Welcome back, Jordan Spieth. Hope you enjoyed your offseason.
Just six weeks removed from his FedEx Cup win - and with a Presidents Cup appearance in between, for good measure - Spieth has landed in China and will make his first start of the new season this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
While a lengthier break looms on the horizon, Spieth opted to step away entirely after helping the U.S. to a narrow victory in South Korea earlier this month.
"I didn't touch my clubs for two weeks, which is the longest time by a week that I've taken off since I was probably 12 or 13 years old," Spieth said.
He returns this week in Shanghai, where he is teeing it up for the third straight year. Despite coming off a five-win season, he expects some rust after his brief but rare respite.
"Coming off this break, coming in here and just what I've experienced within the last four or five days at home and here, I'm not hitting the same shots that I'm used to seeing," he said. "It's getting close. The more balls I hit, the more consistent it's getting. But I just have this stray one - just getting it back.
"So my mindset this week is going to be to stay focused, to try and play with a smile on my face."
Coming off a record-breaking season, Spieth still has his eye on improving. He spoke Wednesday of adding length, hitting the gym and fine-tuning his accuracy from 125-150 yards. With a hectic schedule looming next year, including the Olympics, he also emphasized the importance of resting when possible to ensure a return trip to the Tour Championship to defend his FedEx Cup title.
"I've learned over the last couple years how significant even just a few days away from the game and away from just being able to settle down, what kind of impact it has, and it's significant," he said. "I learned it in 2014. I didn't rest much. I was trying to. I probably hit too many balls, too many putts late into that season, and by the time the playoffs came, I just didn't have enough gas to hold on.
"We had the strength at the end of this past season, and it showed at the Tour Championship. If I can just kind of stay consistent with what I did last year, that would be the goal."