Spieth chases career Grand Slam at PGA Championship

Win at Kiawah Island will see three-time major winner join Woods, Nicklaus, Hogan, Player, Sarazen in achieving feat

AFP May 16, 2021


Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, who snapped a four-year US PGA Tour win drought in April, tries to complete a career Grand Slam by winning next week's PGA Championship.

The 27-year-old American makes his fifth attempt to win each of golf's four major crowns at least once after capturing the 2015 Masters and US Open and the 2017 British Open.

It was only a few weeks after his triumph at England's Royal Birkdale when he first faced the tension of going for the career Slam.

"I think 2017, the first time, was really the only time where it may have weighed on me, only given it was coming right off of a major win," Spieth said of career Slam pressure.

"I felt like a favourite going in and it was the last major. And then the years after, I just didn't really feel in great form in PGAs. It's going to pick you apart if you're not driving the ball straight and far."

Spieth struggled with form for years before making a breakthrough by winning last month's Texas Open and sharing third at the Masters, raising his idea of what thrills future events like the PGA could hold.

"I've made a lot of good progress, but I feel like that road ahead is still significant for me," Spieth said.

"I'll have a good stretch coming up here in May and June, and I'm excited for what's to come."

Only five golfers have completed the career Grand Slam, but a victory by Spieth at Kiawah Island on May 20-23 would see him join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen.

"Every year I go into that tournament it's like it's the one that if I could pick one more to win I would pick that one," Spieth said. "It just kind of excites me a little bit more going into it."

Spieth had not won since taking his third major title in 2017 until the Dallas product won in his home state.

In his attempts to complete the Slam, Spieth has shared 28th at the 2017 PGA, 12th in 2018, third in 2019 and 71st last year.

Spieth has regained his touch this year, serving notice with a fourth-place finish at Phoenix -- highlighted by a third-round 61 -- and a third-place effort at Pebble Beach in February and a fourth at Bay Hill in March.

"It was getting to where it could just kind of start to click and really feel that momentum, and that will get me want to go out and nail it in as much as possible," Spieth said after last month's Masters.

"So I'm hoping I can continue to move that forward."

A week after winning in Texas, Spieth shared third at the Masters, showing more signs of progress with his best major showing since sharing his third at the 2019 PGA.

"I hit some good putts, burned a lot of lips, certainly struck the ball well enough to win and they just didn't go in," Spieth said at Augusta.

"I wish I had the control of my swing that I think is coming soon because it would have made things a little easier and I did strike the ball really well. I hit a lot of fairways."

If he finds that control at Kiawah Island, it might be one for the history books.


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