LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, hoping to bounce back from a winless season and failure to reach the Tour Championship, confidently launches his 2018-19 US PGA Tour season on Thursday (Nov 1).
The 25-year-old American tees off in a fall tour event for the first time at the Shriners for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, seeking his first title since winning the 2017 British Open crown.
It's not like Spieth hasn't had success at this time of year, winning the 2014 and 2016 Australian Opens and the 2014 Hero World Challenge invitational event hosted by Tiger Woods.
But after failing to reach the minimum number of events last season by missing out on the Tour Championship, finishing 31st in playoff points when only the top 30 advanced, Spieth struck a deal that saw him enter one of the smaller tournaments that open the US PGA Tour's schedule in the autumn.
"I like to try and create an off-season every year given there is no off-season on the PGA Tour other than a bit of December," Spieth said.
"In the past, I've played in November, December, and therefore this was a time of rest and off-season. Now that I'm not going to be playing down there in Australia and whatnot, I still wanted to play this fall.
"So it's actually really nice to get this opportunity. I feel great being here. I feel rested. I feel healthy. The game feels like it's in good shape."
Spieth played seven of nine weeks at the end of the season, culminating with a losing effort on the US squad at the Ryder Cup, although he won three of his five matches.
"I feel like I've got a fresh start to kind of put kind of everything from the last few months behind me and use kind of momentum from the Ryder Cup," Spieth said.
"Felt like I really started to play well there under some extreme pressure."
LOST HIS SPOT TO TIGER
Spieth said he felt like he played well enough to crack the season's top 30 but was upended by the exceptional injury recovery of Tiger Woods from spinal fusion surgery that saw the 14-time major winner finish second at the PGA Championship and collect his first tour win in five years at the Tour Championship.
"I really felt like I played like 30th, but Tiger played healthier than everyone thought. He just kind of took my spot there and then went on and won," Spieth said.
"It was a building year," he said.
"I look back at last year as something that I think will be beneficial for me in the long run.
"Unfortunately, I had to play so much towards the end that I couldn't really get it intact. So I stepped on the first tee knowing that I was playing a C-game instead of figuring where my game is at through the first couple rounds.
"But I've done a lot of good work over the last four weeks, whether it required time off thinking or required actual practice. I've done I think a good balance of that and come in here with confidence."
Patrick Cantlay defends his Shriners title while several other Americans who played in the Tour Championship also tee off this week, including Ryder Cup players Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson plus Kevin Na, Gary Woodland and 2018 PGA Rookie of the Year Aaron Wise.