Jordan Spieth shot a 4-under-par 66 and shot up the leader board to within reach of a career Grand Slam on Friday. Then he visited the media center to field questions about his round at the PGA Championship.
The first three answers all included the word “confidence,” as in how it now stands, and how it stood before this week at Bethpage Black.
Spieth is too polite to publicly complain about such lines of inquiry, but he did admit, “It’s just annoying to talk about negativity a lot.”
This is what happens when you are a three-time major champion, all before the age of 24, who has not had a top-20 finish this season and has not won anywhere since the 2017 British Open.
Little was expected of Spieth coming into the tournament. Now here he is at 5 under halfway through and in position to make history if Brooks Koepka ever cools off.
So . . . confidence?
“I think confidence-wise, I’ve been there,” he said. “It’s been more where I’m looking. I’m seeing tighter targets the better I’m hitting it. Therefore, I’m standing on tees willing to take on draws when there’s trouble right and just knowing how to get the ball drawing and missing left, if anything.”
He used his birdie at the seventh hole as an example. “That was just a shot that I had no chance of hitting this entire year, and I just absolutely pummeled one,” he said. “Just a tight draw on my line when there was trouble right.”
Spieth began on the more difficult back nine, where he logged two birdies and two bogeys. Then he birdied four holes on the front nine, including two of the last three.
“I’m 100 percent not hitting it as well as I did a couple of years ago, but I’m hitting it a lot better than I did at the end of last year, beginning of this year,” he said.
Might it be enough to start thinking about the career Grand Slam? Spieth said he has not allowed that thought to creep into his mind.
“It certainly hasn’t,” he said. “I haven’t been in contention on a Sunday since the [British] Open last year, and if I’m able to put some good work in [Saturday], I will be in contention on Sunday.
“At that point, I will be just more trying to win a golf tournament. It won’t matter to me what tournament it is.”