The third round of every PGA Tour event is always referred to as "moving day." The term simply describes the importance of the round, coming a day after the cut is made and the tournament's most noteworthy contenders buckle down to play their very best while frequently hurdling some of the pretenders on the leaderboard. Because of the Labor Day holiday weekend, "moving day" comes on Sunday, not Saturday, for the Deutsche Bank Championship, held at the Tournament Players Club situated halfway between Boston and Providence.
For Jordan Spieth, one of the top three golfers in the world today largely because of his victories at The Masters and U.S. Open this year, moving day at the DBChampionship, the de facto "quarterfinals" of the PGA Tour's contrived FedExCup playoff system, came at its regular time on Saturday. Except, this week, the young talent's move was to pack up his bags and return to his hometown of Dallas, Texas after missing the cut and a piece of the $8.25 million purse at Deutsche Bank.
"I'm going to take some time away," said Spieth after his 75-73 opening rounds scorecard from Boston sent him on his way. "It's probably going to be good for me to take at least four days and not touch a club. Maybe get back with (swing coach) Cameron (McCormick) and just go through a normal routine. Nothing is different."
Nothing is different? I beg to differ. Since August 16, when he finished an impressive second to Jason Day at the PGA Championship in Wisconsin, Spieth has now missed the cut in his last two tournaments, both FedEx Cup Playoff events in The Barclays (NJ) and here at the TPC-Boston.
After missing the cut at The Barclays, Spieth chose not to return home to Texas and went back to the lab, so to say, by staying in New York on the weekend of August 29-30 and traveling the short distance to Boston from NYC, seemingly a very smart strategy to get back on track.
"I went to the city, played a round at (the prestigious North Jersey course) Baltusrol and then rested Sunday," said Spieth to the Beantown scribes before the Deutsche Bank tournament teed-off. "I figured we'd come up here, versus anywhere else. To fly three and half hours back, then four hours back up here, to be honest it was going to be a bit more of a pain.
"The best practice we could get is playing the course (for) that week," he explained. "If I could get on these greens, versus in Dallas where it's 110-degrees. It's hard to practice a full day in Dallas at this time of year. Cameron came up and we worked all Monday and Tuesday and got a lot of good work it. There wasn't much to fix.
"It was more what I was making up in my head," said Spieth, as honest as a long summer day, but obviously fading just as it's doing in New England as an early September morning thermometer read 48 today. "I was creating bigger problems than there really was. I wanted to get some speed work and putting work," Spieth added about his pre-tournament practice strategy.
So what is Spieth's frame of mind now, that he's missed his second consecutive cut but will rank No. 2 in the important FedEx Cup points list when the tour heads to Conway farms GC in Lake Forest, Illinois On September 17?
"It's almost like a bad dream," he said, again so honestly and soul bearing. "Again, I don;t feel like it's that far off, even though my score is far off. I just (need to) wake up and get the putts to go in again. That's where I feel it's at.
"I had a really bad 'self-talk' week, something I haven't experienced in quite a while. It maybe heightened by everything that's happened this year and just being so used to being in contention. I need to walk with some cockiness in my step these next two tournaments. I don't have to fix much in my game other than work really hard on my putting, going into Conway, and then, mentally, I can control that. I can control walking with the cockiness, whether things are going good or bad, and that's what you have to have inside the ropes.
"I'll bring it when we get to Chicago."
If Spieth gets some rest in his own bed, and regains his mental toughness and putting stroke, both Dallas, then, Chicago, will be sweet home.