Major win, not career Slam, is Spieth's focus at PGA
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Kiawah Island (United States) (AFP) –
Jordan Spieth is trying to treat this week's PGA Championship like any other major, even though a victory would elevate his status to join some of golf's iconic players.
The three-time major winner can complete a career Grand Slam with a victory at Kiawah Island, which would make him the first golfer to finish the sweep by capturing the PGA last.
Spieth would join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan as the only players to win all four major titles at least once in their careers.
But the 27-year-old American says a career Slam isn't on his mind, at least not yet.
"It's not," he said Tuesday. "I think as we get into the weekend, if I'm able to work my way into contention, I think it's something that'll obviously be asked and come up, and it's something that I certainly want.
"I want to win this one as badly as I ever have."
Spieth, who played his first practice round Tuesday, has tried to peak his game for this week as he would for any major.
"I feel like I'll have a lot of chances at this tournament," he said. "If I just focus on trying to take advantage of this golf course, play it the best I can and kind of stay in the same form tee to green I've been in, all I can ask for is a chance."
Spieth snapped a four-year win drought last month at the US PGA Texas Open and shared third the following week at the Masters.
He contended last week at the Byron Nelson event before sharing ninth, his ninth top-10 finish in his past 11 starts. The run began with a share of fourth at Phoenix and third at Pebble Beach in February.
"It was that two-week time frame that was really big for me," Spieth said. "I thought, 'It's not where I want it to be, but it doesn't need to be for me to at least tap in to how to contend out here.'
"It was kind of a progression of finding some feels that allowed me to stand comfortably over the ball and hit a shot under pressure, and then doing that for multiple days in a row and then having that happen a couple tournaments in a row."
It didn't help that Spieth contracted Covid-19 after the Masters, ending plans to play in Tampa as he sat home and rested in isolation.
"I got Covid and was out 21 days without practicing, and then came back slowly and then played last week," he said. "I feel better about where I am now than I was a month ago sitting on a couch."
- Spieth 'getting closer' -
Spieth compares his shots to when he was struggling than recalling glory days such as his 2015 Masters and US Open victories or his 2017 British Open triumph.
"I'm still quite a bit a ways away from where I want to be," Spieth said. But it's getting closer.
"And the closer it gets, the more I'm able to trust those shots and the more it not only gets rid of the scar tissue, but can actually kind of prove advantageous under pressure."
Spieth isn't looking to erase every memory of every bad shot, just bury them under memories of better ones.
"I don't think it's getting rid of it," Spieth said. "I step up confidently and appreciate where I've been and it just makes me even more excited to embrace those shots and pull them off.
"That's an even bigger confidence boost than if I just didn't have it at all.
"The ability to shun off a bad shot and come back the next hole and make a long putt or something, just the grind, is enjoyable when you're on the positive momentum side of it."
© 2021 AFP