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Spieth on putting slump: 'No doubt in my abilities'

By Randall MellFebruary 7, 2018, 7:15 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Jordan Spieth ranks 195th in strokes gained-putting early in this PGA Tour season.

He concedes he’s in a “minor slump” with his putter, and that is making him more technical than he wants to be while he works into form.

He is coming off a missed cut at Phoenix, his first in eight months, and he’s coming to Pebble Beach, where bumpy poa annua grasses make short putts harder to make.

So how is his confidence?

Sounded pretty good Wednesday in his news conference as he prepares to defend the title he won here last year.

“I still believe that most of the guys who sit on this stage right here, if you ask them who they want putting on their team in a Ryder Cup, I believe they would say my name,” Spieth said. “I have no doubt in my abilities.

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Articles, photos and videos

“It’s just a minor slump. I’m just trying to get back. I got a little on top of it, and I was kind of hitting the ball into the ground with my hands pretty far forward, which is opposite to my natural tendency going back to when I was 8 years old. I just got into a place I hadn’t been before, and I just kind of have to get back in a comfortable setup position. And everything will fall through from there.”

Spieth is working on a stroke that has caused too many misses for his liking from short range this year.

“The idea is to just stop thinking, just putt, and not having to worry about things,” Spieth said. “That’s not the reality for a little going forward, until my setup over the putter, I’m seeing my lines and I’m set up toward those lines.”

Spieth is 146th on Tour this season in putting from 4 to 8 feet. Pebble Beach isn’t a great place to work on that range. It was the second toughest course on Tour last year to make 4 to 8 footers.

Not to worry, Spieth said.

Last year, he learned he doesn’t have to have a great putting week to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

“Last year was the first year where I lowered my expectations on the greens, and just accepted hitting putts at the right speed, and putting them around the right line,” Spieth said. “And if they fell, they fell. If they didn't, move on and hit as many greens in regulation as possible.

“I was striking the ball so well last year at this event, that I had one good putting day, and the other three were kind of average and that was good enough to get a win. So that was big as I go forward in this event.”

This might be the most important stat this week for Spieth, the real eye opener: His 68.8 scoring average at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the best in the last 30 years for players with 10 or more rounds played. 

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Watch: Guy does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”