It’s the mark of a great player when you have decorated your season’s CV with a pair of PGA Tour wins, finished runner-up at the Masters and the general consensus is that you are underachieving.
Well, when you put Jordan Spieth’s current campaign into the context of his last – just the two majors and the FedExCup trophy sealed emphatically by victory at the Tour Championship – such an appraisal is almost justifiable.
Nevertheless, on the eve of the US PGA Championship which just so happens to coincide with Spieth’s 23rd birthday, the Texan should be celebrating double. Because, for now at least, his is not the name on everyone’s lips heading into the year’s last major.
Ladbrokes customers should also be rejoicing, given that Spieth is priced up at 16/1 for the PGA title.
After all, the American has spent the majority of the time since powering to a maiden Masters title in 2015 as a single-digit favourite for the big ones.
That final-round Masters meltdown back in April showed the first chink in Spieth’s armour and comparisons with Rory McIlroy’s own 2011 Augusta disaster were inevitable.
But like the Northern Irish star who came back to win the US Open that same year, Spieth possesses the talent to bounce back the very same season and scoop another biggy.
Finishes of T37 and 30th at the US Open and Open Championship respectively have clearly bumped up Spieth’s price and it’s true he’s been a little more wayward off the tee this season – potentially the result of over thinking a little, but his stats in that department are not wildly different to 2015.
Key to the Dallas-native’s success is his putter. Strangely, that most reliable of strokes was the one which deserted him at Royal Troon.
Had the flat stick been conducting some of its usual heat, then the third place he achieved at the WGC-Bridgestone prior to that frustrating trip to Scotland might have been built on.
As it is, Spieth still leads the Tour for putting average and putts-per-round, while he ranks third in birdie average and scoring average.
With a couple of practice rounds under his belt at Baltusrol’s Lower Course, the 16/1 shot was in optimistic mood.
“Simplifying things has really been the trend recently. It’s really helped me,” said Spieth. “Akron, I didn’t have my best stuff and we ended up third. The Open Championship, I hit the ball extremely well and just had an off putting week. I feel like I’m actually trending very much in the right direction right now.
“My goal has changed now to trying to win a career Grand Slam, and this would be a fantastic time to grab a third leg.”
As we are paying each way on the first seven places, make sure you have a few pennies on an oddly under-the-radar Spieth.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.