Jordan Spieth back at US Open with rediscovered confidence

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SAN DIEGO — Jordan Spieth has quietly emerged this season from his funk of more than three years, which makes him a player to watch at this week’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

After struggling with his game since his British Open victory in 2017, Spieth has a win at the Valero Texas Open this season along with six top-5 finishes.

When he last played a U.S. Open, in September at Winged Foot, Spieth had little confidence in his game, something that has changed.

“Winged Foot was, ‘Oh boy, here we go,’ and I think this week is I’m in a position where I think I can stand on the 10th tee on Thursday [for the first round] and win this golf tournament,’’ Spieth said Tuesday. “As much as you want to say that you can fake it till you make it, I needed that confidence between then and now to really think that standing on the tee.“I three-putted the first and left a ball in a tree on my second hole of the tournament at Winged Foot, and from there it wasn’t very good.’’

“In a U.S. Open when you’re really struggling off the tee, it’s just not going to go well. You could get away with it at other places, but not at a U.S. Open. I think being in a better place allows me to feel like I’m going to tee off with a little more patience that, if I do make a couple bogeys, it’s fine, because I feel like I’m going to make some birdies, versus, ‘Oh no, the wheels are coming off.’

Spieth revealed he jammed his foot last week while carrying his golf clubs in South Carolina.

Jordan Spieth of the United States gestures on the 17th green
Jordan Spieth’s game appears to be back after a three-year slump.
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“It’s been hurting,” he said, “but it’s nothing that I’m going to do more damage to or anything like that, so I’m fine.“I played 18 [holes on Monday] and I should be good. I’m having a hard time pushing off on some of the drives, but I think [Monday] was better than the day before, which was better than the day before. So, I assume just continue treatment and rest, and it should be fine.’’

U.S. Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso, who has emulated the swing of Rory McIlroy, made a visit to Torrey Pines with hopes of meeting McIlroy. She walked three holes with him.

“He let me go inside the ropes; that was really great,’’ she said. “I talked to him about things. I can’t share it with you guys. I want to keep it with me. I saw Phil [Mickelson] activating his calves and I saw Jordan Spieth. I saw the great players. It’s been a great day.’’

She said she as most “nervous’’ meeting McIlroy

“I didn’t know how to say hi,” she said. “But he was so nice. He was so kind. He was so open. When I asked him a question, he was so honest. I hope I can ask him more advice. He said I swing it good. Maybe I can ask him someday about any tips about my swing. Maybe someday if he has the free time, if we can talk maybe more, then I will ask him.’’

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau recently had to return the winner’s trophy to USGA officials and said he was proud about the good condition in which he returned it.

“I was nice enough to bring it back in good shape, no dings, no dents,’’ he said. “Hopefully, I can take it back again this week. I took it to Albany in the Bahamas for a little bit. It was in some interesting places, but definitely places that were safe — taking it on the beach was fun and just taking pictures of it. That was cool. I took it over to a bunch of buddies’ houses. I had it in my hometown, which was pretty cool.“It was pretty special to have it back there and just getting everybody to see it. I grew up not too far away from my high school and was able to kind of tote it around there. It’s just fun bringing it back to places where you grew up and it meant so much to you that they had given everything they had to help me succeed and just being able to give back with that trophy was pretty cool.”

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States kisses the championship trophy in celebration after winning the 120th U.S. Open
Bryson DeChambeau enjoyed his time with the US Open trophy.
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San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and City Council President Jennifer Campbell on Wednesday will officially unveil a plaque celebrating Tiger Woods’ iconic putt on the 18th green that propelled him to victory in the 2008 U.S. Open held on the South Course at Torrey Pines.

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