The Valspar Championship was very entertaining for a relatively weaker field. Taylor Moore pulled off his first victory on the PGA Tour. It wasn’t without some drama and late flair from soon-to-be-30-year-old Jordan Spieth.
No one moves the needle in golf like Tiger Woods and there may never be another. However, if there is anyone who can get eyes on the game comparatively, it’s Jordan Spieth.
Both Moore and Adam Schenk battled with Spieth all afternoon. Moore and Schenk had never won on Tour prior to the closing round at the Valspar at Innisbrook Golf Resort. Spieth had been in this position plenty of times with his three major victories and 13 Tour wins overall.
The whole golf world was pulling for Spieth while also acknowledging the opportunities for Moore and Schenk.
On no. 16, Spieth’s tee shot found the water but he recovered and made a ridiculously clutch bogey.
CLUTCH. @JordanSpieth saves bogey to stay within one of the lead @ValsparChamp. https://t.co/fuDWirc4jl pic.twitter.com/LleTSP0tYP
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 19, 2023
On the par-3 no. 17th, Spieth stuffed the closest tee shot of the day in classic Jordan Spieth fashion…only to miss the putt. His drive on no.18 ended up in the rough and left him with a long putt for birdie to force a potential playoff. He couldn’t capitalize.
Spieth’s flair for the dramatic
If there was a green-side bunker to be found on Sunday, Spieth would ultimately find it. For most players, that would spell a long day. For Spieth, it’s almost like he finds them on purpose because the tough shots are the ones he succeeds on the most. Spieth ended the week 12/14 on sand saves for a ridiculous 85.7%, including a cool 4/5 on Sunday alone.
Jordan Spieth really didn’t light up the stat sheet anywhere this week. He finished seventh in strokes gained: tee-to-green and greens in regulation but otherwise wasn’t in the top-10 in any other category outside of the aforementioned sand saved. He made a few long putts on Sunday to hang around the leaders but was ultimately done in by his tee shot on no. 16 and his short 6’8″ birdie miss on no.17.
Last week at The Players Championship, Spieth was right on the cut line going into the final hole on Friday. His tee shot was headed wayward and out-of-bounds before hitting a spectator and going back into play. He ultimately wound up making eagle and sticking around for the weekend collecting a T-19 finish.
How can anyone forget when Spieth took on a massive cliff at Pebble Beach?
These kinds of things just seem to happen to Spieth.
It is never a boring round for Spieth when he is trying to close out a championship. He is so volatile and yet so talented. It is maddening trying to watch him stick around the top pf the leaderboard but makes golf much more fun.
Masters season is Spieth’s golden season
If you follow golf in any capacity, you likely know Spieth’s Easter Sunday’s have been fruitful.
Two years ago, Spieth won the Texas Open on Easter Sunday. Last season, Spieth won his most recent event at the RBC Heritage. Ironically, that fell on Easter Sunday.
If you haven’t heard, Sunday at The Masters just happens to be on Easter. We all know Spieth’s plentiful history with Augusta National. The stars are aligning for him to three-peat Easter Sunday.
Jordan Spieth owns three major victories in his career lacking only a victory in the PGA Championship to try and complete the career grand slam. He’s been stuck on three majors for seven years now after he fell hard from grace for a few seasons before getting back in the PGA Tour winners circle in 2021.
Next weekend is the WGC Match Play event, one that Spieth should have a very solid chance at contending in. He’ll have the Valero Texas Open in his home state the week before The Masters but he likely will skip the event after grinding through the last few weeks.
What’s in store for Spieth this season?
Jordan Spieth was so successful in his early career that it seemed ever-so-slightly-possible that he could make a run at Jack Nicklaus’ 18-major victories.
His long-drought will make that nearly impossible now but he certainly has the talent, and age, to win multiple more before his career is done.
It’s clear Spieth feels at home at Augusta National. He’s won there and also suffered a defeat so demoralizing that it may have been the beginning of his downward spiral. He’s since found his game and been a consistent threat for two seasons now. The 29-year old is a top-15 golfer in the world again. Things have come full circle for him.
A win at The Masters would completely signify that.
However, if he doesn’t win there, the schedule is so compact that he’ll have three more opportunities to add another one across the next four months. He likely will be a factor later this season in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Golf is just better when Jordan Spieth is in contention and winning golf tournaments. He always raises his game in the weeks leading up to The Masters and this season seems to be no different.
While Spieth couldn’t pick up his second career Valspar Championship, he certainly proved that he’s in form and ready to compete as we get into the major’s portion of the golf schedule.