5 things that could help Jordan Spieth back to his best

11 Mar 2016 10:53

World number one Jordan Spieth struggled to an opening 76 in the defence of his Valspar Championship and faces a battle to avoid his second missed cut of the season.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five areas that the Masters and US Open champion could address to rediscover the form which saw him win five times in 2015.

1. Have a rest

Spieth may only be 22 years old, but he already appears to be suffering from a busy schedule. S ince the Presidents Cup in South Korea in October he has competed in Shanghai, Australia, the Bahamas, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, as well as two tournaments on the west coast of the United States and another on the east. "I think he's just running a bit out of steam," playing partner Henrik Stenson said. "He's travelled a lot, had a tough schedule. I think he's a bit flat on energy and needs a bit of time to recover.'' Spieth said in Abu Dhabi that he had learnt his lesson and would not make the same mistakes again, but with massive appearance fees on offer it will be interesting to see if he can resist the temptation.

2. Reduce expectations

There may be nothing Spieth can do about the expectations other people have of him, but he can try to reduce the pressure he was putting on himself after starting the year by shooting 30 under par to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii by eight shots. ''The four tournaments that I played in between Hawaii and Doral, I certainly think the expectations that I put on myself were too high because of Hawaii, so I kind of needed to dial it back a little bit," he said on Wednesday. ''Obviously you want to set high end, borderline unrealistic expectations for yourself because if you get anywhere close to it you're going to be there, but there's a balance that I need to find. It has been a learning experience this year.''

3. Stay off social media

Speaking in Hawaii, Spieth admitted he struggled with "trying to quiet the noise" of social media, adding: " I've just gone away from looking at any comments on Instagram, Twitter. People just want to say stuff just to say stuff." However, he couldn't resist responding to abuse from an Instagram user on Thursday night and even complained about the PGA Tour's official Twitter account using a quote he seemed to feel was taken out of context. Social media can be a great way to connect with your fans, but Spieth would be advised to never read the comments.

4. Don't panic

Spieth came in for similar scrutiny after the worst opening round of his career in the Northern Trust Open in February, an eight-over-par 79 which led to a missed cut. However, he did respond with a 68 in the second round and has a good record of bouncing back from poor scores. After shooting 82 in the Memorial Tournament in 2013 and 80 in the Tour Championship in 2014, he shot 68 and 71 respectively.

5. Work on his game

Form figures of 1-5-2-21-MC-17 in 2016 are hardly indicative of a crisis, but there is obviously room for improvement. Spieth is ranked 137th in proximity to the hole, 102nd in greens in regulation and just 187th in sand save percentage, which suggests the biggest problem lies with his irons. Missing the cut at Innisbrook could be a blessing in disguise if it gives Spieth time on the range with long-term coach Cameron McCormick ahead of his next tournament in a fortnight's time.