Sunday 18 March 2018

Ryder Cup glory primary target for Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth is targeting success at this year's Ryder Cup
Jordan Spieth is targeting success at this year's Ryder Cup

Phil Caey

World number one Jordan Spieth has made a Ryder Cup victory his top priority for 2016 and believes a young United States side with less "scar tissue" will take a clean slate to Hazeltine in September.

Europe have won six of the last seven biennial contests - including record nine-points wins in 2004 and 2006 - and Spieth, who made his debut in the latest defeat at Gleneagles in 2014, admits he is thoroughly sick of such statistics.

"It's a huge goal this year for me and possibly at the very top of the list to try and get that win as a team," said 22-year-old Spieth, who will defend his Masters and US Open titles this season, as well as chasing an Olympic gold medal in Rio.

"We are tired of hearing about changes that need to be made. We are tired of hearing about the past. And we're ready to believe in kind of a younger, more hungry team going forward.

"It looks like it's going to be a younger average-age team than what we've had. There's less scar tissue there. Rickie (Fowler) has been on I think two losing teams. I've been on one. You've got guys like Brooks (Koepka) and Justin (Thomas) and Patrick (Reed), a number of guys who are young, fiery, have good success in different team environments going back to their amateur and junior days.

"It's a different animal in the Ryder Cup, but we have a lot of momentum at this very point in time right now. It's still a long way until Hazeltine, but if we can continue what we've been doing over this past year in young American golf, we're going to go in and get in that team room and be pretty excited about who is next to us."

The defeat at Gleneagles prompted Phil Mickelson to criticise the captaincy of Tom Watson in the post-event press conference and led to the creation of an 11-man "task force" aimed at ending European dominance.

Davis Love was then appointed captain for the second time, despite his side blowing a 10-4 lead in the 'Miracle at Medinah' in 2012, with veterans Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker named as vice-captains.

However, speaking ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Spieth added: "We're going to go in believing that it's just a completely clean slate. The Ryder Cup trend in our mind, when we get there this year, it starts over. That's the strategy we are going to take.

"We are all going to listen to our captain. We are going to listen to our assistant captains, and they are going to listen to us. It's going to be an effort that we are all going to have as team members, to put a lot of thought into this ahead of time on how we want to prepare, so that when we get there we know the teams, we can then play matches against each other. We don't have to figure stuff out last minute.

"And I think that's going to be important for us, to just kind of ease the transition and get a lot of the noise away.

"If we go in believing that the Ryder Cup, this is the inaugural event, this is a clean slate, we are ready to go and start a new trend, then I think we'll be fine."

Press Association

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