Spieth desperate to retain Champion Golfer of the Year tag
Jordan Spieth will forever have his name on the Claret Jug but only success at Carnoustie this summer will allow him to retain his treasured title of Champion Golfer of the Year.
Spieth channelled his inner Seve Ballesteros en route to winning at Royal Birkdale last year, making one of the best bogeys in major history on the 13th after hitting his third from the practice range.
One of the first things he did when he returned home was watch the coverage of his win, skipping the first 12 holes of his final round to see how the drama unfolded on TV in the closing stages.
And while the 23-year-old knows the challenge that awaits him on his first visit to Carnoustie, Spieth is not ready to relinquish the Champion Golfer of the Year crown he holds so dear just yet.
“Champion Golfer of the Year is such a cool title,” he said. “I'm looking forward to having that announcement again as I get on to the tee, this past year’s Champion Golfer of the Year.
“When those words were spoken on the green at Birkdale, it just kind of hit me. It was almost like someone had kind of punched me in the gut in the best way possible.
“Just you need to realise how special this is, and certainly embrace what it means.
“The Open Championship has always been one of my favourite events of my life to have played in, and I am looking forward to this challenge.
“I look forward to teeing it up at Carnoustie, having those chills go through me as I step to the first tee and remember the year before, and obviously get focused and try to do it again.”
The current World No.5 claimed last year’s Open by three shots, having led wire-to-wire at Royal Birkdale.
And he plans to keep his routines very much the same despite admitting he has never visited the challenging links course just ten miles north east of Dundee.
“The plan is to get in Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening to Carnoustie, and whether I get out there and I'm able to do anything Sunday, great,” he said. “If not, start preparation on Monday.
“That's no different from kind of Birkdale or previous Opens or even other majors other than the Masters, courses I haven't seen.
“We can get a lot of work done within three days and totally understand the golf course and what it presents with my work, (coach) Cameron McCormick's work and (caddy) Michael Greller's work.”
Spieth expects Carnoustie course record holder Tommy Fleetwood to be among the favourites to challenge him for The 147th Open in a few weeks’ time.
Fleetwood shot a record-equalling final round of 63 at Shinnecock Hills to finish one shot behind eventual champion Brooks Koepka, who retained the US Open title.
“He (Fleetwood) certainly has the game, the capabilities, and is somebody who has proven he's not afraid of the moment of the shot,” added Spieth.
“I can certainly see him as one of the favourites, somebody who will have a lot of momentum if he works his way up to the lead.
“With the home crowd, guys will want to see a Brit win The Open Championship. I mean, that's such a special moment when that has happened in the past.
“I think he's one of the top guys to beat, for sure. He's absolutely just one of the nicest people out here. Everyone very much respects him as much as they respect his game.”
Spieth may never have visited Carnoustie but the course played a crucial part in his golfing development as he watched Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington battle it out in 2007.
The Irishman eventually lifted the Claret Jug in a play-off with the dramatic climax sealing Spieth’s love of the game and The Open.
“2007 was kind of the height of me starting to fall in love with the game and travel and play,” he said. “I remember watching Sergio and Padraig going at it and I remember that 18th hole.
“I don't remember specifically where they hit it. I know Sergio had a pretty good look to win the tournament in regulation. I think that's right, and it just slid by.
“I remember kind of the routes that were taken and how good of a score par was on that hole and will continue to be for Open Championships going forward.
“It’s one of probably the toughest closing holes in The Open Championship anywhere, and that creates some drama when it comes down to Sunday, I don't think it will be any different this year.”
The 147th Open takes place at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus, from 15-22 July and you can be there to witness history by securing your ticket at TheOpen.com/Tickets