Despite watching Jordan Spieth tie his career low round on the PGA Tour with a 10-under 61 on Saturday en route to a tied fourth finish at the Phoenix Open, Golf Channel broadcaster Brandel Chamblee still believes the three-time major champion is "headed into oblivion" as a result of his errant driving.
Chamblee, a one-time PGA Tour winner, was quizzed by the media on Thursday as to his thoughts on which former World No.1 had the best chance of winning a tournament again - Spieth, Jason Day or Justin Rose. He pointed in the direction of the Australian, considered Rose too old and took a shot at Spieth.
"That’s a good question," said Chamblee. "I don’t mean any ill will towards Justin Rose and Jason Day but I hope it’s Jordan Spieth. It probably will be Jason Day.
"I see Jason Day winning again. Rose is a little older, he left Sean Foley, didn’t hit it particularly well last year, changed equipment. Victories are hard fought at his age when you’re not hitting on all cylinders.
"Spieth is headed into oblivion. That’s hard to turn that ship around."
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Chamblee was further pressed on his comments about Spieth on Sunday night after the three-time major champion carded a lacklustre 72 to finish tied fourth and two shots behind winner Brooks Koepka.
While now a tad more optimistic about Spieth's future after seeing him tie a career-low 61 on the PGA Tour, Chamblee does not believe Spieth is "back" like someone people out there are suggesting.
At least not until he tidies up his driving, which saw him rank 130th for accuracy at TPC Scottsdale last week, finding 41% of the fairways (23/56).
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"It’s cool to see Jordan Spieth give some hope for a comeback," said Chamblee.
"As inaccurate as he was in 2016-17, he was just a little wobbly off the tee, but he’s become hugely inaccurate, which is usually a prelude to an irrecoverable slump, at least for a period of time. It was the preamble for Ian Baker-Finch’s slump, it was the preamble to David Duval’s slump, it was the preamble to Ralph Guldahl’s slump. Those are slumps that players never recovered from.
"He hasn’t solved his big misses but to see him step up on 15 and hit that draw with the water left after missing it to the left so often and at times by wide margins that speaks to his commitment. He said in his post-round remarks that he’s committed to being committed. That was a helluva quote.
"There’s no other place for him to go. If he loses his attitude, there’s no way back. I’ve never seen him slump his shoulders, I’ve never seen him throw clubs, I’ve never seen him use profanity, I’ve never seen him give the Heisman to people asking him tough-to-answer questions. I said today on our show that I’ve never seen anybody, except for maybe Chip Beck, handle really poor play with more class. It’s easy to pull for somebody like that.
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"I guess I would say I’m a little more optimistic than the last time we talked. I still need to see him drive it better than he does. I don’t see how he can come back and play anywhere near the type of golf he used to play unless he drives it better. There’s a difference between driving it poorly and driving it terribly. There’s generally not much hope to contend when you’re driving it terrible.
"If you think about it, it’s as exciting as anything watching a player of his caliber work his way out of a slump. Tiger has given us two comebacks on an epic scale. This isn’t on the same scale because he’s not dealing with a broken leg or a broken reputation or a darn-near busted back, but he’s dealing with a broken game. It’s as compelling as his good golf was, almost."
He added: "The only thing I’ll say is when you see someone drive it as inaccurately as he did, it’s a trip to oblivion.
"Henrik Stenson and Steve Stricker came back from there. If I’m Jordan Spieth I’d look at what they did and use that as positive reinforcement that he can dig his way out of this hole."
Regardless of not getting the job done on Sunday, the tie for fourth marks Spieth's best result on the PGA Tour since finishing tied third at the 2019 US PGA Championship.