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This time at Torrey Pines, Jordan Spieth isn't faking the belief that he can win

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SAN DIEGO – It seems a lifetime ago now that Jordan Spieth is once again a PGA Tour winner again, a major favorite, a frequent contender. But he caught himself during a U.S. Open practice round on Monday, reflecting on how far he has come in the past five months.

“I was out here with Michael (Greller) and I’m like, ‘Man, I remember this shot just being no chance earlier this year, and now I feel really comfortable about it,’” he said. “I’m still not where I want to be in my swing. I’m still a little teeter-tottering, trying to move it forward. But I think back sometimes, and I’m appreciative of where I’m at because I hoped to be back thinking this way, feeling this way, when it didn’t seem like I could get out of the way I was thinking and feeling.” 

In his 2021 debut, Spieth missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, continuing a years-long slide that had seen him go six months without a top-10 with a world ranking tumbling toward 100. But that early exit gave he and coach Cameron McCormick a few extra days to dial in his swing feels, and Spieth has looked like a different player ever since. The following week in Phoenix, he shot 61 in the third round and was tied for the 54-hole lead. He has a win and eight other top-15s, with zero missed cuts, since bowing out at Torrey.

“It was around that time,” Spieth said of his turnaround. “I just started to really get a good grasp of what things are supposed to feel like through impact, what I did that was such an advantage for a long time, my DNA and where I’d gotten off, and then working my way to get back to that feel through impact.”

Spieth 'appreciative' of growth in past year

Spieth 'appreciative' of growth in past year

It wasn’t a surprise to Spieth that he missed the cut last fall at the U.S. Open. Entering the week at one of the most difficult courses in the world, he said to himself at Winged Foot: “Oh boy, here we go.”

Not so this week.

“I’m in a position where I think I can stand on the 10th tee on Thursday and win this tournament,” said Spieth, who also jammed his right foot last week but noted that he was fine. “As much as you want to say that you can fake it 'til you make it, I needed that confidence between then and now to really think that standing on the tee.”