Masters is just a few weeks away. In five trips to Augusta National, he has had a chance to win every time, doing so once, in 2015, finishing twice two more occasions and third once. Perhaps his game will click there again.

Is it time to sound the alarm? Check back in a few weeks.