TULSA, Okla. – Jordan Spieth came into the PGA Championship on the heels of a win and a runner-up in his two starts since the Masters and had high hopes of completing the career Grand Slam.
Those hopes may not be dead after his first round, but they’re certainly on life support after an opening 2-over 72, which leaves him seven shots back of leader Rory McIlroy.
It may – or nowadays, may not – come as a surprise that the best part of Spieth’s game Thursday was his driving. He hit 10 of 14 fairways and was sixth in strokes gained: off the tee at the conclusion of his round.
Spieth’s putter, which at one time seemed closer to a magic wand than a golf club, betrayed him once again on the greens to the tune of 33 putts, leaving him outside the top 100 in strokes gained: putting on the day. It’s a similar story for the three-time major champion, who ranks 175th this season in strokes gained: putting, which is easily the worst ranking of his career in that metric. He finished twice in that category in both 2015-16 and 2018-19.
Spieth has leaned on his iron game much of the season, but it wasn’t there when he needed it Thursday in Tulsa. Despite coming in from the fairway 10 times, he lost strokes to the field approaching the green and is ranked outside the top 70 in proximity to the hole.
The weather could get dicey the next couple days at Southern Hills, with winds projected to gust upward of 30 mph and chances of thunderstorms Friday and Saturday.
Spieth will have to conquer Mother Nature if he hopes to be in contention when he wakes up Sunday morning.