LOS ANGELES – Jordan Spieth started his second round at Riviera with a driver into the front bunker on the 10th hole, the ball slightly on a downslope with no margin for error to keep it on the green. He hit it perfectly, and it stopped about a foot from the hole for an easy birdie.
When someone jokingly suggested he might have a future in this game, the world's No. 1 player replied, "So my career is not over?"
But it wasn't long before his week at the Northern Trust Open was over.
Spieth needed a lot of birdies and a flawless round Friday to overcome a 79, his highest score ever in the opening round. He only made good on half of that plan. His eight birdies were offset by five bogeys in his round of 3-under 68, not nearly enough to make the cut.
"Coming into the day, the hardest part is trying to make enough birdies, and I did that," he said. "Just too many mistakes."
They started early. After that birdie on No. 10, his third shot from the rough on the par-5 15th spun off the green and into a bunker, leading to back-to-back bogeys. Spieth at least made it interesting with seven consecutive one-putt greens, including four straight birdies around the turn, only for too many loose swings to cost him shots that he couldn't afford to lose.
His approach on the second hole stayed up on the hill and left him no chance to get it close, and he made too more bogeys from the grass — the fairway at No. 5, and then his tee shot on the par-3 sixth that he thought was so good that he told longtime friend Justin Thomas to reach for his wallet because it was going in.
This was one shot he didn't call right. It didn't even reach the green.
Spieth now has missed the cut four times in the last year, and that led to a discussion with Michael Greller over the final few holes.
"I'm not going to let this one get to me very much," Spieth said. "Did a lot of talking with Michael throughout the end of the round today just saying, 'Don't make this a bigger deal than it is. Look at your missed cuts last year and what happened right after.' And he's right.
"We rebounded in a perfect form last year on just about every missed cut," he said. "We'll be fine."
After successive missed cuts in the FedEx Cup playoffs, Spieth rebounded with a tie for 11th and then a victory in the Tour Championship to claim the $10 million bonus. He missed the cut at The Players Championship last May and finished no worse than third in four of his next five events. Two were victories, including the U.S. Open.
The plan was to head back to Dallas for a week off of rest and practice before returning in the Cadillac Championship at Doral. He said he would increase the number of balls he hits in practice, especially as the Masters gets closer.
Rory McIlroy said at the start of the week that the Northern Trust Open was effectively the start of his road to the Masters.
"This was not my start to the run at the Masters," Spieth said with a laugh. "Mine will start next time."