Spieth hopes he's not under the radar for long
He enters the PGA Championship looking to complete the career grand slam
August 07, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
2018 PGA Championship preview
ST. LOUIS – Some players like being under the proverbial radar. Jordan Spieth doesn’t mind it. But come Sunday afternoon, Spieth hopes to be the brightest blip on the screen.
While Spieth knows the 2017-18 season on the PGA TOUR has not been his best, the 25-year-old has still been a factor in two of the three majors.
Spieth was third at the Masters, almost producing the best Sunday comeback in Augusta National history.
He held a share of the 54-hole lead at the recent Open Championship only to fade to a ninth-place finish.
But at the end of the day, almost winning is not winning.
With 10 PGA TOUR wins in the three seasons prior to this one, trophies are now expected from him.
Winning this week would be an incredible way to break the recent slump that has seen him drop from world No. 2 at the start of 2018, to his current position of eighth.
Because if he claims the Wanamaker Trophy, Spieth enters notable company as just the sixth man to achieve the career grand slam behind Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
“This tournament will always be circled until I'm able to hopefully win it someday … which will ultimately achieve a life-long goal for me,” Spieth said.
“So certainly, emphasis in my head on it, but nothing overpowering, nothing that takes over once I start on the first tee, just more going into the week.”
This is just Spieth’s second chance to complete the slam after last year’s whirlwind where he claimed the Claret Jug and turned up to Quail Hollow as hot property.
He admits to being more anxious then because he was in form and going to a course he felt he could contend.
But this year the focus is on the likes of four-time winner Woods, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and defending FedExCup and PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas.
“I like to come in in form,” Spieth said when asked if he’d prefer his current spot of under the radar or being the brightest spot on it.
“I feel somewhat under the radar this year. I've kind of felt that way a lot this year, I don't mind it.
“But at the same time, after one round it changes. So ideally, going into Sunday you're a bright spot.”
Statistically the problem for Spieth has been putting. He ranks 165th in Strokes Gained: Putting after being inside the top 10 on TOUR in two of the last four seasons and inside the top 40 in all four seasons.
But at Carnoustie he lamented “two bad swings” that took him out of the tournament when he bogeyed the fifth and doubled the sixth hole.
He’s seen the good and the bad with majors, winning three and of course letting a few slip.
He points out Jack Nicklaus had multiple near misses to go with his 18 wins, which makes the losses easier to accept.
“Each week, if I don't have a chance to win on Sunday, I'm disappointed waking up. But I understand this year's been kind of a building year for me, and I've been working back towards the level that I like to be at,” he said.
“If I look back, I try and focus on four tournaments a year, I have a huge emphasis on them, and two of them I've had a chance to win on Sunday this year. So if I'm looking at it from that standpoint, it's kind of mission accomplished with one to go.”
“But obviously, getting in the winner's circle when it's been over a year is something that I obviously would like to do.
“I don't feel any added pressure from it, I won't, but if it happens or doesn't happen through the rest of this calendar year, I'm working in the right direction, I'm doing the right things, and again if you get yourself in position enough, the bounces will go your way.”