Waialae Country Club’s famous “W” palms were inspired by the 1963 film, “It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” which featured a cast of A-listers that included Spencer Tracy and centered on a race among strangers to find $350,000 in stolen cash buried under a similarly shaped group of trees.
Sixty years after the movie’s release, one of the PGA Tour’s biggest stars, who doesn’t mind a little adventure – he recently bought an RV – and is on a continual search, not for cash, but for his swing, delivered a maddening performance of his own.
“Yeah, this sucks,” Jordan Spieth told reporters Friday evening after he backed up an opening 6-under 64 with a 5-over 75 to go from T-1 to MC at the Sony Open.
“I mean, I've never led a tournament and missed the cut before. … Just got just the ball in the wrong spots at the wrong places, and out here you just have to be fairway, fairway, fairway.”
To be fair, Spieth’s six fairways found on Friday was just one fewer than his first-round mark. The difference was he hit 15 greens in regulation and gained over 3.5 strokes on and around the greens on Thursday compared to 11 and over 3 strokes lost. And he carded only one birdie in Round 2, at the par-3 fourth, as he missed the cut by a single shot at 1 under.
Spieth was actually even par on his round through seven holes when Data Golf gave him a 99.4% chance to make the cut. He followed with four straight bogeys as the mistakes compounded:
• An awkward stance that led to a short-sided bunker shot at the par-4 eighth.
• A tee ball that rode the wind and straight into the water at the par-5 ninth.
• A shanked greenside bunker shot at the par-4 10th.
• A 9-footer for par left 4 inches short at the par-3 11th.
“Left like six or seven putts short,” Spieth said. “Thought the greens were going to be faster and left six or seven in the heart within a foot short. Just a really off day.”
It was a stark contrast to Spieth’s tenor on Thursday, when he said, “I'm confident relative to other time periods I've been off to similar starts, which is a really good place to be. I believe I can shoot 5 or 6 under each day out here. Not to say that that means it'll happen, but there are other times I would be sitting there going, ‘How do I hold this s--- together?'”
Perhaps the confidence remains as Spieth heads back to Dallas to rest up for a seven-out-of-eight-week stretch that starts in a few weeks at Pebble Beach.
Or perhaps he’ll be asking himself the latter on the flight home while the two other 18-hole co-leaders, Chris Kirk and Taylor Montgomery, sit first (11 under) and T-2 (10 under), respectively, entering the weekend.
Either way, Spieth became the 18th player since 1993 to lead or co-lead after 18 holes on the PGA Tour and then go on to miss the 36-hole cut. He’s the first to do so since Matt Every went 65-83 at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Prior to Friday’s shocker, Spieth had an 18-hole lead/co-lead 11 times on the PGA Tour. Those resulted in three wins, four seconds, one third, a T-8, T-9 and his previous worst, a T-42. Also, until this week, he’d never missed a cut on Tour from a first-round position better than T-14 (2017 AT&T Byron Nelson).
“Just a bad day,” Spieth said. “Didn't feel like it was much different [than Thursday]. Felt like I had a really bad deck of cards today. Made a couple bad swings from off the tee. Other than that, I didn't play that different. I just ended up a foot into the rough here, right behind a tree here.
“It was a weird, weird day.”
And as far as sequels go, they don’t get much worse.