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Northern Trust Open struggles show that Jordan Spieth needs a break

While Jordan Spieth missing the cut at the Northern Trust Open would seem to be a negative for the world’s No. 1 golfer, it’s actually a good thing. Quite simply, Jordan Spieth needs a break.

At the end of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Spieth acknowledged that he was tired. The week after that, he was more than 3,600 miles away, playing in Singapore. Two weeks after Singapore, he was back in the United States, playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in Monterey, before making the trip down the California coast to the Northern Trust Open.

That’s four tournaments in five weeks with a lot of travel, and that’s before we remember that two weeks before Abu Dhabi, Spieth was playing in Hawaii.

Yes, Spieth is young and no doubt enjoys the best forms of travel, but that much travel in a year that’s not even two months old is tiring for anyone.

His missed cut at the Northern Trust Open was inevitable after his eight-over round of 79 on Thursday. Under normal circumstances, it would be easy to just dismiss that as a bad tournament, especially since he finished with a nice, three-under round of 68 on Friday. Not good enough to threaten making the cut, but not bad.

The problem is that it came on the heels of another poor tournament at Pebble Beach. In Monterey, Spieth made the cut on the number and never seriously contended.

Two sub-par weeks in a row from the world’s best golfer who’d previously acknowledged that he was tired is a bit alarming.

Things don’t get any easier between now and the Masters, either. March will give us two World Golf Championship events. And while those currently do not appear Spieth’s schedule, the best players in the world, especially the Americans, are almost always at those tournaments.

The same is true for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. If Spieth plays in all three of those events and keeps his present commitment to the Valspar Championship, that will mean playing every week from March 3-6 through March 23-27.

That would only leave one week of rest before heading to Augusta to defend his Masters championship.

The positive end of that is that with the exception of the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, all of those events are in Florida, which will greatly cut down on travel. Still, if Spieth does play in most or all of those events, it’s  some travel and an awful lot of golf, which will only add to the fatigue.

At this point, Jordan Spieth needs to find some time for relaxation. The fact that he won’t be playing this weekend won’t immediately help Spieth on the money list, with FedEx Cup points, Ryder Cup Points, or Olympic qualification.

But if Spieth finds some time to take a break and shows even some of the form that we saw last season and at the beginning of this one, none of those are likely to be a concern. Missing the cut and getting two extra days of R&R is certainly frustrating, but long term this could be exactly what the young striker needed.