Even last year, when he was making roses out of azaleas and turning water into wine, Jordan Spieth laid an egg in his hometown.
Sunday’s finish, therefore — a tie for 18th place at the AT&T Byron Nelson — shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise.
Spieth, the No. 2-ranked player in the world and a Dallas native, is having mechanical issues. In comparison to his meteoric 2015 start, his golden swing is in a slump.
“I almost matched my best finish in six starts here,” Spieth said Sunday after his final-round 74. “So I can look at that as a positive.”
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But the Dallas Jesuit product was just trying to put a light spin on a frustrating finish.
After sitting alone in second place at the start of the final round, Spieth hit only five of 14 fairways and made six bogeys to tumble out of contention.
His memory is correct, however. As a 16 year-old high school student in 2010, Spieth finished in a knot for 16th place. Since then he has finished in ties for 32nd, 68th,
37th, 30th and now 18th. His final-round scores have included a 77 and 75, in addition to the 74.
All in all, I haven’t had great success here in the past.
Jordan Spieth, speaking about the Nelson
“It was an off round,” Spieth said. “Just didn’t really get anything going. It kinda stinks, you know, given I had a chance here at a hometown event.
“All in all, I haven’t had great success here in the past.”
In golf, it seems, mere mortals enjoy no home-field advantage. When the tour comes to your hometown, the cellphone never stops ringing. The neighbors and cousins all want tickets. Your caddie and two other young pros move into your 16,655-square-foot mansion.
The Four Seasons Resort course offered Spieth no escape. At the club gates, there were pictures of Jordan’s smiling face, welcoming patrons.
Need a player’s autograph? Look for the sign with the photo of Jordan Spieth.
And all along the fairways and around the greens, the gallery was waving and fanning themselves with free cut-outs of Spieth’s face — Jordan on a Stick.
The tournament’s title sponsor, AT&T, is also one of Spieth’s sponsors. Trying to please, he also played host to the tournament’s annual youth clinic on Tuesday afternoon.
It would have been a load to shoulder even for a seasoned veteran, much less a 22-year-old.
Yet, Spieth claimed afterward that that wasn’t the problem.
It wasn’t quite there today. A lot of good putts just went by the lip, and sometimes that happens.
Spieth on his final-round 74
“For the week, it was ball-striking,” he said. “But you can’t necessarily rely on your putter the way I relied on it for three rounds.
“It wasn’t quite there today. A lot of good putts just went by the lip, and sometimes that happens.”
Playing on what could be considered your home course, however, has seldom appeared to hold an advantage on the PGA Tour.
The great Arnold Palmer lost the 1962 U.S. Open in his Oakmont back yard to a kid named Jack Nicklaus.
Lee Trevino never won the Nelson. Jeff Maggert won 18 times as a professional, but never on his home course at The Woodlands outside Houston.
J.J. Henry played Colonial frequently as a collegiate golfer at TCU, but he, too, has never won there.
The exceptions seem to be the immortals. Nicklaus won his Memorial tournament twice. And Ben Hogan won Colonial five times.
But that was Hogan and Nicklaus.
Spieth was asked Sunday whether his disappointing finish reinforces the notion that hometown players have an added burden.
“No,” he answered. “I think it’s really hard to win — in general — on the PGA Tour. Doesn’t matter where you are.
“It didn’t affect my play. I had an off day today.”
When asked what he would take away from his week at the Nelson, Spieth said, “Frustration. Frustration with today.
72.5 Jordan Spieth’s final round average over six Nelson appearances
“You don’t go from the final group in second place alone and finish 18th and find many positives to take out of that.”
Next week will be better, Spieth suggested. The Colonial course seems more suited to his game.
He also won’t be the tournament’s poster boy. No clinics or cousins to host. No Jordans on a Stick.
For the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world, however, home sweet home — again — was anything but.