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Player Feature

Jordan Spieth


His love affair with The Open

Few will forget Jordan Spieth’s Open victory back in 2017 at Royal Birkdale.

The American boy wonder produced a back nine for the ages to hold off Matt Kuchar and claim the third major of his career.

But his crowning glory has since become his cross to bear.

The 25-year-old has not won a single tournament since that famous summer day almost two years ago.

But while his drop off in form has not gone unnoticed – he is now down to 35th in the world rankings – there is nothing like the prospect of a Claret Jug to help a man rediscover his best.

There were signs at Augusta earlier this year that the Spieth of old was returning, he ended up tied for 21st in the year’s first major.

His perfect putting – who can forget him telling his caddie Michael Greller to ‘go get that’ at Birkdale on Sunday – had begun to let him down.

But a trip to Royal Portrush could be coming at just the right time for the Texan native.

After all, Spieth has an Open record that few can match.

In what is often the toughest test in golf, Spieth has made Links play look astonishingly easy at times.

Since his first trip to The Open back in 2013, Spieth has shot 24 rounds and been under par in an incredible 13 of them.

He has never missed a cut at The Open, finishing tied 44th, 36th, fourth, 30th and then first.

Last year at Carnoustie, it was all set up for him to retain his Claret Jug as well.

But he failed to replicate the efforts of Young Tom Morris in his attempt to become only the second man to retain the Open crown under the age of 25.

He ended up ninth that Sunday at Carnoustie as Francesco Molinari stormed to success.

But when you consider his near miss at St Andrews, his win at Birkdale and close run at Carnoustie, it is clear Spieth has an affinity for this famous old major.

The only major not played on American soil clearly holds a special place in Spieth’s heart.

He saves his best for the biggest stages, and they will not come any bigger than Royal Portrush this summer.

The Open is returning to Antrim for the first time in 68 years.

Much of the build-up will focus on Rory McIlroy as a result.

And while Spieth has not cracked a top ten on the PGA Tour since last year’s Open, if that run continues through the US PGA and into July, he might remain under the radar.

That is hard to believe for a golfer of Spieth’s ability and track record.

But the former Champion Golfer of the Year would probably prefer it that way.

He has three top ten finishes in six Open outings, and Northern Ireland in July could well make it an awesome four.