PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – For the second time in less than a month, Jordan Spieth neared the pinnacle of one of golf’s biggest events but couldn’t quite get to the top.
Spieth made it 58 holes at TPC Sawgrass without a bogey but then made five across an 11-hole span, effectively derailing his chances at The Players Championship. He shot a 2-over 74 in the final round and finished in a tie for fourth, three shots behind winner Martin Kaymer.
“Today was just a bad round of golf,” Spieth said. “It didn’t matter what day it was, it wouldn’t have made a difference. I was just off my game today.”
After starting the round tied for the lead with Kaymer, Spieth took the outright lead for the first time with a birdie on the fourth hole, but made his first bogey of the week on the very next hole. He felt a turning point came in the middle of his final round, when a seemingly accurate approach to the 10th hole landed near the pin before bounding away into a collection area left of the green.
“It appalls me. I don’t know – I don’t understand how it pitched where it did,” said Spieth, who went on to bogey the hole to fall three shots behind Kaymer. “I have on my yardage book that it’s a no-no to go left in that swale to that pin. You just don’t hit it there. But I didn’t. I didn’t hit it there.”
Just four weeks removed from a runner-up finish in his first trip to the Masters, Spieth was adamant that the pressure of the Tour’s flagship event had little impact on his performance over the weekend, when he played the Stadium Course in 1 over par.
“I don’t feel like the setting had anything to do with the way I played whatsoever,” Spieth said. “I just think that yesterday and today I got a little off with my swing. It was still close to being there, I could still hit some good shots, but I didn’t have the ball control of the first two days. I didn’t have the putter of the first two days.”
Now with six top-10 finishes this season, the 20-year-old has previously pointed to the growing pains of Rory McIlroy as a roadmap for his ascension on the Tour. After another near-miss, he again referenced the Ulsterman, who won two majors and reached the top of the world rankings after letting the 2011 Masters slip through his grasp.
“A lot of the great players have had it. Rory had a tough one and came back extremely strong,” he said. “I hope I look back one day and laugh at these moments, which I think I will.”