When Jordan Spieth tapped in for par to win the 2017 British Open for his third major and 11th victory in just five years on the PGA Tour he never imagined he would go 1351 days before he felt that way again.
A winner of three majors, he went 82 events on tour without another victory. Once the world No.1 player, he was headed out of the top 100 in the world.
Now he’s back.
Spieth ended a mystifying slump on Sunday, closing with a six-under 66 to hold off Charley Hoffman for a two-shot victory at the Texas Open in San Antonio.
It couldn’t have been more timely.
With confidence soaring, he heads to Augusta National for this week’s Masters as one of the favourites at a major championship where he was runner-up in his debut in 2014, won wire-to-wire the next year and was runner-up again after losing a back-nine lead in 2016.
“This is a monumental win for me,” Spieth said.
“It’s been a long road. There were a lot of times that I didn’t know I would be here.
“There’s peaks and valleys in this sport, but I never expected to go this long (without a win).
“Back then, in between wins, maybe I took things more for granted than I should have.
“It’s very difficult to win out here and I’ll certainly enjoy this one as much as I have any other.”
Even going so long without winning, the 12th win of his career allowed him to join some elite company.
In the past 40 years, only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas have won at least 12 times before turning 28.
Spieth’s win came after after a string of improved results since early February.
He once said he never really thought about much why he played well and won, he just did.
Now after so much inspection of a game that got away from him, and the work it required to get back, he appears headed in the right direction.
Tied for the lead with Matt Wallace going into Sunday at the TPC San Antonio, Spieth moved out in front and didn’t let anyone catch him – despite Hoffman’s best efforts.
“I’ve lost golf tournaments, I’ve won golf tournaments, but today Jordan won the golf tournament,” Hoffman said.
Spieth, who finished at 18-under 270, moves to No.38 in the world. He is back in the top 50 for the first time in more than a year.
Wallace couldn’t keep up and closed with a 70 to finish alone in third.
Lucas Glover (66) finished in fourth, while Anirban Lahiri birdied the last hole for a 69 to finish alone in fifth.