Los Angeles - World number seven Jordan Spieth tries to
match fellow Texan Ben Hogan as a back-to-back winner of the PGA Dean &
DeLuca Invitational when play begins Thursday at Colonial Country Club.
Hogan, a five-time winner of the Fort Worth event, won
back-to-back titles twice, the only player to defend a crown since the
tournament began in 1946.
Spieth captured the title last year, making six birdies on
the back nine on Sunday to win by three shots. It was Spieth's first victory
since a back-nine disaster on Sunday cost him the 2016 Masters title.
Since then, Spieth has added the Pebble Beach trophy to his
collection in February for his ninth career PGA title, a haul that includes the
2015 Masters and US Open.
But Spieth has missed the cut in three of his past five
starts, including the Players Championship and Byron Nelson tournament in the
past two weeks.
Part of the trouble has been with putting, so last week he
switched to a mallet putter. After a one-week experiment, his Scotty Cameron
putter returns to the back this week.
"I was having a tough time lining the ball up where I
wanted it and getting comfortable with my setup and that's why I made a switch
to a putter that lined itself up," Spieth said on Wednesday.
"Just lost a little bit of the feel that I had with the
putter I had been using for however many years. But now I feel a lot more
comfortable with my alignment. I feel like I've got my set up back to where I
want it. Now I have that feel."
Spieth said he simply needed a different look at all aspects
of his putting.
"It has all been set-up related," Spieth said.
"I just needed to look at something different. I didn't know if it would
be a week or a month. Ended up being a week and it feels good now."
Spieth will play the first two rounds alongside fellow
Americans Pat Perez and two-time Colonial winner Zach Johnson.
The field also features sixth-ranked Masters champion Sergio
Garcia, who won his 2001 Colonial debut and tees off Thursday alongside
compatriot Jon Rahm and South Korea's Kim Si-Woo, coming off his victory two
weeks ago at The Players Championship.
Rahm, making his Colonial debut, said he has a simple rule
about new courses that he and his caddie follow.
"Don't tell me where the problems are. Don't tell me
where the bad things are. Just tell me where I have to hit it," Rahm said.
"It simplifies the thought process for me."