Gary Player had already written him off.
The action gets underway on Thursday as Brooks Koepka defends the title he won past year at Erin Hills. "I'm hitting the ball both ways and I'm seeing different shots", he said. "That was it. I thought it was pretty amusing, whoever came up with that".
But not before thousands of fans, at least those who avoided the traffic jams outside the course, had taken the chance to catch a glimpse of one of sport's most famous celebrities.
Spieth has won 11 times in his first five full seasons, including those three major championships. In between, there have been four back surgeries since 2014, substance abuse, withdrawals, a ranking of 1,199th in the world, and a lot of false starts. He hasn't won any title since 2013 but is contending and driving well after spinal fusion, a self-dubbed "walking miracle". "And it never gets old". "He was swinging very poorly", Player said. "I don't think it punishes a long player or favours a long player, you just need to be able to play a lot of shots". I couldn't see my lines.
Traveling by "the dinghy", as Woods refers to his 155-footer, turned out to be a smart move, because funneling 156 golfers and all that comes with them into a dated summer resort area accessible only by farm lanes has caused gridlock.
'What I did at Memorial, I just didn't feel comfortable over it, ' Woods added. "The reason he didn't, because he changed his swing".
G Mac, as he has always been more affectionately known, is among a dozen former fellow US Open winners in this year's field including Ernie Els (1994, '97), Jim Furyk (2003), Lucas Glover (2009), Dustin Johnson (2016), Martin Kaymer (2014), Brooks Koepka (2017), Rory McIlroy (2011), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012), Jordan Spieth (2015) and Tiger Woods (2000, '02, '08). Had they been in the arena to understand?
"I'm really of the mindset that it doesn't matter what the golf course is, I can adapt my game to fit anything". No matter what happened at Chambers Bay, he was the Masters champion for the rest of the year, and a major champion for life.More news: Ronaldo: Best hat-trick of my career
U.S. Open organizer the United States Golf Association - often criticized for the demanding nature of America's national championship - came under fire for the course's set-up. "Arnold has been part of our three amigos for a long time. But it's always a thrill to come out on the first tee".
Jordan Spieth now knows that when he's tied for the lead after 72 holes on Sunday, his work is not done. "I knew it. I knew if I go out and win the golf tournament, I go back to number one".
The oldest player to win the U.S. Open was Hale Irwin, who was 45 when he won at Medinah in 1990 - Mickelson's first major.
"I like it", he said.
"I vividly remember when they were talking about women being members of the golf club".
Tiger Woods said that the greens were not quite up to speed yet but as the course dried out, it would be "another great U.S. Open test".
At 374 yards, the drive and pitch 13th only gave up 54 birdies last time around thanks to the few things that still give great players fits: few level stances, semi-obstructed views and another hard green.