Last week Jordan Spieth finished the WGC Bridgestone Invitational tied for 13th, which is good but definitely was not his best stuff. The 24-year-old may have been coming off the emotional-high he experienced after winning The Open in such dramatic style two weeks prior.
Spieth now faces the loftiest expectations of his career, which is to win the PGA Championship and stand alone as the youngest golfer to complete the career Grand Slam. Winning a major is a tall task, adding the pressure to complete the career Grand Slam isn’t something Spieth wants to think about right now.
“Expectations, I don’t really feel any,” Spieth said during Wednesday’s press conference. “[Yes] this a is a chance to complete the career Grand Slam. I mean I’m here so I’m going to go ahead and try. But I believe I am going to have plenty of chances throughout my career. I’m young enough to believe in my abilities, that it will happen at some point. Do I have to be the youngest? No. I don’t feel that kind of pressure.
“I don’t come to a tournament unless I plan on giving it my all in preparation to have a chance to ultimately close the tournament out.”
That last sentiment sounds strangely familiar, possibly like a young Tiger Woods? Yeah.
11 wins before he was 24.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 9, 2017
Quail Hollow is known to be a course that favors players who have more length to their game, especially with the driver. Take for example Rory McIlroy who holds the course record at the site of this year’s PGA Championship. McIlroy plays extremely well when given the chance to pound drives deep and not worry about shaping shots off the tee.
A key for Spieth this week will be to focus on keeping his drives consistently in the fairway, something he struggled with during The Open. A course like Royal Birkdale is more forgiving than a Quail Hollow because the links course has almost no trees, making scrambling a little less of a hassle. If Spieth can keep his drives straight and throw darts with his irons then there is no doubt he can contend with the lengthy players.
“Recently we’ve put more work into the short game and trying to find more fairways,” Spieth said.
“Last week (at the WGCB) was a good week, I didn’t quite have my best stuff, but I come into Quail Hollow here on a very very difficult track. One that’s going to be kind of wet and long, which puts more of a premium on finding the fairway. I love these Bermuda greens. I feel like they are a good style and speed of greens to get my putting right where I want it.”
You could tell that not only was Spieth tranquil on Wednesday when speaking to reporters, but the 24-year-old had a look in his eye. Like he was chasing something that was so close he could almost taste it.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 10, 2017
The three-time Major champion admitted he felt as though he won The Open without putting well until the final 6 holes of the tournament. So you can only imagine what he will be like with the flat iron when he has his stroke down. He also talked about how he hasn’t been this relaxed going into a tournament since the 2015 U.S. Open – by the way that was his second major victory.
“There will be pressure, this is a major championship,” Spieth added. “This is one of the four weeks pivotal weeks of the year that we focus on. So there will certainly be pressure. I’m simply stating there won’t be added pressure.”
If his drives are straight, expect Jordan Spieth in one of the final pairings come Sunday afternoon.