July 8, 2015 / 9:50 PM / 2 years ago

Spieth says loyalty non-factor in John Deere participation

Jordan Spieth hoists the U.S. Open Championship Trophy after winning 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Jordan Spieth, playing this week at the John Deere Classic, says loyalty to the PGA Tour event had little to do with putting off his arrival for next week’s British Open to three days before the start of the event.

Some have questioned the plan by Spieth to arrive at St. Andrews so late in his quest to add the third leg of a Grand Slam following wins at the Masters and U.S. Open.

But the 21-year-old Texan maintains it is much ado about nothing and that he never contemplated deleting John Deere from his schedule, instead playing St. Andrews on a golf simulator to reacquaint himself with the Old Course.

Spieth played St. Andrews just once for real, as an amateur back in 2011.

“When I get over there, whether I play well or don’t play well has nothing to do with what I did the week before,” Spieth said ahead of Thursday’s first round at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

“I will certainly have enough energy. I will certainly have enough rest, and I will be as prepared as can be...by the time I tee it up at St. Andrews.

“I‘m not worried about any of that. I just want to get myself into contention here so I can find out what tendencies I‘m getting into after this (two-week) break.”

It is a fair question to ask whether three days is long enough to learn the nuances of St. Andrews, especially if the wind blows from a different direction during competition rounds than practice days.

Still, bookmakers do not seem to think Spieth’s Monday arrival will much hurt his chances. He has firmed to about 5/1 since the withdrawal due to injury of world number one Rory McIlroy.

Spieth disputed that loyalty was the primary reason to play the John Deere, which gave him an invitation as an amateur in 2012, the year before he posted his first tour victory there.

“I don’t think I‘m here strictly because I‘m honoring commitment,” he said.

“If I thought that I wasn’t going to play well next week because I played here, it would be a different story.

“The only downside here versus playing anywhere else is just the adjustment to the time zone, but I‘m going to have enough sleep by the time I tee it up Thursday. So it’s not really much of an issue to have three full days to get over a six-hour time change.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina

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