June 11, 2019 / 7:38 PM / 3 months ago

Spieth enjoys timely return to form ahead of U.S. Open

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) - Former champion Jordan Spieth arrived at this week’s U.S. Open confident that his months-long struggles on the course are firmly behind him after a string of three consecutive top-10 finishes.

Jun 10, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Jordan Spieth hits from a bunker on the eighth hole during a practice round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Spieth, who will seek at fourth major title and first since his triumph at the 2017 British Open, said his putting stroke has been fluid for months while his swing is also progressing in the right direction.

“But there’s one thing of knowing how to do it. There’s another of practising it and then trusting it on the golf course in tournament play,” Spieth told reporters on Tuesday at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“And those last four weeks were big for me to have — be able to trust it in tournament play, have those reps under pressure, see where I’m actually at and see what I need to improve on.”

Spieth, who will play the opening two rounds this week alongside fellow American Tiger Woods and Englishman Justin Rose, showed a long-awaited return to form at last month’s PGA Championship where he finished in a share of third place.

The result, during which he looked like his old self on the greens and putted with confidence, marked his first top-10 placing since last July. Spieth then earned a share of eighth place at Colonial before a tie for seventh at the Memorial.

“When I was swinging at my best, it was real nice and around my body, something that a lot of guys just take for granted. That needs to be a constant reminder for me,” said Spieth.

“And I’m working on it. It’s not there yet, but it’s getting there. I’m working the right direction. And now it’s just about trust in tournament rounds.

“Whether that leads to good results or not, that’s how I get back to the form I want to be in quicker.”

Prior to his recent string of encouraging results, Spieth said his setup was off and that he tried to manipulate his swing inappropriately which led to him making mistakes.

The 25-year-old Texan also said his putting struggles had everything to do with him being off visually, in that his eyes did not match the line he would set with his putter.

But Spieth was undeterred through it all and stayed true to the process and worked his way back into form.

“Everybody gets off at some point in their career, and if I can make this kind of — if this is the last year or so results-wise, off for me, then — and I can use these kind of blueprints of how I’ve gotten back as kind of my set places to go to, then things should stay in place a lot easier and not get as far off,” said Spieth.

“And that’s all I’m looking to do. I mean, there’s no — I felt like I was able to put myself in chances to win tournaments without really having much.

“So when I get it back, it’s just more consistent ... I’m just looking for more consistency, is really number one. That’s the difference in winning and not.”

Reporting by Steve Kating; Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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