PONTE VEDRA BEACH • For Jordan Spieth, Saturday at Sawgrass was the venue for a missed cut and an admission.
Tales of the American golfer's demise may be greatly exaggerated. But, for one of such status, competitive context is everything.
After a stellar 2015, the world No. 2's record shows the relatively average form of two top 10s in eight events this year.
At the Players Championship, he returned to complete his weather-disrupted round two; a 71, and an aggregate of one-under 143, saw him fall on the wrong side of the cut line by a stroke.
He later conceded that past glories have made an impact on his psychological state.
"No one ever wants to think that they can't match what they have done the previous year," said the Texan. "You believe that you can get better all the time. I believe that I can be a better player this year than I was last year.
"But in the off days I just need to do a little bit better job of being positive with myself and smiling more, having a bit more fun."
There may be an automatic assumption that Spieth is suffering from a month-long hangover after the wounding climax to his bid to retain the Masters at Augusta National but he bats that notion away.
"I don't think there's much of a connection to Augusta," he said. "I just didn't putt well (at Sawgrass). If I putted like I putted at the Masters I would be at 10 or 12 under right now."
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE