‘He visibly has the yips’: Hank Haney says Jordan Spieth misses most short putts on Tour

Jordan Spieth is making his 2019 debut with optimism and low expectations. The 25-year-old newlywed admitted he isn’t exactly sure where his game is entering the Sony Open, but is confident he’s working on the right things. “I know what’s wrong with Jordan Spieth, and I know what’s right with Jordan Spieth,” he said on Wednesday.

But one high-profile coach has his doubts. Hank Haney told ESPN.com that he has been studying Spieth’s putting stroke and can only come to one conclusion — and it involves golf’s dreaded Y-word.

Jordan Spieth Yips

Jordan Spieth struggled with his putting for much of 2018.

“He’s got to get his putting figured out,” Haney said. “I think he will. But he has to. And I think that spilled into the rest of his game. When I watch him putt, he visibly has the yips. You watch his hands on short putts and there is a tremor in there. I don’t care if the putt goes in or doesn’t. He was center cut on his first putt at the Ryder Cup. But his hands were shaking. He had to miss more short putts than anybody on Tour.”

The ESPN.com report cited another player, who wished to remain anonymous, referring to Spieth’s stroke as “yippy” and described his discomfort around putts.

Spieth spoke to his putting woes Wednesday. “Last year I was really off with the putting the first half of the year; that started to get better and then the swing got off,” he said. But he added that technology has aided his approach to putting practice and that he and his coach believe he’s on the right track.

2018 was a down year for Spieth. It was his first full season on Tour without a win, he slipped from No. 2 to No. 17 in the world, and struggled on the green, finishing outside the top 100 in most major putting statistics. He struggled particularly from short range: he was 181st on Tour from three feet and 127th from four feet.

Spieth teed off at 8 a.m. local Thursday at Waialae Country Club alongside Bryson DeChambeau and Gary Woodland.