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Jordan Spieth was not a happy golfer when his last major championship start ended early.
The five-time Masters top-three finisher missed the cut at Augusta National in April and the experience left him feeling sore. "I hated it," he said a week later. "It was the worst feeling as a golfer that I can remember. "It's my favourite tournament in the world and I just love contending at it." Nor was it a mere strop. His frustration was ramped up by the knowledge that he'd been hard done to; that the result didn't reflect the golf he was playing. "I was hitting it really, really well and I honestly just didn't feel like I deserved to miss that cut," he explained. "I felt like I hit shots right where I wanted to and ended up somehow at 6-over. "There were wind gusts and it wasn't playing easy, but I really felt like I got some unfortunate breaks.
— Jordan Spieth (@JordanSpieth) May 16, 2022
"I've been hitting the ball much better than I did last year, I just haven't been scoring." His immediate response? "I put in a lot of hours on the putting green." And the result? A week after his lost weekend he was celebrating with a tartan jacket instead of a green one - he had bounced back to win the RBC Heritage.
He then took three weeks away from the tour, but he used that time wisely, taking a buddy trip with Justin Thomas to Southern Hills Country Club, host of this week's PGA Championship, to acquaint himself with the course.
And then? He finished second in last week's AT&T Byron Nelson. Was it the perfect preparation? Or has he peaked too soon? Let's take a close look at the various angles ahead of his quest to complete the career grand slam this week.
Spieth playing a Major off a top-three finish
Spieth has played 36 major championships and eight times he arrived fresh off a top-three finish. From those eight starts he has won three times, finished third twice and fourth once.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 16, 2022
From his other 28 starts he has four seconds and a third. In other words, he's good off any sort of prep, but he's also very good off an excellent run out (and most unlikely to be fazed that he was second last Sunday).
Spieth on Southern Hills
From his reconnaissance trip we've learned that Spieth likes Southern Hills. "I thought the golf course was fantastic, I loved it," he said. "The green complexes are perfectly fitting to the holes. A lot of the greens play maybe three-quarters of the size that they actually are. "There's a lot more run-offs than I remember into Bermuda chipping areas that are mowed. So you can be left with a lot of really delicate little shots. "I think it's going to be a really firm and fast PGA and I think it's going to be one of the higher scoring PGAs that we have seen.
"It was a great test. I really enjoyed playing it."
Southern Hills Country Club
Spieth on his putting standing up on the back nine last Sunday "I made some really nice 5-foot sliders down the stretch. I had one after I blew the first putt past by five or six feet on 14, that's a putt that is really nerve-wracking because it's a must-make and you also you don't want to three-putt. And it was a little double breaker, I just cruised it right in the middle. "A four-footer on 15 and then at 16 I had one that broke about a cup from six or seven feet there. "Those putts are really nice to make. I was more outwardly-focused than stroke-focused. That's really important under pressure as I head into a Major. I gained a lot of confidence on the greens this week. "And we'll get on greens next week that remind me a lot of Colonial."
The Colonial factor
That latter point about the greens at Southern Hills reminding him of Colonial is intriguing because it sits alongside another similarity between the two courses - they were both designed by Perry Maxwell. And how has Spieth fared at Colonial?
He won there in 2016, was the runner-up in 2015, 2017 and 2021, and he has another four top 15 finishes in just nine starts. In the last three years, he has ranked first, first and fourth for SG Putting. He has an average short stick gain on the field in those three years of 7.732 (in the same period he also has a 1.64 for Putting Average).
Spieth is in hot form and likes playing a Major that way. Southern Hills and Colonial were designed by the same man; Spieth loves Colonial. He thinks the greens at Colonial are like Southern Hills; he has great numbers on Colonial greens. And he's irked that he made a mess of the Masters. Too neat? Or the ideal package?
The article Jordan Spieth’s tilt at US PGA Championship title fuelled by red hot form and Colonial past appeared first on Planetsport.com.