Spieth’s Lucky Spectator Break, Viktor’s Dye Course Practice

Jordan Spieth, 2023 PLAYERS Championship,(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth, 2023 PLAYERS Championship,(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /

It was a strange day on Friday at The Players Championship. Half the field finished the second round. Half didn’t. Thoughts from players were as diverse as their swings and scores.

Jordan Spieth got lucky again with a bounce off a spectator and a chip-in on his final hole to keep him in the tournament for the weekend. He looked somewhere between annoyed and injured after struggling through 18 holes. saying the course was just hard.

"“Most every hole kind of hit it in the wrong spot,” he admitted to media when he was done. “It got really challenging, but I didn’t help myself with some of the decisions I was making. Yeah, the way I’ve been playing, pretty disappointing to not hold it at 3- or 4- or 5-under.”"

His lucky bounces came at the 9th hole, his last for the day. His description had his second shot, which he thinned, hitting the cart path, hitting a spectator’s knee, caroming up in the air, and sailing forward short of the green.

Spieth likened it to flying a green toward a hazard and having the ball hit the grandstand and come back onto the green.

Strangely, he said it was a good drive (with a 3-wood) and a good chip.

"“One of the great things about Pete Dye is that he kind of challenges you.” – Viktor Hovland"

After speaking to the media, Spieth was off to find the member of the gallery responsible for helping him make the cut.

"“I got an extremely lucky break on 9 or I wouldn’t be playing the weekend. Trying to get that guy’s information and see literally whatever he wants this weekend because everything from here on out is because it hit him.”"

Jordan Spieth is at even par and lucky to be there.

Viktor Hovland’s secret weapon for playing well at TPC Sawgrass may be visits he has made to play Oak Tree National, another of Pete Dye’s designs. Oak Tree National has hosted the U.S. Amateur, the PGA Championship, the Senior PGA Championship, and the U.S. Senior Open.

Jordan Spieth, Viktor Hovland, Players Championship
Viktor Hovland, 2023 PLAYERS Championship, Syndication: Florida Times-Union /

“One of the great things about Pete Dye is that he kind of challenges you,” Hovland said about the great designer. “There’s enough room to hit golf shots between the rough and on the greens, but he makes it very visually intimidating.”

Viktor Hovland cited Dye’s par 3s at Oak Tree National.

“You’ll have these diagonal greens, and right is right by the water, so you kind of need to take it over the water to get close, and you think left is bail-out, but then you hit it left, and it’s a really difficult up-and-down,” he explained.

"“It’s like when you get up there, there’s plenty of room, but when you stand back there and you see the wind and kind of the contours of the slopes and everything and how — if the fairway is going the opposite direction kind of like a dogleg, it makes it just play way smaller than the area looks like.”"

He said he had to shape shots in different ways to get to certain hole locations.

“I think playing out there a lot has helped me,” he said.

Hovland is 4-under par and in a tie for 9th place currently.

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The second round restarted at 7 AM on Saturday. It took around three hours to finish. The third round, which will be played using split tees and in groups of three, will begin around 10:30 AM on Saturday and finish around 12:45 PM, Eastern, US.

There were 71 players on the course when play was halted for bad weather.