Although he hasn’t played competitive golf in two months, Jordan Spieth has been busy.
He and his wife, Annie, welcome their second child Sophie in September. He also aggravated a wrist injury he dealt with in the spring. And last week, Spieth had another big task put on his plate: PGA Tour Player Director.
The three-time major winner is in Albany, Bahamas, ahead of the 2023 Hero World Challenge for his first stroke-play tournament since the Tour Championship. The time off has given Spieth plenty of time to work on his game. In those spare moments, he figured out what was actually going on with his wrist, and with the news of him replacing Rory McIlroy on the Tour’s policy board, now he has to figure out what’s the best path forward for the PGA Tour.
“I’d been pretty involved since June in a lot of stuff going on and so I didn’t — doesn’t really change a whole lot of what I’ve been involved in other than kind of officially being able to know, be in the know a little bit more,” Spieth said. “And I thought the other player directors and a lot of other players had to pretty much have the confidence for me to kind of be the guy to help be that sixth vote, that majority the board to help see through what the next at least few months looks like.
“And then for me it’s nice because it’s not a full term, which I had said that I wasn’t interested in for the time being given two little ones now and trying to get my game where I want it. But I think that this is a pivotal moment in time for professional golf and the PGA Tour and I felt like I could be of help.”
Spieth said there’s nothing but optimism among the player directors and collectively, they feel they’re going to get something great done for the Tour.
A week after the Ryder Cup, Spieth said he injured his wrist, which forced him to withdraw from his hometown event, the AT&T Byron Nelson, in May, and lingered for nearly two months.
However, he and his doctors were finally able to diagnose the issue.
“It ended up being a nerve thing, which is nice because I wasn’t doing anything either time that I hurt it that should have caused what happened,” Spieth said. “Both MRIs were very similar and shouldn’t have been in the pain and lack of mobility that I had initially after it happened. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense off the MRIs, and so then just did a bunch of tests and some work. Turns out it was my ulnar nerve, which is not anything to mess with, so I’ve been trying to take it very, very carefully.
“As long as I’m on top of it treating, it’s kind of all through neck, chest, over and down, so it’s loosening things up. It’s not really a rest or ice thing. It’s not an inflammation thing, which is how I treated it in May thinking it was an acute injury to the wrist. It’s more use it, but don’t overuse it. Listen to it. But I’ve been at full practice for weeks now and here or there when I feel like it gets close to being overdone, gym, practice, combination of a day, then I stay off of it. But I have no reservations on my abilities to just do what I need to do going forward given the progress that’s been made over the last month and a half.”
Jordan Spieth plays the second playoff hole from the 18th tee during the final round of the 2023 RBC Heritage. (Photo: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports)
In the 2022-23 season, Spieth didn’t collect any victories on Tour but did fall in a playoff to Matt Fitzpatrick at the RBC Heritage, where he was the defending champion.
With his wrist figured out, Spieth said his confidence and game are getting back to levels and feels he had during some of his prime runs. He’s hoping for a solid showing this week, similar to when he won in 2014, to springboard him into the 2024 season.
However, a big part of his schedule the next month will be being entrenched with the PGA Tour Policy Board. He said no one reached out to him directly to take McIlroy’s spot when the latter resigned, though Patrick Cantlay was one who pushed him to take the position.
Now, the focus turns to the framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, where Spieth and PGA Tour members have to find the right path forward.
“There would have to be some — there’s some kind of like non-negotiables that I think the players of the PGA Tour should have, and I’m not sure that that could be met with PIF,” Spieth said. “And maybe it could, and I’m not sure. I think it’s going to come down to what the players want.
“Me giving an opinion is not my job. If you’re just asking me a regular question, I can give you my opinion elsewhere, but if you’re asking me as a player director that’s not my job to answer. But second part was do I — what would my vision be ideally? I think there’s — I don’t think there’s one answer to that either. I think that there are options that I think could be super beneficial, but I don’t know if they’re possible.”