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After dealing with COVID-19, a healthy Jordan Spieth returns to PGA Tour at AT&T Byron Nelson

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After turning off Magnolia Lane last month to begin a well-deserved break of two weeks, Jordan Spieth was feeling mighty fine about his world.

He had just finished in a tie for third in the Masters, which capped a superb stretch of golf where he finished in the top five on five occasions in eight starts, which included his first PGA Tour title since the 2017 Open Championship coming at the Valero Texas Open.

All his struggles seemed so far away, the ones that kept him winless for nearly four years and had him plummeting down the Official World Golf Ranking to 92nd, his lowest standing since 2012.

He was Jordan Spieth again, the former world No. 1 and three-time major winner doing magical things inside the gallery ropes and moving to No. 28 in the world.

But then he was forced to deal with another obstacle – COVID-19.

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About 10 days after the conclusion of the Masters, Spieth tested positive for the infectious virus. He didn’t know how he got it, nor did he lose his appetite or sense of smell. But he did have to quarantine in his Dallas home away from his wife, Annie, as he successfully defeated the virus.

“It was bad for a day and a half and then it was just kind of annoying for the next five days, kind of lost energy, and sinus stuff,” Spieth said Tuesday ahead of his start in the AT&T Byron Nelson. “And then after that I started to kind of get full strength back and I would say the last week to week and a half now I’ve been acting as if it never happened.

“I’ve just gone about my days feeling full energy and being able to hit kind of full workouts and practice sessions and all that kind of stuff. So at this point it’s get back to playing golf and try and get in the same rhythm I was in and just kind of be patient with it.”

Spieth was surprised he got COVID-19, saying he had been careful because, one, he obviously didn’t want to deal with it, and two, he didn’t want to miss any tournaments. Unfortunately, he did have to pass on playing in the Valspar Championship, which he won in 2015.

Now he’ll start a stretch of four tournaments in four weeks, including next week’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. It’s the only major he hasn’t won.

“I’m not exactly sure yet,” Spieth said about where his game is at. “I’ve only played a couple rounds, so I’m looking to kind of maybe knock a little rust off that I didn’t think would necessarily be here.

“I feel good. I feel strong. I feel ready to go for a good stretch of golf coming up.”

It begins at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, just north of Dallas. The course, designed by Tom Weiskopf, has hosted Q-School and Korn Ferry Tour events but will be making its PGA Tour debut this week.

Spieth, who made his PGA Tour debut in this tournament in 2016 as a 16-year-old amateur, isn’t overly familiar with the course. He played two junior tournaments on the course and failed to earn his card at Q-School here in 2012.

“I played last Wednesday, just came out and played with my dad and my agent just to kind of check it out,” Spieth said. “I knew all the shapes of the holes and stuff like that, but it had been really nine years since playing in a tournament.”

But Spieth is familiar with the Texas winds and the impact they can have.

“It can play very different based on the conditions. You can say that about any golf course but really even more so out here,” Spieth said. “If the wind doesn’t blow, you really are kind of looking at trying to go score. Then when it does, you’re almost kind of holding on and saying, all right, I want to take advantage of the par-5s, but the rest of the course is going to be really tough.

“I think it’s going to be more of like a second shot risk-reward golf course to try and go low, but you can also play it smart and really hang in there if you’re able to putt well.”

In other words, it’s the latest challenge Spieth has to deal with. He conquered his struggles, toppled COVID-19. Now he’ll see if he can keep doing Jordan things.

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/11/covid-jordan-spieth-pga-tour-att-byron-nelson/

Check the yardage book: TPC Craig Ranch for the AT&T Byron Nelson

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