Two years ago, Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic, which turned out to be a life-changing victory, but it also earned him a spot in the following week’s Open Championship at Muirfield. He remembers getting into contention briefly during the third round, but he almost talked himself out of it, thinking he wasn’t ready to be in that “odd” position and perhaps it was “too big” for him at the time.
Fast forward to the present day, where Spieth has clearly proven that he’s a quick study and more than comfortable contending at majors, not to mention winning them. Spieth, who won the John Deere Classic (again) Sunday, is looking to capture his third consecutive major after securing titles at the Masters and the U.S. Open this season. If he does accomplish this feat, it would, of course, get him three-quarters of the way to attaining the greatest achievement in golf, the Grand Slam.
“It would be amazing,” said Spieth on the possibility of hoisting the Claret Jug come Sunday. “It would be something I’d never forget. I’ve watched The Open Championships here at St. Andrews, and I don’t think there’s anything more special in golf than playing an Open Championship at the Home of Golf. I have fond memories from playing here a few years back, vivid memories, one of those courses you play where you don’t really forget much.
“There’s only a couple of those maybe in the world. I think here and at Augusta National are my two favourite places in the world, and I’ve really enjoyed our time getting back here, even in a shortened week. I still got a lot of holes in, and our preparation is almost complete, and I feel really good about last week heading into here, and over the past couple months heading into here. All in all, I’m extremely excited. It would mean the world to me to try and win this championship and to do it here would be even more special.”
Now, much of the chatter surrounding Spieth leading into the Open at St Andrews was his decision to remain loyal and play in the John Deere Classic the week prior, instead of arriving early to prepare for the third leg of the Grand Slam (or even playing the Scottish Open, which is contested on a links course). Though Spieth won at TPC Deere Run, questions remain as to whether he’ll be prepared to tackle the Old Course when Thursday rolls around. After all, of all the tracks in the Open rota, St Andrews is arguably the most difficult study and the place where experience and course knowledge are even more valuable to having a good week.
Spieth has perhaps quieted critics with his win, but skeptics still remain unconvinced that his loyalty to the John Deere was the right move, given his chance to chase history this season. Any other year, sure, play in t
other than going to a place I was familiar with, I could get in contention and get the right feels. I don’t think anybody is going to argue with a win, and that was what we set out to do last week, to feel the pressure, see what the — the whole point was to try and feel pressure over the weekend and try and perform my best, see what tendencies I got into that we could adjust for major championship pressure, and that’s exactly what we did. That was the game plan. I’m happy that it worked out. We came out with a win, which is even better, and no, I don’t necessarily think there’s any more advantages to arriving late. I think coming over earlier certainly could have helped. I just liked the fact that I could go somewhere where I could play hard and possibly win a PGA Tour event in preparation. But certainly more time on this golf course couldn’t ever hurt anybody.