(Reuters) - Masters champion and local favorite Jordan Spieth is preparing for a “crazy” time in front of massive crowds when he competes in this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Dallas native is the first Texan to win one of golf’s four coveted majors since Justin Leonard triumphed at the 1997 British Open and he will be a huge drawcard at Colonial, and also at next week’s Byron Nelson Championship in his hometown.
“To come back home with the green jacket and be introduced like that is really special. It’s where it really starts to hit me kind of what it means,” the world number two told reporters while preparing for Thursday’s opening round at Colonial.
“Next week will be nuts being in Dallas. This week’s going to be crazy as well. The more support that I can have, the easier it’ll be to feed off the crowd.”
Spieth, who landed his first major title with a stunning wire-to-wire victory by four shots at the Masters last month, is a big fan of the tree-lined, par-70 layout at Colonial.
“Colonial is a place that’s special to me,” said the 21-year-old American, who tied for seventh at the event in 2013 and shared 14th place last year. “I’ve played it a couple of years, had success here. I‘m very comfortable on the golf course.”
Spieth, who surprisingly missed the cut at the Players Championship earlier this month, has always made the ‘Texas Swing’ a priority.
”I obviously put expectations on myself this year for these events, as I do every year,“ he said. ”I focus as if they’re major championships, and that’s how I approach them.
“There’s nothing better than playing well in front of your hometown family and friends, so I‘m going to try and do a little bit better this year than I have in the past couple of years.”
Spieth, who will play alongside fellow Americans Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker for the first two rounds at Colonial Country club, headlines a strong field that includes nine of the world’s top 20.
Also competing are 12th-ranked Jimmy Walker, fellow Texas resident Patrick Reed (15th) and former world number one Adam Scott of Australia, who clinched last year’s Crowne Plaza Invitational in a playoff with Jason Dufner.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue