Spieth determined to lift Claret Jug
As Jordan Spieth walked through the Royal Troon clubhouse at the weekend he was drawn to pictures on the walls of past winners of The Open at the famous Ayrshire links. The last six, he noticed, were fellow Americans.
“Man, there’s so much added pressure,” he joked. “I don’t know how I’m even going to hit a shot this week!”
Spieth, no.3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, has arrived at Royal Troon as one of the favourites to win The 145th Open.
This time last year, Spieth was the hottest player on the planet. He arrived at The Open at St Andrews in the hunt for a third successive Major Championship - after victories at the Masters and the US Open – and gave it his best shot, finishing tied fourth. What it also gave him was a determination to claim the Claret Jug for himself.
“I crave to have that trophy in my possession,” Spieth said today. “And to reach the third leg of the Grand Slam this week would be a fantastic achievement and a life-long goal of mine.”
It was a statement of intent certain to make his rivals sit up and notice – as was his take on the challenge that lies in wait. “This is a fantastic course for the Open Championship,” he went on. “I think this style of golf plays to my strengths.”
One of the difficulties of reaching the top in any sport is remaining there. Spieth admitted that his game was not quite at the level it was 12 months ago and he marvelled at the achievements of Tiger Woods, the winner of 14 Major Championships in a stellar career.
“It’s mostly mental,” he said. “I believe in my ability if I’m in contention, that I can bring out my best stuff and take home the trophy. I’m just a little hesitant tee to green versus last year. It puts a light on what Tiger has done even more so.”