Consider the reigning Masters champion rested, ready and eager to impress legions of hometown golf fans when he heads to the first tee for Thursday’s opening round at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Dallas resident Jordan Spieth, 21, seeks to build on the first major championship of his career by trying to add a pair of personal majors to his collection during the PGA Tour’s two-week trek through Dallas-Fort Worth.
“To come back home with the green jacket and be introduced like that is really special,” Spieth said Tuesday, reflecting on the significance of hearing the phrase “Masters champion” attached to his name at Colonial and during next week’s AT&T Byron Nelson in Irving. “It’s where it really starts to hit me what it means. Colonial is a place that’s special to me.
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“I obviously put expectations on myself this year for these events, as I do every year. That’s not a negative thing. That’s a positive. I focus as if they’re major championships, and that’s how I approach them. There’s nothing better than playing well in front of your hometown family and friends.”
Because Spieth played better than anyone last month in Augusta, Ga., he has soaked in some unique sights since tying the Masters tournament scoring record (18 under par) by collecting more birdies over four rounds (28) than any player in the history of the event.
He did the talk show circuit in New York. He rocked the green jacket at a Dallas Mavericks playoff game. He attended the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao title bout in Las Vegas. He spent part of last week at the Preakness, making appearances on behalf of his clothing sponsor (UnderArmour) before returning to Dallas before the race.
Along the way, Spieth saw his weight and energy levels drop during his flurry of post-Masters activities. At one point, he said he was down 10 pounds from the start of the season. But that changed last week, even with a two-day junket to Baltimore for Preakness-related activities, as he rested and restored his mental batteries while preparing for the Metroplex Majors and a potential career breakthrough at a tour stop in Texas.
“My energy is up. My weight’s back up,” Spieth said. “This is going to be a really fun stretch. I haven’t won a professional event in my home state. So that would be a nice goal to go for. I’m here to win this tournament this week.”
Spieth said out-of-town family members will attend both DFW tour stops. A group of alumni from his high school, Dallas Jesuit, have secured a hospitality area adjacent to the first tee for Thursday’s opening round at Colonial to cheer their conquering hero. Spieth said he is ready, physically and emotionally, to handle the buzz he has created for himself.
“The more support that I can have, the easier it’ll be to feed off the crowd,” Spieth said. “I think it’s awesome. This week’s going to be crazy. There will be roars all over [the course]. It’ll be echoing.”
Ideally, Spieth would like to leave Fort Worth with a plaid jacket similar to the green one he earned in Augusta. In his first two Colonial appearances, he’s tied for seventh (2013) and tied for 14th (2014). Among Colonial competitors, Spieth’s career scoring average in Fort Worth (68.13) ranks behind only two-time winner Zach Johnson (68.03) and Paul Casey (67.5).
“I’m very comfortable on the golf course. I’ve had success here,” said Spieth, who led Texas to the 2012 NCAA title in his lone season as a college golfer.
Peers envision Spieth, who has won four professional events in the past six months, building on his Masters triumph in a big way. Ben Crenshaw, a two-time Masters and Colonial champion, acknowledged actively rooting for Spieth as he watched the final round of the Masters on television.
“I’ll wear a smile on my face for the rest of my life about what happened,” Crenshaw said. “It confirms a lot of people’s beliefs, and mine, that he has another dimension about him. He’s just so mature and he’s such a manager of his game. He’s so proficient at an early age. His ascendancy has been remarkable. As a fellow Longhorn, I’m very happy.”
A notable Texas A&M graduate in this week’s field, Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer, also envisions many future tour titles for the Dallas native.
“I think Jordan is going to win a lot. That’s for sure,” Palmer said. “He’s definitely got the head on his shoulders and the game to do it.”
He’s also got the world’s most recognizable green jacket in his closet, although Spieth stressed there will be no public unveilings during the DFW tour stops.
“It’s in my closet, sandwiched between a couple of shirts. I know exactly where it is, though,” Spieth said, smiling. “I go in there, I look at it, pull it out and just kind of hold it as if it’s the greatest trophy that I’ve ever had. Because it is.”
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760