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Kenny B

Does Jordan Spieth have the yips?

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A lot of talk about Jordan Spieth this week as he starts the new year.  I'm sure the conversation will continue on this week in the Sony Open thread depending on how well he does, but I've been tracking his stats for the last couple of years.

2017

Strokes Gained ranking     42
3-Putt Avoidance ranking    7
Total Putting                       68

 

In 2018 it's a different story

Strokes Gained ranking     123
3-Putt Avoidance ranking   141
Total Putting                         118

He improved late in 2018 over early 2018, but the rest of his game requires a good short game, and he hasn't demonstrated that recently.

Good luck this week playing with Gary Woodland and Bryson D'



Can’t question the numbers, but unless you give numbers specific to Jordan the drop in ranking could also be attributed to the field playing better. It is probably a combination of both.
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9 minutes ago, cnosil said:


Can’t question the numbers, but unless you give numbers specific to Jordan the drop in ranking could also be attributed to the field playing better. It is probably a combination of both.

 

Can a player have these numbers and still win; maybe if they get hot for one week.  Spieth is still pretty good SG tee to green, but he can't score like he used to.

Now that he's married, maybe he has settled down and can focus better.  The Sony Open should be a good indicator.

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4 minutes ago, cnosil said:

 


Can’t question the numbers, but unless you give numbers specific to Jordan the drop in ranking could also be attributed to the field playing better. It is probably a combination of both.

 

I agree with the sentiment that it is probably a combination. I went to the PGA website to see the actual numbers instead of rankings. The data below is the total strokes gained putting.

2017 (As of 10/1/17)

RANK THIS WEEK PLAYER NAME ROUNDS AVERAGE TOTAL SG:PUTTING MEASURED ROUNDS
1 Michael Thompson 60 0.84 36.94 44
2 Rickie Fowler 78 0.812 47.934 59
3 Luke Donald 50 0.704 30.285 43
4 Graeme McDowell 56 0.599 28.775 48
5 Brian Harman 104 0.568 46.581 82
6 Shane Lowry 52 0.545 18.544 34
T7 Jonas Blixt 74 0.536 31.627 59
T7 Patrick Reed 107 0.536 42.917 80
9 Rafa Cabrera Bello 63 0.515 21.632 42
10 Brooks Koepka 88 0.505 31.793 63
39 Jordan Spieth 85 0.339 21.727

64

2018 (As of 9/30/18)

RANK THIS WEEK PLAYER NAME ROUNDS AVERAGE TOTAL SG:PUTTING MEASURED ROUNDS
1 Greg Chalmers 56 0.79 32.387 41
2 Jason Day 75 0.77 37.72 49
3 Alex Noren 67 0.758 37.154 49
4 Daniel Summerhays 51 0.736 27.965 38
5 Webb Simpson 95 0.692 56.017 81
6 Beau Hossler 104 0.685 61.617 90
7 Johnson Wagner 75 0.623 34.291 55
8 Peter Malnati 87 0.619 46.409 75
9 Patrick Rodgers 97 0.561 40.931 73
10 Emiliano Grillo 94 0.546 39.84 73
T123 Jordan Spieth 81 -0.034 -2.224

66

I averaged the entire field for each year and found that the total strokes gained improved by over a stroke (2.43 in 2017 versus 3.57 in 2018). At the same time, Spieth went the other direction by over 0.35 strokes. If Spieth had maintained his 2017 putting stats in 2018, he would have ended up in 34th - a slight improvement over 2017. While the entire field improved, this tells me most of the improvement came from the lower 2/3 of the field.

 

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Spieth didn’t make a lot of long putts which he was one of the best at which in turned made his short putting stats worse which was just ok at.  His issue per him and his coach was s setup issue and it took him a long time to get straight. 

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He's had an "alignment issue" for a year.  I had one once; figured it out after 9-holes.

He has to go low tomorrow to make the cut.  Missing the cut will not help his confidence.  I keep bringing up Jordan Spieth because I really like the guy, even when it talks to the ball.  

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Interestingly, I just finished reading "The Lost Art of Putting" and Speith was mentioned as an example of a great putter. Obviously the book was written several years ago.


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I actually just read an article that statistically refutes the notion that Spieth has the yips.

He was in the top 10 of strokes gained putting inside of 8 feet (the yip zone) and has been a well above average putter since last May.

Statistically his tee to green ball (what often separates players) has been terrible and he has not recaptured his other worldly strokes gained putting from 15-25 feet.

So you can buy into the yips thing - he did struggle with the putter the first 1/3 of last season or go with the numbers that say his ball striking is off.

Either way I’m in Kenny’s camp of being a Spieth fan and would like to see him return to form. Personally I think he looked at the other guys at the top, saw how far they hit it and tried to chase distance rather than continuing to work on his strengths.


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50 minutes ago, revkev said:

I actually just read an article that statistically refutes the notion that Spieth has the yips.

He was in the top 10 of strokes gained putting inside of 8 feet (the yip zone) and has been a well above average putter since last May.

Statistically his tee to green ball (what often separates players) has been terrible and he has not recaptured his other worldly strokes gained putting from 15-25 feet.

So you can buy into the yips thing - he did struggle with the putter the first 1/3 of last season or go with the numbers that say his ball striking is off.

Either way I’m in Kenny’s camp of being a Spieth fan and would like to see him return to form. Personally I think he looked at the other guys at the top, saw how far they hit it and tried to chase distance rather than continuing to work on his strengths.


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Curiously, in 2018 Spieth's ranking was:

5 footers:   57th
4 footers:   127th
3 footers:   181st

As good a putter as Spieth was when he came on tour, those ranking numbers is not a recipe for winning tournaments.

I agree that he probably spent the last year and a half trying to chase distance.  As a result his approach shots weren't as good, he's putting for birdie from further away, and that equals more 3-putts with that poor short range performance.  

Remember when he used to look at the hole on short putts?  Last year he quit doing that, then he seemed to go back to it for awhile, then not again.  I think he has lost his way on short putts.  

I started looking at the hole when putting mostly because Spieth did.  Initially, it was fine for short putts. but there is a range where it becomes uncomfortable.  Eventually, I got through that and now putt looking at the hole on all putts. Now I have trouble when I stop looking at the hole.  I wonder if Spieth is having trouble from short range because he made the switch, and it's not comfortable anymore.

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1 hour ago, revkev said:

I actually just read an article that statistically refutes the notion that Spieth has the yips.

He was in the top 10 of strokes gained putting inside of 8 feet (the yip zone) and has been a well above average putter since last May.

Statistically his tee to green ball (what often separates players) has been terrible and he has not recaptured his other worldly strokes gained putting from 15-25 feet.

So you can buy into the yips thing - he did struggle with the putter the first 1/3 of last season or go with the numbers that say his ball striking is off.

Either way I’m in Kenny’s camp of being a Spieth fan and would like to see him return to form. Personally I think he looked at the other guys at the top, saw how far they hit it and tried to chase distance rather than continuing to work on his strengths.


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I'm assuming you mean the article over on GolfWRX. I read it too. I forget exactly what Spieth's schedule was like last year, but the sample size did seem a tad small. Regardless, you can still see a clear trend in the latter half of the season where his putting improved and his long game fell off. I have little doubt he'll get it all back. I think he just fell into the Tiger trap of looking for improvement where little was needed after 2015 & 2016. He's smart, he'll figure it out.

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I'm assuming you mean the article over on GolfWRX. I read it too. I forget exactly what Spieth's schedule was like last year, but the sample size did seem a tad small. Regardless, you can still see a clear trend in the latter half of the season where his putting improved and his long game fell off. I have little doubt he'll get it all back. I think he just fell into the Tiger trap of looking for improvement where little was needed after 2015 & 2016. He's smart, he'll figure it out.


Yes that was the article -
@Kenny if you were to break down those numbers by the half year there was a marked improvement in the second half of the season. He was an above average putter the second half of the season.

Jordan is the modern Phil in this regard. People thought he was a much better putter than he was. Short putting has never been a strength. Mid range yes, short no.

Like all golf it’s about the ball striking. If you don’t hit it well putting doesn’t matter all that much.

Think of it this way - if it takes me 2 shots to get to 20 feet and you 3 you are never making that up with putting - maybe on a particular hole but over time you’ll get crushed.


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1 hour ago, revkev said:

 


Yes that was the article -
@Kenny if you were to break down those numbers by the half year there was a marked improvement in the second half of the season. He was an above average putter the second half of the season.

Jordan is the modern Phil in this regard. People thought he was a much better putter than he was. Short putting has never been a strength. Mid range yes, short no.

Like all golf it’s about the ball striking. If you don’t hit it well putting doesn’t matter all that much.

Think of it this way - if it takes me 2 shots to get to 20 feet and you 3 you are never making that up with putting - maybe on a particular hole but over time you’ll get crushed.


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I disagree that short putting wasn't his strength. He was good enough putting from short range with his iron and wedge play when he was winning.  Currently, he isn't good enough with his short putting to make up for shortcomings in the rest of his game.

                        Rank
                  3'           4'  
2015        33          26
2016        87          42
2017          7        117
2018      181       127

I don't disagree about 2 vs 3 shots to get to 20 feet, but if we both hit it to 30 feet and I make that 3 footer for for par more ofter than you do, then putting matters a lot.  Jordan misses too many 3 footers, and it's hard to watch.

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