Jordan Spieth ended a four-year skid Sunday when he won the Valero Texas Open.
Now, the 27-year-old is focused on the Masters, a tournament he won in 2015 en route to becoming the No. 1 golfer in the world.
When Spieth tees off Thursday at Augusta National, he’ll face a little less pressure, having finally earned a PGA Tour win after going 82 events without a victory. But he’ll nevertheless look to block any outside distractions, just as he tried to do during his 1,351-day drought, when public skepticism was rampant.
How does he intend to accomplish this? By subscribing to an old adage from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, of course.
“I think Bill Belichick, it’s one of his very key things: ‘Eliminate the noise,’ ” Spieth said Monday during his Masters news conference. “I remember seeing that at Gillette Stadium before I think The Ryder Cup in 2016, and it’s always stuck with me.”
Spieth had not won since the 2017 Open Championship before holding off Charley Hoffman for a 2-shot victory Sunday. It was a strange slump for a young golfer with immense potential and a budding track record, yet he maintained his same inner circle, including caddie Michael Greller and longtime swing coach Cameron McCormick, confident that things eventually would turn around.
“I’ve shut pretty much everything off for a number of years, actually — even when I was first, second in the world,” Spieth said Monday of the outside noise. “I just don’t think it’s useful. If you get to where you’re No. 1 in the world, I don’t really see why anyone who hasn’t been in that position should be giving advice that you would then take to mean something.
“Certainly, there are individuals that you trust, that would have knowledge. But as far as noise on making changes or this or that … I think I struggled a little with that early in my career, of listening to what was ‘wrong’ when there were 100 things right and there was one thing that was wrong about something that I did. And I look back now and I’m like, ‘The thing that person said was wrong was actually a weapon I had that was actually an advantage.’ So just gaining that kind of knowledge in turn helps me to, I guess, limit the noise that creeps into myself or my team.”
It’s probably premature to say Spieth is back. But a solid performance this week, whether it ends with a new green jacket or not, would go a long way toward strengthening his footing.