Spieth sparks debate on best British Open build-up

Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:47pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth's decision to compete in this week's PGA Tour event in the United States has cast a spotlight on the best way to prepare for the British Open -- whether or not to play links golf in advance.

Many of the biggest names in the game opted to tee it up at the Scottish Open in Gullane while tuning up for the third major of the year but Spieth preferred instead to get his competitive juices flowing at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

Making his choice of venue even more topical is the fact that Spieth has won the first two majors of the season and will be targeting the third leg of a unique calendar grand slam when he sets off in Thursday's opening round at St. Andrews.

There are no 'rights' and 'wrongs' when it comes to how a player should hone his game for a major, some preferring to be competitive the week before while others are more comfortable practicing ahead of time at the championship venue.

Yet links golf is a very different animal with unpredictable bounces off both fairway and green commonplace and the nuances of a course like St. Andrews are an acquired taste, especially when the wind blows from different directions.

While many have criticized Spieth's decision to play at the John Deere Classic, where he won his first PGA Tour title at the tender age of 19, the American world number two is entirely happy with his build-up to next week's British Open.

"If I thought that I wasn't going to play well next week because I played here, it would be a different story," Spieth, 21, told reporters.

"This is a good preparation for me to get good feels, to get in contention, and to find out what's on and what's off when I'm in contention.   Continued...

Jun 15, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth tees off on the 13th hole during practice rounds on Monday at Chambers Bay. Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports