BROOKLINE, Mass. – His legs feeling like Jell-O and on the verge of vomiting, Jordan Spieth considered withdrawing this week for the first time in his career.
“I was not doing well,” he said in the parking lot Friday after making the cut at the U.S. Open, no small feat considering how he began this championship.
“I’ve never been in that situation before, and thankfully I started to feel a little better, so I said I’ll just stick with it and see how it goes. Hopefully it just gets better each day.”
Indeed, it’s been an eventful week already for Spieth, who harbored aspirations of adding a second U.S. Open trophy, but fell ill late Tuesday night after attending the Boston Red Sox game.
“I was, like, dead in my bed,” he said.
High fever. Chills. No sleep.
Spieth arrived at the course early Wednesday morning, but mostly to see the on-site doctor. Prescribed an anti-nausea medication, he putted for about 15 minutes, hit a few balls and thought he was going to lose it.
“When I swung the 52-degree,” he said, “I was like, Wow, I’m dizzy and am going to throw up."
Spieth left the course, literally sick to his stomach, and frustrated at his misfortune. He’d had a solid week of preparation at home and was excited to take on Brookline, a course that seemed well-suited to his game.
Early Thursday morning, Spieth managed to go through a brief warmup before his 7:29 tee time. Despite being in prime position in the fairway, he bogeyed three of the first four holes and appeared visibly ill.
“I just felt really tired and weak,” he said, “and it’s hard to play a U.S. Open that way.”
Moving better around the turn, Spieth managed to play 1 under the rest of the way, posting a respectable 2-over 72. By Friday afternoon, he felt marginally better, signing for a 70 that at least gave him a weekend tee time. He’s seven shots back.
“This is the one tournament where regardless of where you stand after two rounds,” he said, “you’re still in it.”
Having traveled alone this week, Spieth believes he just picked up a 48-hour stomach virus at the worst possible time. In golf’s toughest test, this was his own version of the Jordan flu game.
“Yeah,” he said, “but for as few Jordan flu games that they actually pull off, there’s a hundred where people play like s--t. I’d rather be at 100%.”