Skip to main content
The 150th Open

Jordan Spieth


2017 Champion Golfer hopes experience trumps momentum at St Andrews

Jordan Spieth

Momentum may have been behind him in 2015 but Jordan Spieth believes he can lift the Claret Jug on Sunday evening if he beats his previous performance at St Andrews.

The 2017 Champion Golfer was hunting for the calendar Grand Slam when The Open was last played at the Old Course seven years ago, having won the Masters and the US Open.

Spieth ultimately came up just short in the final round, missing out on the three-man play-off by one stroke as Zach Johnson prevailed against Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen.

But while he has not won a major since The Open at Royal Birkdale, Spieth feels his experience and tactical nous makes him more of a threat on his return to the home of golf.

“I think of myself as having a bit more momentum in 2015,” he said. “I don't know how you can have more. But I think there's certain parts of my game that I feel are stronger.

“There's certain parts of my game where I'm just trying to get right back to where they were at that point in time. So I would say if I played against myself then, if I beat myself then this week, then I would be holding the trophy. 

“It would be obviously, certainly a big challenge. I don’t necessarily know that I could answer that because I feel I hit it further, I feel that my knowledge, round to round, of seeing a lot more majors and a lot more tournaments can mentally make me just a little bit better.

“Maybe I have some advantage on a shot that I wouldn't have thought about then. But I was also caning everything that I looked at then, and I can't say that's going to happen every week forever, but it certainly can happen in four days.”

Spieth posted a 14-under total of 274 in 2015 but he feels chasing birdies around the Old Course is a dangerous approach, emphasising the need for patience in links golf.

“I think it's about letting the course come to you,” he added. “I think recognising that towards the finish of this round you have probably the highest score to par and then the lowest score to par on back-to-back holes. 

“I imagine 17 will play the hardest this week and 18 will play the easiest. It's always a bit interesting because you're always kind of waiting for the end of the round for that kind of drama.

“So I think it's a tournament also where you don't have to be out in front to win. It's one where, if you can post a score - sometimes it's really difficult if you're not freely hitting shots at your targets and trying to play a little protective. Links golf can eat you up if that's the case.

“I've seen both sides of that. So I think patience is the number one word for me psychologically coming in. It's let it all come to me. Don't go and try to force birdies. 

“Wait for the downwind holes where you get some wedges or the par-5s, and then try to be under-par when you reach the 18th tee box each day.”

Spieth is one of a number of players from across the pond leading the US charge at The 150th Open this week, with nine of the top 15 in the rankings from America.

Justin Thomas

Two-time major champion Justin Thomas was also speaking to media on Tuesday at St Andrews, where he is hoping to put his disappointing links record firmly behind him.

The 29-year-old’s best Open finish came in 2019 at Portrush, where he was tied 11th, but he insists he has the game to contend despite missing the cut at the Scottish Open last week.  

“I love links golf. I get so excited and have fun every time I play it. But yeah, I mean, my links golf record speaks for itself. I've played terribly over here. It's not hidden. I can't fake it,” he said.

“I played really, really well at Portrush. I just had a bad finish. I got kind of caught in a little squall there on probably the worst hole on the course to be in and tripled to where it kept me from a top-five. I've played well at the Scottish Open, obviously didn't last week.

“But I mean a lot of it is just me understanding and getting used to the conditions, understanding that it's not the same as the States to where it's like I'm going to hit this or this off this tee pretty much no matter what. It's little things here and there.”

Thomas beat Zalatoris to win his second PGA Championship this year, one of two runners-up finishes for the latter who also came second to Matt Fitzpatrick at the US Open.

Zalatoris is experiencing St Andrews for the first time this week - having only ever played it previously on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 game - but while expectations are high for another major run, the 25-year-old is not putting too much pressure on himself.

“Of course, I want to win one, but I also have to remind myself is we're sitting here talking about me not winning a major, and I've been on the PGA Tour for 20 months,” he said

“It's a pretty good spot to be in. I don't think I've played double digit majors yet. For me, let's just keep growing on this experience. I'm obviously playing some nice golf. 

“We're talking about me having four runners-up in majors here. I think I'll take that resume, but obviously I'd like to replace some of the silver medals with some gold medals.”