LOS ANGELES: World No.7 Jordan Spieth tries to match fellow Texan Ben Hogan as a back-to-back winner of the PGA Dean & DeLuca Invitational when play begins Thursday (Friday in Manila) at Colonial Country Club.
Hogan, a five-time winner of the Fort Worth event, won back-to-back titles twice, the only player to defend a crown since the tournament began in 1946.Spieth captured the title last year, making six birdies on the back nine on Sunday to win by three shots. It was Spieth’s first victory since a back-nine disaster on Sunday cost him the 2016 Masters title.
Since then, Spieth has added the Pebble Beach trophy to his collection in February for his ninth career PGA title, a haul that includes the 2015 Masters and US Open.
But Spieth has missed the cut in three of his past five starts, including the Players Championship and Byron Nelson tournament in the past two weeks.
Part of the trouble has been with putting, so last week he switched to a mallet putter. After a one-week experiment, his Scotty Cameron putter returns to the back this week.
“I was having a tough time lining the ball up where I wanted it and getting comfortable with my setup and that’s why I made a switch to a putter that lined itself up,” Spieth said Wednesday.
“Just lost a little bit of the feel that I had with the putter I had been using for however many years. But now I feel a lot more comfortable with my alignment. I feel like I’ve got my set up back to where I want it. Now I have that feel.”
Spieth said he simply needed a different look at all aspects of his putting.
“It has all been set-up related,” Spieth said. “I just needed to look at something different. I didn’t know if it would be a week or a month. Ended up being a week and it feels good now.”
Spieth will play the first two rounds alongside fellow Americans Pat Perez and two-time Colonial winner Zach Johnson.
The field also features sixth-ranked Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who won his 2001 Colonial debut and tees off Thursday alongside compatriot Jon Rahm and South Korea’s Kim Si-Woo, coming off his victory two weeks ago at The Players Championship.
Rahm, making his Colonial debut, said he has a simple rule about new courses that he and his caddie follow.
“Don’t tell me where the problems are. Don’t tell me where the bad things are. Just tell me where I have to hit it,” Rahm said. “It simplifies the thought process for me.”