IRVING — Jordan Spieth always seems to have a smile on his face at the Byron Nelson Championship.
It doesn’t matter that he’s never played as well at his hometown tournament as he has elsewhere, or that the massive galleries might seem overwhelming. This is home, it’s where he got his start, where he’s a fan favorite no matter what (organizers even gave away bobbleheads with his likeness). And it brings back memories, even for a 22-year-old.
It might seem an ordinary stop on the PGA Tour for many players, especially those who have won the Masters and the FedEx Cup title, which Spieth accomplished last year, making him arguably the best player in the world.
Yet the Nelson was his the first professional event for the Preston Hollow resident, back in 2010 when he was a junior at Jesuit. So he’s genuinely grateful.
“It’s really fun to look back on those times,” Spieth said. “I have a picture of me on [hole] 17 in 2010 on the follow-through, and there’s just a sea of people behind the green, and it was one of the coolest shots I’ve ever hit. So yeah, some really fun memories.
Spieth has started 2016 with higher expectations than ever, and has seen mixed results. He suffered a horrible final-round collapse at the Masters, and was cut at The Players Championship the week before the Byron Nelson.
He also struggled down the stretch at the Nelson, with a Sunday round of 74 dropping him out of contention. Still, his 18th-place finish was his best since that 2010 debut.
“It’s been kind of a tough event for me,” said Spieth, who bought a $7 million Preston Hollow mansion last year. “The golf course hasn’t suited my game as well as it did in those early couple of years.”
Spieth got back on track the following week in Fort Worth, when he won the Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial. Of his eight Tour victories, it was his first in Texas.
He’ll continue to be among the favorites at just about every event he plays. But amid the major championships and historic accolades, one title still eludes him — and it’s only a few miles from his house.
“This is the event my dad and I would hop the fence to come in and watch. This is my hometown event, the event I learned to love golf at,” Spieth said. “If we won this event, that would be a very special moment that I would cherish forever.”