Jordan Spieth Glad in Plaid, Wins RBC Heritage “Without My Putter”

Jordan Spieth, RBC Heritage,Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Spieth, RBC Heritage,Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports /

Jordan Spieth didn’t have his normally happy, energetic look when he outplayed and out-lucked Patrick Cantlay in a one-hole playoff for victory at the RBC Heritage Classic. He looked slightly relieved.  He said later that he was surprised.

By his own admission, Spieth told CBS Sports that he won “without my putter.”  And that much was certainly true.  His putting was, according to Golf Central, the worst by a winner since 2010. He was -2.55 in strokes gained putting. Of course, being Jordan Spieth, he kept holing out or chipping to less than a foot to take the pressure off his balky wand.

“I made a couple putts from off the green that will go on chipping stats, so it wasn’t quite maybe as bad as when I looked yesterday,” he noted in his post-round press conference about his failure to have even a normal putting round.

From where viewers were sitting, it looked pretty bad, for sure.

At the beginning of Sunday, Spieth was still stinging from a missed 18-inch putt on the final hole in Saturday’s round.  It was ridiculous that he did it.  He knew it.

The sting of the short-miss on Saturday lingered for Jordan Spieth over the weekend

However, he’s not disparaging his victory, his first in a year.

“Every year, I think about Kapalua at the beginning of the year once I’m there, and I missed it for a few years, and I never want to miss it again,” he said firmly.

Still, there was that 18-inch putt.  Unfortunately, it’s not the only short putt he’s missed lately. He missed nine putts inside six feet at the Valero Texas Open.

“I was about as upset after the round yesterday as I’ve ever been in a golf tournament.” Jordan Spieth on his missed short putt Saturday.

Spieth’s wife, Annie, even noticed Saturday’s blunder. After he missed the short one on the 18th, she told him from now on, he needs to wait five seconds before tapping in putts.

“I was about as upset after the round yesterday as I’ve ever been in a golf tournament,” he admitted.

He said there was no excuse for it and that it wasn’t fair to his caddie, Michael Greller who works hard to help get him in position for wins.

“To go out there and do that, that could potentially affect the outcome of a tournament,” he added. “And I’ve done that a number of times on this stretch in the last four weeks.”

Sunday, he admitted he thought about it a couple of times on short putts.  And he waited and thought about it before making a stroke.

Spieth finished about an hour ahead of the other golfers who were in contention.  It was more than possible that he could have lost the tournament by more than one shot.  While he waited, he tried to watch the tournament, but it made him too nervous to do that.

“I was inside, and I can’t stand watching golf when you’re trying to dodge made putts because these guys are so good,” he explained. “Every single putt looks like it’s going in. It was just way more nerve-racking than actually playing.”

So, he headed to the range and waited to hear whether there was a playoff or not.  He noted that when he made his birdie putt at the 18th, he thought it might be good enough for a playoff.

He had no way to know the gyrations and lead changes that happened in the final round while he was playing. Harold Varner III, Erik Van Rooyen, Shane Lowry, Patrick Cantlay and Spieth had and lost leads during the afternoon. But in the end, when Spieth made birdie on the 18th, and when Patrick Cantlay made birdie on the 17th, they were tied at 13-under par.

But Spieth had to wait until the rest of the field got finished.

In the playoff, Spieth’s famous luck returned.  Both Spieth and Cantlay found the greenside bunker with their second shots, but Cantlay had a truly horrible, fried-egg lie, and Spieth’s ball was sitting cleanly on the sand.

Spieth was away. He hit a brilliant sand shot to less than a couple of feet, went to it, waited a few seconds, and rolled it into the hole.

Cantlay blasted out, and his ball flew a significant distance beyond the flag, but it was still on the green.  Unfortunately for him, he was unable to make the long putt to tie and extend the playoff.

“Same number as in regulation and hit a similar shot with the same club,” Cantlay explained to media after his round. “It obviously caught a different wind than what I was expecting. Obviously with it plugged like that, it’s darn near impossible to get it close.”

“I needed a lot of things to go right. I needed to birdie the 18th then needed some help,” Spieth said about the victory.  “Dodged a bunch of bullets coming in, and ended up in a one-on-one playoff where my lie in the bunker, although not great, was certainly better than Patrick’s.”

Next. Morgan Hoffman and the Journey Back to Hilton Head. dark

Spieth admitted that while his tee to green game was better than it has been in quite some time, working on his long game has taken attention from his putting.  He knows he needs to fix that. Still, between the hole-outs and some lucky bounces, he has his first victory in a year.  That also means that he has a trip to Kapalua and the Sentry Tournament of Champions next January.