Spieth eyes slam but still focused on small details
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[August 07, 2017]
By Andrew Both
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) -
Jordan Spieth has the chance to replace Tiger Woods as the youngest
player to complete the career grand slam at this week's PGA
Championship but the 24-year-old is focused on doing the little
things right and hoping the rest takes care of itself.
The final major of the year arrives just three weeks after the
British Open, leaving players barely enough time to catch their
breath before teeing up in a championship that once billed itself as
"Glory’s Last Shot".
After Spieth's epic victory at Royal Birkdale, the Texan will now
try to complete the major set by winning the giant Wanamaker Trophy
at Quail Hollow.
With a solid tie for 13th at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron
on Sunday, Spieth showed that while he is not quite firing on all
cylinders he has not lost his form.
He went fishing in the mountains of Montana for a week after
capturing the Claret Jug, and while he was mostly pleased with the
way he played on his return he acknowledging there was more to do,
particularly dialing in his putting and making sure his alignment
was inch perfect.
“Today I struck the ball beautifully,” he said late on Sunday. “I
drove the ball a lot better than I had been, which is really what I
was looking for as we head into Quail Hollow, which is such a tough
driving golf course.
“I came back from a week off and struggled a little bit with my
alignment but each day felt a little bit more comfortable and now
we’ve got a few more days of preparation for the PGA.”
Spieth said his putting has not been up to his usual lofty standards
recently, apart from that late purple patch at the British Open
where he was five-under from the 14th to 17th.
Co-favourite Rory McIlroy will arrive with a spring in his step at
Quail Hollow, where he has won twice on the PGA Tour, including his
maiden victory back in 2010 when he shot a 10-under 62 in the final
He is one of only a few players who have seen the course since the
redesign by architect Tom Fazio, who oversaw the construction of
three completely new holes, as well as other minor changes.
“The first five holes are a little more difficult than they used to
be but the rest of the course is pretty much the same,” McIlroy said
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Jordan Spieth on the driving range during the final round of the WGC
- Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club
- South Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
“Hopefully it’s not too much different because I
certainly liked it the way it was.”
McIlroy will tee it up at a major for the first time since splitting
with long-time caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, with best friend Harry
Diamond now on the bag.
The Northern Irishman, who admitted he and Fitzgerald had been
getting on each other's nerves before the switch, sounds as though
he is still in the honeymoon period with Diamond.
"I’m a little more relaxed out there. We’re working well out there
today and I’m excited to be with him again next week."
Japan's Hideki Matsuyama is another who will be full of confidence
at Quail Hollow after he blew away the field with a final round 61
to win the Bridgestone.
After a tie for second at the U.S. Open, and top-15 finishes at the
two other majors, Matsuyama is enjoying the kind of form that could
see him become the first Japanese man to win a major.
Defending champion Jimmy Walker is winless this season and has
struggled since being diagnosed with Lyme disease in April. He has
been unable to make an impact at the big events, finishing tied for
54th at the British Open, tied for 56th at The Players and missing
the cut at the U.S. Open.
After two strong rounds at the Bridgestone, Walker slipped down the
leaderboard to finish tied for 28th.
(Editing by Andrew Both)
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