PACIFIC PALISADES, Ca. — What’s that old saying, it happens?
Or something like that?
It happened Thursday to Jordan Spieth, who shot 8-over par 79 in the opening round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. And if you’re wondering whether it could be blamed on the weather, never mind. It was borderline perfect with temperatures in the upper 60s, a light breeze and a rain-softened golf course.
Camilo Villegas shot 63 and that included a short one he missed on his finishing hole at about the same time Spieth was three-putting from eight feet to complete the worst first-round score in his PGA Tour career.
World No. 1 finished the first day at Riviera tied for 142nd place. At least he beat Steven Bowditch by a shot.
“In the course of your career, it’s going to happen. It’s unfortunate when it does,” Spieth said when it was over.
How’d he do it?
He made seven bogeys and a double — in his last 13 holes. He missed from two feet, nine inches, something he never does. The world’s best putter ranked dead last in strokes gained putting.
“I felt like a couple of rounds last week (at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) when I was 2-under were more miserable than today,” Spieth said. “It’s one in, hopefully, every couple of years.”
It’s not the worst round of Spieth’s professional career. He shot 82 in the Memorial in 2013 and he posted 80 in the Tour Championship a couple of years ago.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, there are days like this,” Spieth’s buddy Justin Thomas said after shooting 70 while playing with Spieth and Fred Couples.
This was supposed to be the glamour group practically playing in the shadow of the Hollywood sign but Spieth posted his Thursday worst and Couples shot 74 with a putting performance that looked like an Alice Cooper video.
Spieth said nothing sinister should be read into his score. He feels good about the state of his game but admitted his mojo was altered because he’s never played Riviera when it wasn’t firm and fiery.
“I played really poorly from good positions off the tee,” Spieth said. “Everywhere you’re not supposed to be is where I went.”