“I actually woke up not expecting to wake up so soon,” Spieth said. “I thought when I woke up, I’d check the radar and I’d be able to plan for a couple hour delay.”
Instead, the weather that has plagued the season’s final major all week cooperated long enough for Spieth to complete the final 16 holes of his third round, a 1-under 69 that left him at 4 under for the week.
“It looked like we caught a window where I knew we were going to finish, which is the second-best option from sleeping a little bit more,” he said.
Spieth will begin the final round seven shots off the lead, and he knows that he’ll need a “historic-type performance” to challenge for the title.
It’s a frustrating position given the fact that he feels he finally turned a corner with his putter. After needing 63 putts to complete his first 36 holes, Spieth took just 28 putts during the third round.
“I discovered after the first two rounds that my ball position was significantly up in my stance with the putter,” he said. “It’s really a shame because it knocked off my speed control. I had a lot of opportunities the first two rounds to be 6-to-9 under par instead of 3, and I just didn’t get anything going. If I had discovered that ahead of time, it would have made a world of difference because I hit great putts today, just didn’t have as many chances.”
Spieth said that he was surprised to learn of the PGA of America’s decision to use lift, clean and place for the final round, but he supported the choice given the soggy conditions at Baltusrol Golf Club.
“It’s unusual, but I think it certainly creates a more fair test, and you get rewarded for a better shot,” he said. “Otherwise technically, hitting in the bunker, you could be better off than hitting it in the fairway with mud on the ball. So it makes sense, but I’m just surprised that someone started it in major championship play.”