sports 6 days ago

Spieth thinks more about finding form than career Slam

AFP

Bethpage (United States) (AFP) -

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, struggling through a difficult season, is more concerned with finding form off the tee than completing a career Grand Slam at this week's PGA Championship.

The 25-year-old American need only win the Wanamaker Trophy at Bethpage Black to achieve one win at every major after taking the 2015 Masters and US Open and 2017 British Open.

But Spieth hasn't won since Royal Birkdale nearly two years ago, frustrated by inconsistent driving, and hasn't managed a top-20 result this season. His year's best showing, 21st at the Masters, was his worst-ever finish at Augusta National.

"It has been an adjustment being in a bit of a slump," Spieth said.

"I'm doing a better job of being patient on the frustration side and letting my game come back in the time it needs to take."

Bethpage Black won't offer any help for Spieth's errant driver, with dense rough and wet conditions making the 7,459-yard course play even longer.

"It has just been my driving. My set up got a little bit lazy," Spieth admitted. "It's getting there. I'm working on one swing feel now instead of changing it up each round, which allows me to be more consistent."

Spieth could become only the sixth golfer to complete the career Slam, joining a select group that includes Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.

But he also expects to have more opportunities at becoming the first golfer to complete the set by winning the PGA.

"Would be a pretty unique fraternity to be in there. That would be a dream come true for me," Spieth said. "But I also recognize that if I continue to stay healthy and play well, I'll have 30 chances at it. One of them is bound to go my way, right?"

- The wins to master golf -

There are no guarantees. Just ask six-time US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson, who takes another run at the only Slam crown he lacks next month at Pebble Beach. Or Rory McIlroy, who needs only a Masters win but couldn't get it last month.

"The four majors provide four different tests of golf," he said. 

"Each one has its own identity and so you've mastered golf, is kind of an easy way to say it, if you're able to complete a career Grand Slam.

"It tells you your game travels anywhere and can win the biggest events on any type of course in any situation.

"The people who have won all four have clearly showed that they can win anywhere in the world in any condition, numerous times."

Spieth plays down such ultimate goals for a shot-to-shot approach.

"It's going to be very in the moment for me every PGA Championship," he said. "I'm more patient in majors with letting courses come to me.

"This course offers a really tough test. I'm going for as much consistency as possible. If I can continue to make the amount of birdies I've been making and just limit the mistakes a little bit, should be right in it."