It’s been quite some time since Masters champion Jordan Spieth had to explain a performance this poor.
The Texan had a post-Masters letdown in the opening round of the RBC Heritage on Thursday, shooting three-over 74 to end his run of 16 straight rounds under par.
He blamed it all on himself – and not the two-day celebratory media tour in New York this week.
“I didn’t drive the ball well, didn’t particularly strike my irons well. My chipping and putting weren’t there,” he said.
“It was just an off day.”
And the sort of performance that stands in stark contrast with how Spieth played the past month.
He won the Valspar Championship, finished second at the Texas Open and lost a playoff in the Houston Open before capturing the green jacket and his first major championship at Augusta National.
It was a lot to ask of anyone to come back just as strong, let alone a 21-year-old who hadn’t gone through it before.
“No excuses, I just didn’t have it today,” he said.
He better have it on Friday if he hopes to hang around for the weekend.
Spieth stands eight shots behind Graeme McDowell and Matt Every, tied for the top at five-under 66.
Cameron Smith is tied fourth after firing a three-under-par round to be the best-placed Australian.
“Got a good feeling about tomorrow,” Spieth said.
“Feel like I got some swings in, got in somewhat of a rhythm and can at least go out and feel the shots.”
Don’t bet against the young Texan.
He got into Sea Pines Resort late on Tuesday night after some 25 appearances and interviews in New York, including an appearance with David Letterman and seeing the view atop the Empire State Building.
He acknowledged his preparation this week had suffered.
Spieth was greeted by a large gallery on the first tee, crowds five and six deep stretching their mobile phones to snap pictures and get video footage.
“Way to go, Jordan,” someone shouted after his tee shot.
The applause continued throughout the round and, while Spieth appreciated the sentiment, had difficulty concentrating on his game.
It was clear, though, this would not be the Spieth who tied the Masters’ scoring mark of 18-under 270 set by Tiger Woods in 1997.
He was in perfect position on the par-five second, which played the easiest in round one, when he left his approach shot short and in the bunker.
Spieth could not make an eight-footer to save birdie.
He was short of the green again on the par-4 sixth hole, leading to the first of three bogeys – Spieth had just one bogey in his first 36 holes at Augusta National.
The wheels truly came off at the par-3 14th when Spieth hit into the water and watched his third shot spin back about 15 feet from the cup.
He made a double-bogey five.