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Shock! Horror! Jordan Spieth Misses Cut At Riviera

By: Golfshake Editor | Mon 22 Feb 2016 | Comments

Post by Sports Writer, Derek Clements

SO, FINALLY it happened. Jordan Spieth arrived at the Northern Trust Open, played at the glorious Riviera Country Club, putted like a dog, shot the worst round of his professional career and missed the cut.

It wasn't so much that he opened with a 79 as the way he played that was the most shocking thing. There has long been a sense that if Spieth's putting touch deserts him then he is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill PGA Tour pro. And it deserted him in spades during the first round.

He will say (he DID say) that the greens are among the smallest on tour and that there were some ferociously tough pin positions. While that is true, it didn't seem to bother the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson. And they managed to find most fairways (oh, OK, Watson didn't find that many), while Spieth hit far too many approaches from the rough - proper rough for a change.

Spieth missed fairways and greens galore in the first round. That was bad enough, but when he found the putting surfaces he barely looked like holing any putt of any length. He struggled for line and length and his putting stroke looked edgy. It was a big worry for a man whose touch on and around the greens won his two majors in 2015, finish second in another and fall one shot short of reaching the playoff in the fourth.

It is to his eternal credit that he was able to battle his way to a second round of 68, but he missed the cut by miles. This comes hard on the heels of a performance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am that was saved only by a final round of 66.

Of course, this is not the first time he has had to head home early. He struggled for form during the early part of the FedEx Cup playoffs before coming good, but his game was in nothing like the state we witnessed at Riviera.

What will be most worrying for Spieth is the form shown on the greens by McIlroy, who has struggled all season with his putter. Indeed, his woes go back to last season, when he seemed incapable of holing anything longer than 12 inches - and then not always. Let's be clear about something - if McIlroy plays his best golf and putts well, Spieth will not get close to him. We know that, Rory knows that, and Spieth knows it too.

On the other hand, Spieth cannot possibly play and putt as badly again as he did at Riviera. With Rickie Fowler having already won once in 2016 and come within a whisker of doing so again, Hideki Matsuyama continuing to fulfil his huge potential and Jason Day surely on the way back to his best, the prospects are tantalising. Blimey, even Adam Scott looked like he knew what he was doing on the greens at Riviera.

I believe it is McIlroy who will win The Masters and possibly the US Open. And it is McIlroy who will finish the year as the world No1. I have this gut feeling that Fowler will become our Open champion at Troon and that Matsuyama will land his first major at the US PGA Championship. Spieth may have to make do with an Olympic gold medal. 

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