Champion Golfer Spieth ready to return Claret Jug
Jordan Spieth likened carrying the Claret Jug around for the past year to travelling with “a kid in a stroller” but it’s time for his baby to come home as he returns the iconic trophy on Monday.
Spieth earned the title of Champion Golfer of the Year – and with it, the right to have the Claret Jug as a travel companion for 12 months – when he completed a dramatic three-shot triumph at The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale last July.
Now, the American will be on the first tee at Carnoustie Golf Links on Monday afternoon (from 12.30pm) to hand the Claret Jug back to The R&A Chief Executive, Martin Slumbers, and you can be there to witness this iconic moment.
It’s coming home
There are approximately 900 seats in the grandstands surrounding the first tee and these will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis by fans with a valid ticket for The Open on Monday 16th July.
Spectators are invited to be in their seats from 12.30pm, with the handover also set to be broadcast live on Sky Sports and hosted by Sarah Stirk.
As well as the return of the Claret Jug there will be the announcement of the draw and tee times, so make sure you head to Carnoustie, get along early to secure your seat and don't miss out on this memorable moment.
Spieth seeking another ‘punch in the gut’
It’s fair to say Spieth has enjoyed his year with the Claret Jug – memorably partying with fellow golfers Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas after last year’s victory, with video emerging of him drinking out of the iconic trophy.
The 24-year-old is hoping the return of the Claret Jug will be just a temporary separation and that they’ll be reunited come Sunday, although the always-testing Carnoustie course will prove a tricky foe.
When he was announced as Champion Golfer on the 18th green at Royal Birkdale a year ago, the three-time major winner described the feeling as akin to being hit in the stomach – in a good way, of course.
“When those words were spoken on the green at Birkdale, it just kind of hit me,” he explained. “It was almost like someone had kind of punched me in the gut in the best way possible.
“You just need to realise how special this is, embrace what it means and feel the chill go through you.
“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.”
Spieth certainly earned his year with the Claret Jug, following a memorable final-day battle with compatriot Matt Kuchar at Royal Birkdale.
The now-world No.6 led by three shots heading into Sunday but after an up-and-down round, he bogeyed the 13th to fall a stroke behind Kuchar with five holes to play.
However, like all great champions, the Texan stepped up when the pressure was at its greatest – finishing birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par to become Champion Golfer of the Year for the first time.
Spieth now heads to Carnoustie seeking to retain his title on a course he has never previously competed but while he understands what a tough test the Angus links will pose, it is one he’s relishing.
“I’ve seen Opens at Carnoustie and why the golf course has a reputation among the players for being so difficult,” he added.
“But I thoroughly enjoy links golf and The Open has always been one of my favourite events, so I am looking forward to the challenge I know Carnoustie presents, especially the finishing holes.
“As a competitor, you look forward to that tough-but-fair type of challenge, knowing that you can expect a little bit of everything over four days in Scotland, in terms of the conditions.”
Drama is always guaranteed at Carnoustie but you wouldn’t’ back against Spieth becoming the first man since Padraig Harrington a decade ago to lift the Claret Jug in back-to-back years.