AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Jordan Spieth was calm and content. Conversations with his golf ball were limited.
That’s when he knew something was wrong.
Spieth won the Masters and U.S. Open, along with two other PGA Tour titles this year, with a relentless intensity and animated instructions he gives his golf ball in flight. The Bridgestone Invitational was his first tournament since he missed the playoff at the British Open by one shot, ending his remarkable bid for a Grand Slam.
There was some rust, to be sure. But there was not much emotion.
His wedge to the opening hole was too strong, leaving him above the hole with a tough putt. He made a bogey on the par-5 second hole, the easiest at Firestone, with a poor sand wedge from a perfect distance. And on the next hole, from the left rough, his shot rattled through some branches and looked like it might go into the water. It barely reached the green, and he escaped with par.
Walking down the fourth fairway, he told caddie Michael Greller, “I need to get a little bit inspired right now.”
“I played these first three holes, and it didn’t bother me,” Spieth said after a birdie on his final hole for an even-par 70, tied with British Open champion Zach Johnson and five shots behind Danny Lee at 65. “And that should normally bother me the way I played them. Very lucky break on 3. That saved me at least a shot.”
He made birdie on the next hole and “I was able to settle in.”
Spieth is on an amazing run. In his last four events over the last two months, he has won twice (U.S. Open and John Deere Classic), finished two shots behind at the Memorial and one shot behind at St. Andrews.
This is a World Golf Championship, though it also is somewhat of a rehearsal for the final major of the year next week at the PGA Championship.