Jordan Spieth Back in Action After Ulnar Nerve Diagnosis

A week after the Ryder Cup, Jordan Spieth injured his wrist again when he reached for a toaster to make breakfast for his son.

Image Showing Jordan Spieth Back in Action After Ulnar Nerve Diagnosis

On Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge, where he’s making his first start since representing the U.S. Team in Italy, Spieth said, “The toaster didn’t even have toast in it.”

It might have been a fortunate turn of events: Spieth received a diagnosis of ulnar nerve damage, which can affect the movement or sensation in the wrist or hand. The symptoms were similar to those of an issue in May that he treated for inflammation, thinking it was an acute wrist injury. He now realizes that he might have misdiagnosed his springtime ailment. According to the MRIs conducted on both occasions, his pain and limited mobility didn’t align with the expected results.

“I wasn’t doing anything either time that I hurt it that should have caused what happened,” he said.

Spieth understands that the ulnar nerve is something not to take lightly, and he has meticulously prepared for his comeback to competitive play. As of Tuesday, he expressed feeling in “go-mode.”

“It’s not about resting or using ice; it’s more about using it without overdoing it and listening to my body,” Spieth explained at the Hero. “I’ve been engaging in full practice for weeks now. If I sense it’s getting close to being overdone, I take a break. However, I have full confidence in my abilities to do what’s necessary moving forward, considering the progress made over the last month and a half.”

Even though he hasn’t been competing, Spieth has kept busy in recent months. He and his wife, Annie, celebrated the arrival of their second child, daughter Sophie, in September. Additionally, last week, Spieth took over Rory McIlroy’s position on the PGA TOUR Policy Board and will fulfill the remainder of McIlroy’s term through 2024.

“I believe that my appointment to the Policy Board is a crucial moment for professional golf and the PGA TOUR,” Spieth remarked, “and I felt I could contribute and provide assistance.”

Spieth didn’t secure a victory on the TOUR this year, but on Tuesday, he expressed the belief that his game was at its best, even compared to times when he did win. The 30-year-old ended the 2023 FedExCup season at No. 27, achieving seven top-10 finishes in 22 starts, including a runner-up position at the RBC Heritage.

With a healthy wrist, Spieth is hopeful for bigger things in 2024.

Spieth’s forearm issues trace back to 2018 when he experienced a bone chip in his left hand, likely from weightlifting. Despite the setback, he declined to use it as an excuse. However, in 2021, he acknowledged that surgery, which he chose not to undergo, could have been beneficial.

This year, in May, Spieth pulled out of his hometown AT&T Byron Nelson due to intense pain in his left wrist, following a weekend of discomfort. Doctors advised him to rest and limit movement. He made a comeback at the PGA Championship the following week, finishing T29, but confessed that it wasn’t until July that he felt fully recovered. During this period, he also secured a T5 finish at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.

Spieth was “shocked,” he said, when he reinjured the wrist.

“It just didn’t make any sense,” he explained, “because I thought, ‘What’s going to stop this from happening at any other time?'”

Now, though, he sees the start of a new chapter.

He observed, “I didn’t realize how restricted or incapable I was of holding certain forearm and wrist positions for a long time after I initially injured it in 2018 until recently. Now, for the first time in a while, I’m starting to match the positions I’m trying to hit with how they feel to me and what they produce when I repeat them consistently.”

“Is it completely there this week? No. Is it very, very close? Am I achieving it on the majority of swings? Yes. It’s incredibly exciting and makes me believe that, by staying on top of this, I can reach the structural improvements needed to perform at my best.”