Jordan Spieth says he is embracing a more silent approach to toughening his mental game at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Spieth, who shot rounds of 68, 71 and 71 at Firestone Country Club, says he's going to cut down the chatter with caddie Michael Greller after each shot, which, though largely present during his rise to the top of the game, has added to his slow play and put him on the clock repeatedly over the past year. The 22-year-old was flagged for slow play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, and twice at the 2016 Masters. He was warned at the U.S. Open, and has drawn criticism a handful of other times for slowing down the pace of tournament play.
"I told Michael before the round, I'm going to start the rest of this year to be a lot stronger mentally than I have been and just not dwell in conversation on each shot," Spieth told the Akron Beacon Journal. "I'm trying to speed up my process, as well, and I think we did that, too."
The 2015 Masters and U.S. Open champ has also taken notice of what people are saying on social media about his sluggishness on the course.
"I noticed and I’d get plenty of comments on it from other people," Spieth said. “But [coach] Cameron [McCormick] also mentioned, 'Hey, I think you’re going to play better if you just step up and swing.' So I’m trying to do a bit of that."
Spieth has had an up and down season; following his T2 collapse at the Masters, Spieth missed the cut at the Players Championship, won the Dean & Deluca Invitational, and finished T57 and T37 in the Memorial and U.S. Open, respectively. He's not yet ready to call it a slump, though.
"This is kind of a phase that I feel like everyone goes through," Spieth said. "A down phase in ball-striking where you're just trying to find something that frees you up to swing through the ball.
"My chipping is on, short game is on, and I'm working towards it. I've been hitting a lot of balls. Once I find something that clicks, I can run with it."
Will Spieth run with it at a higher speed than in the past? That's the plan, anyway.