• "Long way to go to be considered that," said the 21-year-old
• Faces Mikko Ilonen in first group match of WGC Match Play
Masters champion Jordan Spieth has played down a current rivalry with world No.1 Rory McIlroy, insisting he still has to achieve more in the game for it to even be considered.
The 21-year-old has risen from No.9 to No.2 in the world in 2015 thanks to his maiden major win at Augusta and PGA Tour triumph at the Valspar Championship, and said it would take the pair to compete head-to-head at a tournament to ignite a rivalry, which hasn’t happened yet.
“I have a long way to go to where it could be considered that,” said Jordan Spieth, who like McIlroy is preparing for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park.
"In order to have a rivalry, we need to be competing against each other consistently at the highest level" - Jordan Spieth
“I think I’m off to a good start but in order to have a rivalry, we need to be competing against each other consistently at the highest level. It’s happened maybe a couple of times, but all in all Rory and I haven’t been battling it out in an event where we can kind of get what we want, I guess.”
And despite Jordan Spieth being just four years younger than McIlroy, he admits that he sees the Northern Irishman as a role model, but jokingly didn’t rule out the prospect of battling it out with the world No.1 in the boxing ring on Saturday night at the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio.
McIlroy has tickets for the fight in Las Vegas and it seems very likely he’ll be there, even if he is still in the Match Play, with a 1,140 mile round trip in a private jet in the pipeline.
On McIlroy, Jordan Spieth said: “For him to be able to hold his No.1 position and continue to play really good golf while obviously enjoying the perks of being No.1 in the world is incredible. To be such a great guy with it is really good for the sport of golf and he’s a role model for me in that position.
“If things don’t go perfectly this week, I may seem him at the fight, who knows. Maybe we’ll duke it out right afterwards!”
This year’s Match Play tournament in San Francisco has been revamped, with 16 groups of four players battling it out over the first three days, with the winner of each group progressing to the latter stages.
Spieth has welcomed the change and although a player could lose one of their three matches in the group and still qualify, he has no intention of being defeated.
“You certainly have a chance to get lucky if you lose one, but our mindset can’t be like that,” said Spieth. “You have one extra match to play in order to win the championship. In my mind, it’s win or go home.”
Jordan Spieth is in group two alongside Lee Westwood, Matt Every and Mikko Ilonen, with his first match against the latter at 11.50am local time (7.50pm UK time).
Jordan Spieth at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play :: Your thoughts
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