PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- It is never wise to put too much credence into the results of one tournament, certainly one round of golf.
Jordan Spieth is well aware of that, even if he couldn't resist the urge at one point to fire back at a social media critic following the first round of the Valspar Championship.
But while Spieth saw positives during his four days at Innisbrook, he was also clearly miffed that, at a tournament where he was on the fringe of contention, he went the opposite direction during the final round on Sunday.
And he took the unusual step of panning -- along with himself -- caddie Michael Greller.
"Really poor from both me and Michael today,'' Spieth said after a 2-over-par 73 left him tied for 18th. "Our decisions cost us a few shots early and all the momentum. We both get the credit when things are going good and we're going to take the fall today.
"I hit the shots, but we made a couple decisions that make me look back and think, 'Wow, we got some stuff to talk about before we get ready to go to a major.' Bit of a bummer. But it's OK. We got plenty of time.''
Spieth did not elaborate in a short interview session, but he did point to being over par at the start of three of his four rounds in the tournament.
For the week, he bogeyed four of the par-5s. On Sunday, he failed to birdie the par-5 first, then he bogeyed the second hole after starting the round just 6 strokes back of third-round leader Bill Haas. Spieth hit just 38 of 72 greens in regulation for the tournament.
As it turned out, a 5-under-par 66 -- which would have been the best round of the day -- would have got him in a playoff.
"I need to start my rounds better; it's that simple,'' he said. "Can't start over par in rounds every single round and expect to do anything with it. Just too hard to turn around all the time. I'm used to getting off to good starts. Unfortunately, this week started black before red quite a few times.''
Spieth put himself in a hole in the first round when he played his first nine holes in 4 over par and shot 76 with just a single birdie. He battled back on Friday to make the cut with a 68, then he added a bogey-free 67 on Saturday to get in the top 10.
But the poor start and then a double-bogey at the 8th hole eliminated him from contention on Sunday.
"Ball striking is getting close,'' said Spieth, who now has failed to finish in the top 10 in four PGA Tour events (he was in the top five in two overseas events) since winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January by 8 strokes. "Everything is in a good place as far as being ready for the Masters.
"I'd like to get things sped up and maybe contend before we get to Augusta, but it was nice to come back this week, all in all. After the first day, it looked like everything was kind of going the golf course's way and found a way to fight back.''
Spieth is skipping the Arnold Palmer Invitational before returning in two weeks for the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas, where he attended the University of Texas. He is also expected to play the Shell Houston Open the week prior to the Masters.