Open Championship

Spieth 'aware' of Hogan legacy

2015-07-15 14:18
Jordan Spieth (Gallo Images)

St Andrews - Jordan Spieth staked his case for golfing glory at St Andrews on Wednesday, saying he was fully aware of what was within his grasp at this week's British Open.

The 21-year Texan has taken the golfing world by storm from the start of the year, winning the Masters and US Open, only the sixth man ever to do so,

Tiger Woods was the last to achieve that feat in 2002 and before him Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan (twice) and Gene Sarazen - all legends of the sport - did likewise.

However, only Hogan in 1953, when he was 40, made it three in a row by winning the Open Championship.

He eventually failed to achieve the Grand Slam at the final hurdle simply because he was unable to play in the PGA Championship which in those days overlapped with the British and was in match play format.

Asked if the Hogan "triple crown" was something that was playing on his mind, Spieth replied: "Sure, I'm aware.

"I like to study the history of golf, and I think it's extremely special what this year has brought to our team and to have a chance to do what only one other person in the history of golf has done doesn't come around very often.

"I'm sure embracing that opportunity, but by the time I start on Thursday, it won't be in my head. It'll be about how can I bring this Open Championship down to just another event, get out there and try and get myself into contention. But I am certainly aware of it."

The remarkable speed of Spieth's rise to the top can be seen by the fact that he first played the Open just two years ago, winning the John Deere Classic the week before to earn a late slot in the tournament.

Even last year, despite a second place finish in the Masters, few would have gambled on him being in such an elevated position, especially with the way Rory McIlroy was dominating golf.

But that does not take fully into account Spieth's astonishing self-confidence and analytical approach to the game as well as his outstanding putting stroke under pressure.

Asked if he had foreseen hitting the top so soon after turning pro, he said: "Obviously I imagined it and wished that it was possible. I just wasn't sure how I'd be able to handle the Masters this year leading all four rounds and being able to close it out.

"You don't sleep well on the lead in a major, and so to do it for a few days and still continue to play the best golf I've ever played and putt the best I've ever putted, that gave me a lot of confidence, and really that tournament right there established, hey, we can do this going forward in each one if we get the chance. We've done it before, why can't we do it again?"

Parallels with the young Tiger Woods and his early assault on the majors 15 years ago are already being made, but Spieth insists that such comparisons are "unfair."

They are better left for much later in his career, he says, when it can be ascertained if he has the staying power that Woods once had, holding all four majors at the one time in 2001.

It was to Woods that Spieth briefly turned to on Monday after flying in overnight from Illinois where he once again won the John Deere Classic.

Previously he had only once played on the Old Course and that was four years ago when he was still an amateur and about to contest the Walker Cup at Aberdeen.

Monday he teamed up with Ryan Palmer and Texan amateur Oliver Schniederjans, crossing paths with Woods towards the end of their round.

"We played by ourselves late and ended up talking with Tiger for a little bit on 16 green," he said.

"He was practising there and just talked to him for about 10 minutes, but very briefly about the course, more just catching up.

"I think in my views of travelling to tournaments, and I would trust Tiger's point of view probably more than mine, he has plenty more experience doing this."

Read more on:    open championship  |  jordan spieth  |  golf


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