Jordan Spieth eyes wide Open

Source:AFP Published: 2018/7/17 22:13:40

US golf prodigy seeks to emulate Harrington


Jordan Spieth of the US plays a practice round ahead of the Open Championship on Tuesday in Carnoustie, Scotland. Photo: VCG

Jordan Spieth feels he is back in the groove and capable of becoming the first player since Irishman Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008 to win back to back Opens.

The 24-year-old and a swathe of his fellow young Americans threatening to dominate the future of the sport will also have a returning Tiger Woods.

The man who dominated the past until personal and physical problems intervened to bring that to a juddering halt is back at the Open for the first time since he missed the cut in 2015.

Spieth has not won since his Open success in July last year, but he believes his game is back in place for the rigors of Carnoustie when battle commences on Thursday, having taken some time out to relax.

"I had the itch to get back to it after a couple of weeks of not really working and it was nice to kind of start from scratch," Spieth said.

"I feel like I'm in a position now with every part of my game, I attacked the places that really needed some strong work."

Fellow young Turks such as PGA Champion Justin Thomas, Masters champion Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka, who defended his US Open title last month, will be fancying their chances.

Compatriot Rickie Fowler could take issue with being left out of their club given he is also under 30 at 29 - the only problem being he has developed a reputation for filling the minor places in the majors.

The return of Woods, who inspired many of the 20-something Americans to take up the sport, will be intriguing to see if the sea air awakens the genius in him. 

Although there have been moments of magic since he resumed playing competitively after protracted problems with his back he warns his game is not necessarily where he would want it to be in terms of winning a tournament for the first time in five years.

At the same time the 14-time major winner - including three Opens - likes the look of the course.

"I don't have to relearn how to play this style of golf because I have played in so many Opens and so many links courses over my career," he said.

"You don't get the chance to see Open venues this brown so often but then it was just like this in 2000 (his first win at St Andrews) and also at Hoylake (his win in 2006), as well."

In a Ryder Cup year the European challenge looks weak by comparison in the only major played outside the US.

The likes of Northern Irish star Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, the in-form Italian Francesco Molinari and perhaps a dark horse in Sweden's Alex Noren look the likeliest to be contenders.



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