Golf: Spieth gives long-range putting clinic
REUTERS - Jordan Spieth, whose putting and short game brilliance lifted him to victory two weeks ago in the British Open at Royal Birkdale, was at it again in Thursday's opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The world number two sank two long-range birdie putts back-to-back, including a 50-footer, to turn an ordinary round into a tie for third, two strokes off the pace after a three-under 67 at Firestone Country Club.
After the round, the American provided a glimpse into how he goes about doing it.
"I'm reading them in three pieces. I have a really good process in the way that I read them in order to hit it with the right speed," Spieth told the Golf Channel.
"So I get somewhere near the right line, obviously it's a bit of luck for it to actually go in from that distance. There are so many other factors."
Having read the beginning, middle and end of the putt's route, speed becomes the critical component.
"But if you hit it with the right pace, somewhere near the right line and you're going to scare the hole.
"That's a lot easier said than done, but when my pace starts to feel good, when I start to get that really dialed in, that's when they'll start going in," he said.
Spieth's 67 came in his first round since his Birkdale victory. Since then he celebrated his 24th birthday with a cupcake balanced on the spout of the revered Claret Jug and took a swig out of the old pitcher on a concert stage.
The Texan said he is not ready to move past the British Open triumph even as he faces the chance to complete a career grand slam at a record young age in next week's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.
"I won't put it behind me. I plan on continuing the celebration as long as I can until I wear it out," he said.
"But obviously, the focus is back on golf this week, trying to put together four rounds where I continue to improve each round as we head into the year's last major.
"I've got the PGA Championship, which I haven't won and it's the one that's on the radar now."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in Safety Harbor, Florida; Editing by Ian Ransom)