Spieth didn't even know it.
He didn't know because he didn't particularly care. Remember Rickie Fowler finishing six under on his final six holes to get into a playoff and win in 2015? Johnson has just one Top 20 at the PLAYERS, a 12th a year ago. "It's nearly like a feat, like winning a major". It is also worth noting that no defending champion has ever held on to the title, and only Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples, Davis Love, Steve Elkington and Woods ever managed to win it a few times.
No more youthful arrogance about the tournament for Spieth. Unofficially dubbed the 'fifth major, ' The Players is highly regarded and played at the famous TPC at Sawgrass course.
That parallels the sentiment expressed by Davis Love III at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year when he said that next year, THE PLAYERS would be "the first major of the season". He tied for fourth that year. A total of 25 water hazards inhabit the course, a good number of blind shots come into play, as well as very strategic course mounding that can make saving par almost impossible. He has never missed the cut.
He has one win in the 2018 season and four top-10 finishes.
With 11 PGA Tour victories in his career, Spieth has been one of the world's best players since he turned professional in 2012. I think the mental side of golf is way more important than the physical. The list of past winners at the PGA Tour's premier event illustrates. There's a whole lot to like this weekend with the 42-year-old from Sweden. The driver has been great, the putter is solid and the short game has been average, but my bad shots have been from being let down with my irons. "We didn't know it could be played that way, and they both have done it". Being a resident of Atlantic Beach, Florida, I've been lucky enough to see this tournament in person countless times.
"I haven't approached it like I approach the major championship-calibre golf and this tournament and this golf course are major-championship calibre and therefore I need to go in with a different game plan and mindset and stick to it on the golf course". Since then he's a combined 10-over par for 122 holes.
I've followed him closely ever since backing him for his Olympic medal at Rio in 2016 when my bet at [14.0] for him to win the Gold Medal was based on the level of his preparation. Past year at TPC Sawgrass, Grillo looked great and finished 11th. The other event was Match Play, where he failed to advance out of his group.
Thomas is second in the world rankings coming into this week.
"It's hard to dominate because the talent level is so good", Johnson said. You just can't afford to miss the greens and you have to play really, really good golf. To always be at the top, always competing for the win, is being pretty dominant. I'm only renting so things might change next year.
He's trending in the right direction; T-3 in Houston, T-16 in Hilton Head, and T-9 this past week in Charlotte.
Spieth believes it takes more than that. And no one has done that since Woods, who was No. 1 for five straight years on two occasions. I mean, I played well, I thought well, I putted well. "You get streaks for a year or two".