In witnessing Xander Schauffele’s slow climb, Jordan Spieth admits he’s ‘not a very patient person’

While Xander Schauffele’s victory at the 2024 PGA Championship in Louisville marked the end of a lengthy and sometimes frustrating road to becoming a major champion, Jordan Spieth’s career path was far more front-loaded, with the Texan owning two pieces of golf’s Grand Slam by the time he was 22 and three before his 24th birthday.

But Spieth’s results have been widely scattered since he hoisted the Claret Jug after winning the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in 2017, with just two PGA Tour victories and some stretches that have seen him plummet in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The most recent dip has come in 2024. After opening the calendar year with two top-10 finishes in his first three starts, Spieth has just one top-25 showing in his last 10 tournaments, and even that one — a T-10 at the Valero Texas Open — was known best for his shot away from the fairway and atop a clubhouse on his final hole of the event.

Spieth has dropped to No. 25 in the world, and had a spell in which he missed the cut four times in six starts. Not exactly what most envisioned when he took the golf world by storm in 2015 with five victories, including a green jacket and a U.S. Open.

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The Dallas native is hoping that another home game, this one at Colonial Country Club in nearby Fort Worth, will kickstart the second half of the season as he tries to put the pieces back together again.

This led to an interesting question on Wednesday in advance of the Charles Schwab Challenge when Spieth was asked if — unlike Schauffele, who had to keep grinding before securing his first major — he’d been a victim of his own success at such a young age.

“Yeah, certainly. But I think the healthy way to do it is that being of my own expectation, right, not of anyone else’s. But, yeah, absolutely. Once I know what I’m capable of, I want to obviously stay there,” Spieth said. “If you fall from that even a little bit it frustrates you, and then if you fall quite a bit from that you can be wondering what in the world is going on. It can overtake you, and it did for me for a little while. I think I have a better perspective now, but at the same time the drive to get to where I know my ceiling is at has never been higher.

“So every day that I’m not there it’s still, I still walk away, if I feel like I progressed towards it, I walk away really, really pleased with my day. But some days I feel like I didn’t and instead of being okay with that — back to this patient talk — you know, I lose a little patience because I know what I am capable of and not sustaining that every year is something that I’m not okay with personally. So, I think it’s something that I wouldn’t change anything that has ever happened to me, I’ve accomplished most all the goals that I had in golf, albeit, you know, in a short period of time, but the nature of sustaining that is something that I would like to have another opportunity at and I’ll continue to work towards.”

Spieth of the United States and Xander Schauffele of the United States stand on the 17th green during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 4, 2023, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

If there’s a place for Spieth to continue that work, a refurbished Colonial seems appropriate for the job. His record at the course, which is unveiling a new look thanks to renowned designer Gil Hanse, is stellar, as he won the title in 2016 and has three second-place finishes in 11 appearances. Spieth has only finished outside the top 10 three times in his long run at Colonial.

And Spieth admitted he can take some inspiration from Schauffele, who has worked hard behind the scenes in a quest to finally win a major title. Spieth said he’s noticed the extra effort the San Diego native has delivered.

“I’ve been playing with Xander for seven, better part of seven years now, and if you asked me, is there any doubt in your mind that he would win major championships I would say …  I don’t know a weakness in his game, so it’s just a matter of time, so it’s not surprising at all,” Spieth said. “Am I inspired? Yeah. I mean, one thing that he’s been doing that’s been different is he’s looked to add speed, but did it like very methodically, very quietly, very in the dark. It’s been amazing watching him go after tournament rounds, like on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and he’ll go to the workout trailer and hit a heavy gym session after the round. It’s not common out here. There’s a few guys that will do it, but it’s still not common. Everybody goes before now. 10, 12 years ago half the field went before, now everybody does. But he’s going after and hitting these heavy workouts with a goal in mind that he thought would gain a slight advantage.

“The way he approached that patiently is extremely inspiring.”

Meanwhile, the impulsive Spieth, known for his creativity and boyish approach to the game, admitted that the composure shown by Schauffele has been impressive, and it’s possible the big victories might come fast and furious for the eight-time PGA Tour winner.

“I’m not a very patient person and I think that’s gotten me in trouble in a lot of times in my career, as far as the process. Like trusting the process and giving it time and not having to have results right away,” Spieth said. “He didn’t seem bothered by close calls. He had to answer a lot of questions regarding Sundays or whatever, and I remember having those for a year or two as well and then, you know, I was more patient back then because I was playing consistently better, so it was easier to be more patient. Once it goes your way, then you start thinking they’re all going to go your way, and then they do.

“So I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just the beginning.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek