"This is as much of a high as I've ever experienced in my golfing life,” - Jordan Spieth
When a delighted Jordan Spieth strolled into the press conference after his victory at The 146th Open, his first comment was an instruction: “We’re going to skip the first 12 holes, right?”
Everybody laughed, but the gathered journalists knew what he was getting at. He had started the final day with a three-stroke lead and then had struggled to hold on to it – for two-thirds of the round, that is.
He was right to concentrate on his finishing stretch, however. After falling behind to Matt Kuchar for the first time after a bogey at the 13th, he had a birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie run that took the Claret Jug from his rival’s grasp.
“This is as much of a high as I've ever experienced in my golfing life,” Spieth said. “And I'm going to enjoy it more than I've enjoyed anything that I've accomplished in the past.”
For a player who won the 2015 Masters Tournament at 21, and followed up with victory at the US Open two months’ later, that was some statement. It was tinged with relief, however, because of the memory of a blown five-stroke lead with seven holes to play at the 2016 Masters Tournament.
Now, back on track and with one major needed to complete the career grand slam, he is being compared once more to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
If he were to win the US PGA Championship next month, he would beat Woods’s record as the youngest winner of all four majors, but he is not keen on comparisons.
“I don't compare myself (to Woods or Nicklaus),” he explained. “And I don't think comparisons are appropriate or necessary. To be in that company, no doubt, is absolutely incredible. And I certainly appreciate it.
“But I'm very careful as to what that means going forward because what those guys have done has transcended the sport. And in no way, shape or form do I think I'm anywhere near that. It's a good start, but there is a long way to go.”
Spieth was quick to pay tribute to Kuchar, who was two under par for his last four holes but was still beaten to the winning line.
“Matt didn't lose the tournament at all today,” Spieth said. “He played well down the stretch. I just had my long putts go in, (and) his didn't. That was simply it.
“I believe Matt Kuchar will win a major championship and I believe that he'll do it sometime soon.
“He's a great champion and a great individual to look up to. When I talk about having great role models on the PGA Tour, he's at the top of the class. And you're able to see it with how he handles that kind of situation right after just a crazy day.”