ST. LOUIS, Missouri (Reuters) - The PGA Championship will be on Jordan Spieth’s to-do list until he wins the tournament, but the American is trying to look at the big picture and knows he will have many more chances to enter the pantheon of undisputed golfing greats.
Spieth needs to win the PGA Championship to complete the ‘Career Grand Slam’ of all four modern majors.
He was under the microscope at the event last year when, fresh off his British Open victory, he had his first chance to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen on that most elite of lists.
But he comes into this year’s PGA Championship with less attention at a long and soggy Bellerive course that is likely to favor the long hitters.
“I was probably a little more anxious last year,” a relaxed Spieth said on Tuesday, two days ahead of the opening round.
“There was a bit of focus on it (last year), after winning the Open Championship, so it was fresh, I was in form and (knew) if I worked up the leaderboard it would create a lot of noise.
“I feel somewhat under the radar this year. I’ve felt that way a lot this year.
“I don’t mind it. But at the same time this tournament will always be circled until I’m able to hopefully win it some day... to complete the career grand slam, which will ultimately achieve a life-long goal for me.”
Spieth has played well only once this summer — in the British Open at Carnoustie three weeks ago.
He shared the lead going into the final round before being undone by a prickly gorse bush he found with his ball at the sixth hole, leading to a double-bogey. He finished equal ninth.
At 25, Spieth already has three majors under his belt — a British Open, a U.S. Open and a Masters — and with a bit of luck and better execution could have won a few more.
He has three runner-up finishes to go with his three wins, and he knows that if he stays healthy he will get at least a dozen more chances to win the PGA Championship.
He cites 18-times major champion Jack Nicklaus as an example of how ‘some you win, some you lose’, but knows the main thing is to get into contention time and again and let the law of averages work in your favor.
“Look at Jack’s career, with 19 seconds and 18 majors. The point is, if you put yourself in positions enough it will go your way sometimes, and sometimes it won’t,” said the Texan.
“It’s easier to accept if that’s the way you look at it.”
Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Ken Ferris