If you were expecting Jordan Spieth to trash his hotel room after a woeful start to his Valspar Championship defense, you will be sorely disappointed.
The world No. 1, who has scuffled since his 2016 opening win at Kapalua, put up a woeful 5-over 76 in Thursday’s round of the first of five title defenses he will face this season. That included six bogeys and one birdie, but the two-time major winner, who has been known to flash a temper inside the ropes, was initially philosophical — and practical — about his less-than-stellar day.
"What good does kicking the hotel room door do other than possibly injuring my foot and then having to withdraw?" Spieth asked reporters after finishing nine shots back of 18-hole pace-setters Keegan Bradley and two others. "I put it down to one of those days."
Spieth has had "one of those days" too frequently since his eight-shot laugher at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. A 66 in the finale was not enough to offset a third-round 74 at Pebble Beach, where he finished T21. He missed the cut at Riviera, thanks to a career-high first-round score of 79, and 73-73 on the weekend Doral netted him a T17.
And while he may have brushed off the door-kicking suggestion, Spieth took out his frustration later on social media. Seems he did not take kindly to a critic who observed that if Spieth’s putter "is not working, he’s garbage."
Spieth blasted back, telling the "troll" to "go do research before hating."
Spieth also took the PGA Tour’s Twitter account to task for highlighting the "kicking the door" quote. Golf Channel captured the back and forth, but both parties have since deleted the tweets.
Rory McIlroy then jumped into the fray, coming to the defense of Spieth with a tweet of his own.
No, he's not TW, he's not slumping and he's not done. He's a double major winning 22 year old. He'll be just fine!! https://t.co/z0JHj72SiH— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) March 10, 2016
All in all, not the best day for young Spieth, who is clearly struggling in the run-up to his Masters defense four weeks hence. Thursday’s 76 came on a Copperhead course he bent to his will a year ago, burying that long putt on the third playoff hole to win the 2015 event, a victory that sparked his Player of the Year campaign.
Things did not go well for Spieth from the beginning, as he carded a bogey on No. 10, his first hole of the day, and added four more crooked numbers in the next six holes.
"Wasn't a very good round," Spieth said. "I got off to a poor start and I was behind the 8-ball with gusty winds on a tough golf course."
Depends on whom you ask, apparently, since Bradley navigated his way around the Snake Pit without getting bitten — and with a short putter that has had little bite of its own of late. But if the 2011 PGA champion, who had a miserable 2015 as he made the adjustment from an anchored belly putter to a shorter stick, wins his first tourney since 2012, he can thank Adam Scott.
In fact, he already has. Bradley, who hit 9 of 13 fairways in regulation, 11 of 18 greens, and needed just 25 putts to complete his round, cited Scott’s two victories in the last two weeks as incentive.
"That got me motivated and made me feel good," Bradley said, "so thanks, Adam."
Spieth will need some inspiration of his own — and perhaps a break from social media — if he has a chance of making it to the weekend.