Jordan Spieth was once the most feared golfer on the PGA Tour. He won 11 tournaments and three major championships in a three-year stretch from 2015-17, and he ascended to become the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world along the way. But it’s now been four years since Spieth‘s last win on Tour, and he hasn’t even been in contention very much since 2017.
The entire golf world has been wondering for years what happened to the once-dominant talent. On Monday, Spieth revealed a secret injury he’s been keeping quiet since 2018 that contributed to his downfall.
After Jordan Spieth won the Open Championship in 2017 to capture his third career major at just 23 years old, it seemed as if the only question he faced was when, not if, he would beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. Spieth had shown a competitive fire and a winning demeanor that golf hadn’t seen since a young Tiger Woods reached the PGA Tour in the late 1990s.
But here we stand four years later, and Spieth is still stuck on 11 wins and three major championships.
Spieth endured his first winless season on Tour in 2018. He recorded just five top-10 finishes in 23 starts and missed the cut five times. It was more of the same in 2019, where Spieth recorded more finishes outside the top 50 than inside the top 25.
In a shortened 2020 season, Spieth notched just three top-10s in 17 starts and barely put his name into contention all year. He opened up his 2021 campaign by missing four cuts in his first seven starts.
A young protege who was ranked the No. 1 golfer in the world at just 22 years old saw his ranking slip as far as 92nd in the OWGR. Spieth put together a nice run of four straight top-15 finishes earlier this year, but he just can’t seem to find his winning ways again.
Spieth reveals a secret injury that sent him into his slump
Leading up to this weekend’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Jordan Spieth revealed a shocking secret about his downfall that he’s been keeping for three years. Spieth explained he suffered a bone chip in his left hand back in 2018, and he opted not to undergo surgery to repair it.
“It was something that [if] you can clean it out, it’s not going to make anything worse,” Spieth told reporters Monday. “It’s just a matter of how bad it’s bugging you and it was for a while there. Kind of in the spring of 2018 through that fall, and then it got a little better probably because I started swinging so poorly…
“As the year went on my grip got weaker, the club face got more open, and then I needed to flip at impact and so it just required more timing. From somebody who already has kind of a weaker grip to start with, you don’t really have much wiggle room on that side of things.”
Any casual golfer knows even a minor injury can change everything about your golf swing. Then, you start getting used to your new swing and old habits disappear. Spieth was conditioning himself to swing with poor mechanics for months, and it eventually sent him off the rails.
“It was 100% responsible for me not being able to strengthen my grip, which in turn then is probably normally the first thing guys go to, if something gets a little bit off is, all right, where in my setup are things different,” he said. “And if that’s one of the things, that’s going to impact how everything feels.”
Jordan Spieth confident he can return to his old form
It’s hard to believe Spieth can find his old form after the stunning admission he offered on Monday, but he sounded confident that his game is finally on the rise now that his hand injury is behind him.
“I’ve swung it enough the right way, when it’s not the right way my brain’s like, wow, something’s out of position, what is it. And I could shoot 5 under, but for four straight rounds to have to time it up a lot more and be consistent, it’s that much harder,” Spieth said. “So it was very much a reason, but I mean, everybody’s got some reason for something that they get off. That was mine, and I certainly could have handled it differently and feel good that right now it’s not an issue.”
Let’s remember, Spieth is still only 27 years old. Sure, he’s had a rough stretch of late due to an undisclosed injury, but if anyone can find his game again after an unlucky break, it’s him.