St Andrews - Jordan Spieth said on Sunday that history was firmly in his
grasp and that he had no intention of letting it slip through his fingers.
The 21-year-old Texan, who has taken the golfing world by storm this year,
winning the Masters in April and the US Open last month, is now poised to make
it three straight majors.
Only Ben Hogan 62 years ago has managed to do pull off the "Triple
Crown" and even Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods came up short, both in their
It is a massive challenge and it is one that Spieth underlined on Sunday,
his third round of 66 in the British Open leaving him just one shot behind the
leading trio at St Andrews.
He has only one strategy in mind for the final 18 holes which take place on
a Monday for just the second time in Open history.
"At this point it's free rolling. I'm going to play to win, and I'm not
playing for a place. I don't want to place third tomorrow. I want to win,"
"And so I'm going to play my game, obviously with patience, to stay in
the mix, if it's not all there at the beginning, and if it is, I'm going to
continue to play that way to try and get out in front. I'm going to have to
play aggressive golf."
He has, of course, been there before - three times before to be exactly.
The first time came last year when he led in the final round of the Masters
only to be overtaken by Bubba Watson, then again this year back at Augusta
National when he won. He learns fast.
The third time as at Chambers Bay last month when he birdied the last and
watched Dustin Johnson hand him the crown with a three-putt at 18.
Having two major wins under his belt at the tender age of 21 is something
that can only be of use to him on Monday, he believes.
"Maybe just a little more comfort... like the word I used, free rolling
is the one," he said
"There's really no downside. If we have a chance to win and we don't
execute tomorrow, then we're going to be okay.
"And with that attitude, it actually frees me up a little bit to say I
can take these extra chances.
"Maybe just a little more comfort tonight in my sleep. It's always hard
to sleep near or with the lead in the last round of a major championship, but
it's been a long week here so far."
Still there is the small matter of winning three majors in a row and putting
himself into position to do what no golfer has done before him - pull off the
calendar-year Grand Slam at next month's PGA Championship in Wisconsin.
Even Hogan did not manage that as he was unable to compete in the year's
final major which in those days was in match play format and overlapped with
the Open Championship.
How would he deal with that kind of pressure?
"I see it as something that's only been done once before, and it was a long
time ago," he said. "That opportunity very rarely comes around.
"And so if I think about it that way, then I just want it a little bit
more tomorrow, to be able to try and go into the last major and accomplish
something that's never been done in our sport.
"It's something that only comes around to a couple people ever, and I'd
like to be one of those people to have that happen.
"I do recognise what's at stake."