PGA Championship

Spieth relaxed ahead of year's final major

2017-08-09 17:39
Jordan Spieth (Getty Images)

Charlotte - Jordan Spieth enters the PGA Championship more relaxed than he has ever felt before a major tournament, saying Wednesday a victory this week could make this a better campaign than his breakthrough 2015 season.

The 24-year-old American, who captured his third major title at last month's British Open, could become the youngest player to complete a career Grand Slam with a victory in the showdown that starts Thursday at Quail Hollow.

And that liberating sense of achievement from his victory at Royal Birkdale still resonates with Spieth.

"I'm free-rolling. And it feels good," Spieth said. "I'm about as free and relaxed at a major than I think I've ever felt.

"Almost like I've accomplished something so great this year that anything else that happens, I can accept. That takes that pressure, that expectation away."

World number two Spieth, the 2015 Masters and US Open champion, could become only the sixth man to sweep the four major titles in a career after Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen.

But making history this week doesn't add any extra weight for Spieth this week because the age mark holds little special meaning for him.

"Do I have to be the youngest? No, I don't feel that kind of pressure. Would it be really cool? Absolutely," Spieth said.

"There won't be added expectations or pressure. I just don't feel it. It's not a burning desire to have to be the youngest to do something, and that would be the only reason there would be added expectations.

"If I don't win one in the next 10 years, then maybe there's added pressure. But it was only two weeks ago that I was able to get the third leg, and that's so fresh in my mind. I'm so happy about that that I can't add pressure to this week.

"I believe I'm going to have plenty of chances and I'm young enough to believe in my abilities that it will happen at some point."

Even so, Spieth admits this year offers the rare chance to top his 2015 run, when he won the year's first two majors and nearly captured the British Open.

"It's not likely to match a season like that, maybe ever again, but I've got an opportunity this year," Spieth said.

"If I can get the job done this week, and then run into the playoffs with the same kind of momentum, then I would consider it as good or a better year than even then, which is pretty cool. But I understand it's not as easy as I just said."

Spieth recognizes changes in his game from then to now.

"I feel like around the greens and on the greens, I was stronger in 2015, but I feel like my ball-striking, especially my iron play, is better now than it was then," Spieth said.

"The British, I won without really feeling like I was putting well at all. The last five holes, six holes was by far my best putting the entire week. But to feel like you can win a major and feel as uncomfortable as I did for a lot of it over the putter is extremely confidence building."

Adapting to how he is playing has been a key factor in his major triumphs, Spieth said, saying he won't have a familiar routine style like that of 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.

"You very rarely have parallel wins," Spieth said. "Tiger had very parallel wins in the way that he got it done, but that was almost like a robot. Don't really expect that to happen with myself. It's just about being able to adapt to situations quickly and use that to my advantage."

The move of the PGA Championship to May starting in 2019 could open the way for the first major tournament since 1969 in Spieth's home state of Texas.

"The scheduling changes going forward, I think players overall are extremely pleased with it," Spieth said. "It opens up a lot more venues. For me to think of playing in my home state in a major championship, that would be incredible."


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