After a season that included a trio of individual wins and a pivotal role in a Ryder Cup victory, Jordan Spieth is eager to turn the page to 2017. And when he does, his focus will be right in the middle of his golf bag.
Spieth notched bookend victories this year at the Tournament of Champions and Australian Open as well as a win in front of partisan crowds at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational. But he also let a second Masters title slip away and failed to contend at any of the other three majors.
As he gets set to defend his title at Kapalua, Spieth explained on a conference call this week that he hopes to improve his short-iron game.
"It's the scoring irons. It's 125 to 175 yards," Spieth said. "That's where I was pretty solid in 2015 and then that was one area of my game that took a little bit of a hit this past season. I just wasn't as good with my wedge, 9-, 8-, 7-iron, and especially on kind of shorter par 3s."
The statistics back up Spieth's assertion. In 2016 he slipped from 22nd to 47th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained from 125-150 yards, and he also fell from 34th to 101st in strokes gained from 150-175 yards. As a result, he sees "big room for improvement" within that yardage window heading into the new year.
In the coming days, though, his focus will be on traveling north to visit his brother, Steven, who plays on the basketball team at Brown University.
"He's having a great season," Spieth said of his brother, who leads the team with 15.4 points per game. "I'm not sure, he kind of set up something, we might be playing horse and it might be videoed. At the moment I am starting my grind in the gym, shooting a thousand shots a day so I don't embarrass myself."