PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Jordan Spieth vowed on Tuesday to take a more patient approach at the Players Championship in a bid to end a run of three consecutive missed cuts at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course.
After contending for victory in his first start here in 2014 – eventually finishing equal fourth – Spieth has failed dismally on a course where patience is often a virtue.
Usually a quick learner, the 24-year-old Texan has decided a less forceful approach, which has worked so well for him at Augusta National, is also worth trying here some 280 miles (450 km) south of the U.S. Masters venue.
“I haven’t approached it like I approach the major championship caliber golf course and this course and this championship are major caliber,” Spieth said ahead of Thursday’s first round.
“And therefore I need to go in with a different game plan and mindset and stick to it when I’m on the golf course.”
He said he would take his medicine after a bad drive instead of trying for a spectacular birdie on a course that has enough subtle and not-so-subtle humps and hollows to make even the world’s best players look silly at times.
“The patience side I seemed to display at Augusta is, ‘OK, I’m out of position, what’s the plan to make my par and move on?’” Spieth said.
“Out here the last couple of years I just haven’t had that patience.
“I love the course (but) this is not a place to go out and try and force birdies. That’s where I’ve gone the last few years that has got me into trouble.”
Spieth has won three majors — the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open plus last year’s British Open.
He held the world number one ranking for 26 weeks and is now fourth. Spieth has not troubled the trophy engraver since his victory at Royal Birkdale last July.
The American will play the first two rounds here with fellow 20-something major champions Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.
The large galleries are likely to amp up the atmosphere, but Spieth knows he needs to remain calm.
“I’ve kind of struggled a little this year with kind of rushing my thoughts,” he said.
“If I give myself a little bit of time and leeway, that’s been the best route in the past, so I’m trying to do that now.”
Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Ken Ferris