One of the best stories from the 2021 season was Jordan Spieth’s resurgence as world champion. Prior to his win at the Valero Texas Open in April, Spieth had endured nearly four years of a winless drought. The former number 1 in the world reached the low point at number 92 in the world ranking in January this year.
But a string of good finishes, starting with a T4 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, seemed to indicate things were going well. After Spieth’s comeback win – the 12th PGA title of his career – he finished T3 at the Masters and added two more second-place finishes: the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Open.
Spieth is now number 11 in the world and it is clear that he is “back”. But how did he manage to climb back out of the abyss? On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Spieth’s longtime coach, Cameron McCormick, offered his opinion.
Spieth is similar to Tiger Woods in that his swing has gone through several iterations, McCormick said. And in 2016, Spieth has strayed quite far from his blueprint. Despite Spieth’s successful 2017 season, which saw him win two Tour events and the Open, McCormick said Spieth’s swing was still pretty off-track from where it needed to be. As time went on, McCormick said Spieth had his own ideas about what he wanted to do with his swing and became his own primary coach.
“I became a more secondary instructor coach,” McCormick said. “He became less focused on the things that made him great, which is the ability to control the golf ball and the ability to make an impact.”
In mid-2020, McCormick said Spieth’s team convinced Spieth that pursuing a form-oriented swing technique – as in, using the setup and backswing as a platform to produce the impact he was looking for – was not the path for him.
“Eventually he bought in: ball back, impact back,” McCormick said. “A belief system that said let’s solve problems associated with the downswing to produce a sense of impact that aligns with who I am as a player.”
McCormick says his work with Spieth is now reminiscent of the Spieth he remembers from 2013-2015.
“He’s very happy with the progress,” McCormick said. “Jordan believes that difficulties make you better.”
For more information from McCormick, including what he believes was the most notable feature of Spieth’s game when he first met him, and why some star players relapse when they head off to college, check out the full interview below.