Jordan Spieth didn't mince words after his 4-over 74 to open The Barclays.
“I would argue that this was — after the tee shots — the worst round I’ve played in years,” Spieth said Thursday after his round at Plainfield Country Club.
The score was Spieth's worst since an opening-round, 3-over 75 at The Players back in May. Spieth played for the first two days with Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, who made noise throughout the week that the reaction to Spieth's record-setting Masters win was overblown and he was nowhere near done yet. Spieth looked nervous in the opening round and played poorly.
He seemed uncomfortable again on Thursday and didn't perform well. Afterward, Spieth confirmed the Donald Ross-designed course doesn't suit his eye.
"I'm not a big fan of poa annua (a type of grass) greens in general," Spieth said. "I don't seem to putt as well on them. Doesn't mean you can't. And then for me, personally, I struggle with wedges when you have to fly it at least to the hole.
"I like harder, firmer golf courses, and out here with the pins on four-degree slopes on shelves, I'm just not very good at being able to fly it just past and trust that it's going to spin back, just because we don't see it very often. I normally have poor wedge play on golf courses similar to this. That's what happened today. Just poor."
Even though Rory McIlroy isn't in the field this week -- he skipped the first leg of the playoffs to continue resting his ankle that he injured in July -- Spieth will have the Ulsterman breathing down his neck. If Spieth doesn't get it together on Friday afternoon in Round 2, he'll miss the cut in New Jersey, and he'd lose the No. 1 ranking he earned after the PGA Championship back to McIlroy. Spieth must finish inside the top 14 this week to main the top spot in the world.
The 22-year-old has responded well in the past to poor play and expects to again.
"Do what I've done best — bounce back," he said. "I come back strong tomorrow."
Sometimes trying the "Hero Shot" is a bad idea.
Web.com Tour golfer Peter Malnati provided an example on Thursday at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, when his second shot landed in the hazard short of the green at the par-3 12th. Malnati, who is fourth on the tour's money list heading into this week's regular-season finale, decided to play the shot from the muddy lie instead of taking a drop and a penalty stroke.
The shot didn't go well, with the ball rolling back into the hazard and mud getting all over his light-colored clothes.
Malnati's reaction was hilarious, "Are you kidding me?! All of this for that?!"
He went on to make quadruple-bogey 7 en route to 4-over 74 in the opener at Pumpkin Ridge.