ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth may be just 21 years of age but there is no doubt he will go into this week’s British Open fully aware of the historic significance of competing at the Home of Golf.
The sport’s oldest major championship was first held at St Andrews in 1873 and the American is thrilled to be getting the chance of becoming the first player since 1953 to win the U.S. Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open in the same season.
“This is arguably the most famous place in all of our sport,” said Spieth at a question and answer session held on the outskirts of the iconic Scottish town on Tuesday.
”It’s an incredible place. Playing the back nine coming back into the town there, and the last few holes especially, you recognize the history of not only the Open championship but also the golf course.
“People have been playing there for centuries, playing there before the United States was even discovered. That puts it into perspective, it’s pretty amazing.”
Spieth led from wire to wire in the Masters at Augusta in April.
His victory in last month’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, however, was achieved in completely different style as he benefited from a meltdown by Dustin Johnson who took three putts on the final green.
“I didn’t really expect it there at the end, that was kind of a shocker,” said Spieth who is an athlete for Under Armour apparel (www.underarmour.com).
”It makes you appreciate it more because each week it’s hard just to get into contention and compete with these guys but that’s the joy and challenge of it.
“We are playing with the best players in the world, it’s so challenging to win that it makes you really appreciate it when you do.”
Spieth has won four times in total this year and knows he must change his week-to-week routine if he is to repeat Ben Hogan’s 1953 feat.
”You have to put a little more emphasis on flighting the ball here, hitting the ball different trajectories,“ he said. ”The ball rolls out a lot further than we normally see.
”You’ve got to watch your distance control so maybe you put a driving iron in play more than the hybrid club we would use in the States.
“Other than that you are just trying to play your game, get adjusted to the course, where the bunkers are, and avoid them.”
Editing by Alan Baldwin