Defending Champion Jordan Spieth is not just enjoying the spectacular views in the Bahamas but also his golf – he is shining again at the top of the leaderboard, something that comes easy to him of late.
Spieth rallied from a rugged start Friday with three straight birdies, and then a surge on the back nine carried him to a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead with Jimmy Walker and Bill Haas going into the weekend at the Hero World Challenge.
Spieth is wrapping up a big year, and he may want to pick this trophy to finish that in style. He traveled from Sydney to the Bahamas (with a brief stop at home in Dallas to do laundry) and began his push up the leaderboard with an eagle on the par-5 11th hole from about 30 feet. He followed with two more birdies to get a share of the lead.
“The grind is still there,” Spieth said. “I’m still going to be about making sure I’m resting. I’m not killing myself out here. You don’t want to wear yourself down. I don’t think I’ll do anything after the
round today once again. I’ll just get up, I’ve been getting here an extra half hour early to
start my warmup just to make sure I get through enough reps and take my time. That’s been
kind of my practice versus grinding after the rounds like I normally would do. I don’t think it
changes. Maybe tomorrow if I see something, whether I really need to go hit some putts or
whatever it, then I’ll do it after to get ready for Sunday but it’s still a half vacation in my mind.
Q. What’s your competitive level? If a 10 is a major, what are you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Certainly when we’re on the golf course I’m definitely up there. I’m just
talking about off the course preparation has been half vacation, half preparation. But on the
golf course, I mean I’m still getting as intense and upset and highs and lows that I
experience at a normal PGA TOUR event. It’s a little more fun because it’s easier, you have
two guys and we’re playing faster and only 18 in the field, so it eases your mind a little bit,
but the grind is still there.
Q. When you play with a guy like Brooks, do you find yourself swinging harder trying
to squeeze out more yards?
JORDAN SPIETH: I maybe did it a couple times just because it looks like he goes at it
hard, too, and he certainly does. He tried to hit a 7-iron on No. 12. I thought for sure he was
hitting 6. I had just hit a really good 6 and it was 25 feet short in a good spot. He struck it
2. I walked over to his bag and I was like he went that hard, he had to have been hitting 7
from 208 would no helping wind, hits right to left or even herding a little. I looked at that and
I was like that’s incredible. If he can hit a 7 that far, I’m sure he can if he struck it well. He
left it out there, but he can really kill the golf ball. I had to try and focus on my targets a bit
more especially after the first few holes on this, a couple drives where you don’t want to miss
them on 4 and 6, and then from there it’s just tough to club off of.
Q. Was there a point really in your pro career where playing with really long hitters
ever affected you?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think so. I’ve done it so much growing up in junior golf and amateur
golf, I was always the youngest in the field, so there was always guys that were hitting the
ball further. I maybe did it back then and I just kind was aware that obviously it wouldn’t help
you. So now a couple times if we’re giving each other some crap, I’ll really try to step on it
but other than that. I got a couple past him today maybe on a couple of his miss-hits but
that’s about it. Into the wind I have a chance because I spin it a little less but downwind I’ve
got no chance.
Q. Have you ever been tempted to chase distance in some ways?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, not swing wise. But definitely in the gym, try to in the offseason
make sure that I can try to gain power and have my ball speed the highest it’s ever been
each January 1 and it’s gone up each year and it kind of dies down as I don’t maintain the
strength throughout the year. It’s definitely something that we’re trying to work towards
carefully in the gym.
Reflect on the season? It was one that accomplished a lot of my lifetime goals and it’s a lot of fun looking back. Now as much as I’ll want to enjoy it, I’ll want to know how we can back it up and make sure this is a level that we can continue to play on.