Jordan Spieth ends long drought with victory at Texas Open
American golfer wins PGA event after slump lasting nearly 4 years
Jordan Spieth tapped in for par to win the British Open for his third major and 11th victory in just five years on the PGA Tour. He never imagined he would go 1,351 days before he felt that way again.
And now he's back.
Spieth ended a mystifying slump Sunday by giving himself birdie chances and making most of them, closing with a 6-under 66 to hold off Charley Hoffman for a two-shot victory in the Valero Texas Open.
WATCH | Spieth wins Texas Open:
"There's peaks and valleys in this sport, but I never expected to go this long," Spieth said. "Back then, in between wins, maybe I took things more for granted than I should have. It's very difficult to win out here and I'll certainly enjoy this one as much as I have any other."
The only surprise was that he figured he would be more emotional. He was too busy holding off a spirited run by Hoffman, who went from a three-shot deficit with six holes to play to one shot behind. Spieth all but sealed it with a wedge to a back pin to five feet for birdie.
"This is a monumental win for me," Spieth said. "It's been a long road. There were a lot of times that I didn't know I would be here."
The 27-year-old from Dallas showed signs of turning it around after starting the year by missing the cut at Torrey Pines. He was tied for the 54-hole lead in Phoenix. He led by two going into the final round at Pebble Beach. He was two behind going into the last day at Bay Hill. He reached the weekend of the Dell Match Play.
"I've had a chance on Sundays three or four different times in the last two months, and today was by far the best that I played," Spieth said. "Just to see those putts go in, I felt like I was doing everything right those other Sundays and I hit good putts and they wouldn't go in. Today I hit a couple that I didn't quite strike very well but they went in."
Tied for the lead with Matt Wallace going into Sunday at the TPC San Antonio, Spieth moved out in front and didn't let anyone catch him. He built a three-shot lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, when Hoffman made him sweat.
Hoffman chipped in for birdie on the par-3 13th and holed a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-3 16th to get within one shot. But he found a bunker off the tee on the short par-4 17th and had to settle for par as Spieth moved two shots ahead, and they both made par on the closing hole.
"It's been a long road."<a href="https://twitter.com/JordanSpieth?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JordanSpieth</a> is back in the winner's circle for the first time since 2017. 🏆 <a href="https://t.co/CvlN5bKJ9m">pic.twitter.com/CvlN5bKJ9m</a>—@PGATOUR
"I've lost golf tournaments, I've won golf tournaments, but today Jordan won the golf tournament," Hoffman said. "Obviously I put some pressure on. Obviously I would have liked to have hit some better shots coming down the stretch, but gave myself an opportunity coming down the 18th fairway and that's all you can ask for. Hats off to Jordan."
Spieth, who finished at 18-under 270, moved to No. 38 in the world. He is back in the top 50 for the first time in more than a year.
Spieth typically is a favourite at the Masters, where he was runner-up in his debut in 2014, won wire-to-wire the next year and was runner-up again after losing a back-nine lead in 2016.
He once said he never really thought about much why he played well and won, he just did. Now after so much inspection of a game that got away from him, and the work it required to get back, he appears headed in the right direction.
"There's some key moments here and there, different time periods where I felt like things were turning around," he said. "There's also moments I look back on where I hit balls till my hands bled and I wasn't doing the right thing and I just went home thought about it. Lost sleep. This sport can take you a lot of different directions."
Corey Conners was the top Canadian of the tournament, finishing 12 strokes back of Spieth in a three-way tie for 14th spot. The native of Listowel, Ont., birdied the 11th and 12th holes Sunday but bogeyed the 17th and shot a 70 on the day.
Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor, both of Abbotsford, B.C., finished 23rd and 59th, respectively.