Jordan Spieth knows that a place in the game’s record books will be his if he wins the US PGA Championship this week – but he’s refusing to give that prospect any brain-space.
The three-time major champion is just one Wanamaker Trophy away from joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in the ‘Career Grand Slam’ club.
This will be his fifth attempt at completing the men’s major set and, arguably, this week presents his best chance to date given his excellent recent run of form.
History beckons but, asked to what extent it's on his mind, the 27-year-old was adamant.
“It's not,” insisted Spieth. “I think as we get into the weekend, if I'm able to work my way into contention, it's something that'll obviously be asked and come up, and it's something that I certainly want.
“You go to a major, and for me at this point, I wanted to win the Masters as badly as I ever have this year. Didn't happen.
“I want to win this one as badly as I ever have. Once you move on to the US Open, the same.
Majors are what we're trying to peak for. I feel like I'll have a lot of chances at this tournament, and if I just focus on trying to take advantage of this golf course, play it the best I can and kind of stay in the same form tee to green I've been in, all I can ask for is a chance.”
Spieth’s preparation for this week has been far from ideal. First, he contracted COVID-19 last month, which caused him to go three months without practicing. Then, bad weather in Dallas delayed his arrival at Kiawah Island.
Even so, he’s done his homework on what is the longest course in major championship history.
“I’ve heard the back nine stretches to almost 4,000 yards, and then today Matt Jones came to the range and he just kind of let out a sigh. He was like, ‘Man, 14 through 18 was all you want today’.
"So I know obviously taking advantage of the downwind holes and hanging on for dear life into the wind out here, the holes will play obviously much longer when you turn into the breeze and then much shorter downwind, more so than other golf courses when they can get firm and fast and the ball is going to chase out.
“I think picking clubs off tees, picking lines off tees, is going to be important, and I would have liked to have seen the golf course a few times. It just wasn't a possibility this year for me. Going to need to do a lot of good work the next two days.”