Jordan Spieth made his 2019 season debut yesterday at the Sony Open. During a press conference two days ago, Jordan was asked what he thought of the new drop rule from knee versus shoulder height.
“I started to go from the shoulder and [caddie Michael Greller], [Tour official Slugger White], they stepped in, ‘No, no, no.’ I’m like, ‘Wouldn’t it just be a re-drop anyway? What’s the big deal?’” Spieth said. “It’s unusual.”
“You drop it knee height, but like, what’s the advantage of dropping it shoulder height?” Spieth said. “It’s actually probably a disadvantage, so why can’t you still do that? You should be able to drop it from shoulder to knee height in my opinion. It doesn’t do any good and honestly it’s like, a frustrating asterisk that I have to re-pick it up and re-drop from your knee.”
Fair enough. The rule to me is fairly ridiculous. If you’re going to change it, why not allow a drop from between knee and shoulder height? But I digress.
Spieth found himself with the need to drop on the 15th hole yesterday after his ball landed on a sprinkler head. Kevin Cunningham takes it from there.
Knowing he could take relief from the sprinkler legally via a free drop, Spieth picked up his ball and extended his arm at shoulder-height to make his drop.
That’s the problem.
Fortunately for Jordan, the PGA Tour’s head rules honcho Slugger White was standing nearby. As Spieth extended his arms, White reportedly uttered, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” and moved in to stop the Tour star from committing a high-profile and potentially embarrassing rules violation.
After White’s intervention, Spieth started over, this time dropping his ball properly from knee height. Had he made the incorrect drop, he could have re-dropped it properly without penalty. But if he made the drop from shoulder height and played his shot without correcting it, he would have received a one-stroke penalty.
@PGATOUR rules official Slugger White instructs @JordanSpieth on a drop at 15 at @SonyOpenHawaii. Jordan doing it right, but not before he started dropping from shoulder height. Slugger going whoa, whoa. #newrules pic.twitter.com/KlarM0xEf1
— Dave Shedloski (@DaveShedloski) January 10, 2019
Jordan went on to shoot 3-over 73 in his first official round. Worse, as Ben Everill writes, his putter continues to be cold as he made only 33-feet of putts. Hank Haney provided a reason as to why the once-dominating putter has struggled.
“When I watch him putt, he visibly has the yips. You watch his hands on short putts and there is a tremor in there. I don’t care if the putt goes in or doesn’t,” he told ESPN.com.
But Spieth himself is far from alarmed.
“I felt comfortable with the putter today. Didn’t end up making anything but felt like I hit my lines; felt comfortable,” Spieth said in Hawaii.
“That’s closer than the swing is. It’s not to where I’m just over it and playing shots or over it and seeing lines and hitting putts. It’ll get there. I’m not worried about it.”
Let’s hope so. Struggling, especially on a very public stage is difficult no matter who you are or what you’ve accomplished.