Jordan Spieth trying to recapture magic where it all began 11 years ago

Jordan Spieth is returning to a place that has produced a lot of Spieth Magic.
Jordan Spieth - John Deere Classic
Jordan Spieth - John Deere Classic / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Jordan Spieth has struggled so far in 2024. This week, he returned to the John Deere Classic which has produced a lot of Spieth Magic over the years. Maybe he can rekindle some of that magic again as he tries to get his season back on track.

Can Jordan Spieth recapture the magic at TPC Deere Run?

It feels like forever ago. The 19-year-old prodigy holed out an improbable bunker shot to get him into a playoff with a former Masters champion that he won, becoming a teenage winner on the PGA Tour. He is one of only 5 men to win a PGA Tour event while a teenager.

That was in 2013. If someone had told you that 11 years later Spieth would have 3 major championships and 13 PGA Tour wins, you would say that he is having a pretty remarkable career.

And without question, he is. What is even more remarkable is that one cannot shake the feeling that his career has been somewhat of a disappointment. It is not fair to feel this way, of course. Just like Rory McIlroy, Spieth was burdened with the weight of young success. Golf media and golf fans alike were spoiled by the success of Tiger Woods. In our minds, success was linear. You win a few majors before you turn 25? Well, at that rate you've got 15 easy by the time you turn 35, right? Right?

Except we all know that golf is not linear. Players have their game for a few years and inevitably lose it for some stretch of time. The greats limit their down periods to a year or two while we have seen others lose it forever.

We saw Spieth lose it for about 4 years. From his John Deere victory in 2013 to his Open Championship win in 2017, he was pretty much The Guy in golf. And then he lost it. Perhaps that is why it was so jarring, because he went from being the best player in the game to seemingly falling off the face of the Earth. That is an oversimplification, of course. He nearly tracked down Patrick Reed in the 2018 Masters, had the 54-hole lead at the 2018 Open, and had a top-5 finish at the 2019 PGA Championship. But when the standard is winning, those close finishes get forgotten.

He seemed to have come out the other side, winning in 2021 and 2022 and having a respectable 2023 where he probably should have had at least 2 victories. Now in 2024, he is looking more like the Spieth from those years when he was lost and searching. His swing seems to be out of sorts and he has not been in contention since the start of the year. He is also dealing with a wrist injury.

Yet, he is still the biggest draw in this week's event because of the magic he provides. No longer is he the boy-faced wunderkind. Now he is a man and a father. No longer is he the guy who makes everything and holes out from everywhere. He has come back down to Earth.

But what better place to remind him of what he once was and what he can still be? Not only was this where he won in 2013, but it is where he won in 2015 in the midst of his remarkable season. He still had a great chance at the grand slam that season and he was thinning wedge shots that were going in for eagle and chipping in all over the place. It was Spieth at the absolute height of his powers.

He may never quite reach those insane heights again, but I think we all know he can capture some of that magic for at least a week. What better place than where he got the first win of his crazy, roller coaster ride of a professional career back in 2013?