Tuesday 24 April 2018

Golden Bear's level of consistency in Majors gives Spieth his inspiration

Jordan Spieth on his way to victory in the final round of the US Open
Jordan Spieth on his way to victory in the final round of the US Open

William S Callahan

Jordan Spieth looks to golfing great Jack Nicklaus for inspiration as he seeks to build on the platform of winning two Major championships this year.

Spieth, 22, took the game by storm with his victory in Augusta last April and followed it up with a snatch-and-grab at Chambers Bay in the US Open when Dustin Johnson looked to have control.

He then claimed a John Deere Classic win on the Sunday before the Open Championship at St Andrews, and went to Scotland eager for a third successive Major championship win.

The chase for glory came up a shot shy of a play-off which was won by Zach Johnson, and resulted in a tied-fourth finish.

At Whistling Straits, Spieth finished solo second, three adrift of winner Jason Day.

His game from now on will be aimed at amassing as many Major wins as possible.

Jack Nicklaus stands out as the all-time greatest with 18 victories - six Masters, four US Opens, three British Opens, and five US PGA titles.

But for Spieth, the significant Nicklaus statistic was the number of times the Golden Bear finished in the top three at Majors.

Nicklaus came second 19 times, and third on nine occasions - meaning he was there or thereabouts 28 times as well as winning 18 Majors.

If Spieth were to achieve even half of the consistency levels of Nicklaus, he would enjoy a great career, and he knows it.

"It's a tough thing to win on the PGA Tour. Everyone knows that now and it's getting tougher and tougher.

"I was in contention and had a chance to win four Majors this year and two went my way, and two didn't. The Open Championship, I certainly had control of with two holes to play.

"That's really the only let-down this year, in my mind, was how I finished that championship.


"But in Majors, look at what Jack (Nicklaus) did. You're going to be in position a lot. The more you can get into it, the more you're going to win," said Spieth.

The Texan plays his last event of the year as defending champion in Tiger Woods' Hero World Challenge at Albany GC in the Bahamas and started in sensational fashion - par, ace.

Spieth wielded a six-iron at the 172 yard par-three second hole in beautiful fashion as he sent the ball arrow-straight on target and into the cup.

He added three birdies to his card - it could have been four but for a lip-out on 17 - for a five-under par 67, leaving him a shot behind joint leaders Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker and Paul Casey.

Henrik Stenson was to have played in the Bahamas but opted for the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

It looked a good decision as Stenson overcame a bout of illness earlier in the week to shoot an unblemished 66 and tie the lead with Jaco van Zyl of South Africa on six-under par.

Shane Lowry, the only Irishman in the tournament, needs improvement today after starting with a two-over-par 74.

Paul Dunne went into the second round of the Australian PGA Championship in Melbourne happy with his concentration levels after easing off somewhat following his achievement in gaining his full Tour card at Q-School two weeks ago.

He missed the cut in the Alfred Dunhill Championship last week-end and that was a wake-up call.

"I feel like every week I've played since I turned pro has been quite pressure-filled and I've had to play well every week.

"Once I got my card at the Q School I sort of relaxed too much and ended up missing the cut last week," said Dunne.

Nedbank Golf Challenge Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.00am, Hero World Challenge, Live, Sky Sports 4, 5.00pm

Irish Independent

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