TROON, Scotland (Reuters) - Double major winner Jordan Spieth had a brief moment cradling the coveted Claret Jug 12 months ago and is longing to make his mantelpiece a permanent home for the trophy handed to the British Open champion.
A maiden victory in golf’s oldest major this week would also send the 22-year-old one step closer to achieving a career grand slam.
”This is a very special tournament,“ Spieth told a news conference on Tuesday. ”The Claret Jug is something I’ve held in my hands, I was with (fellow American) Zach Johnson the night he won it last year.
“I crave to have that trophy in my possession at some point and to reach a third leg of the grand slam this week would be a fantastic achievement and a lifelong goal.”
Spieth arrived at the Open 12 months ago riding a crest of a wave, having bagged his first major titles at the preceding U.S. Masters and U.S. Open.
However, anyone looking to gamble a wager on him with the bookmakers this week may choose to think again.
“At this present moment I’ll be brutally honest, it’s not the same feeling I had when I was getting ready for the British Open last year,” said the world number three.
”I believe in my ability that if I‘m in contention, that I can bring my best stuff and take home the trophy.
“I‘m a little hesitant from tee to green versus last year. I had just come off a win at the John Deere Classic and was striking the ball great,” said Spieth.
“I feel like I’ve got to do a little more work throughout my swing to get it compact and ready for this style of (links) golf.”
The last six Open winners at Troon have been American and two of them -- Justin Leonard and Todd Hamilton -- have strong Texan connections.
“There’s so much added pressure off that. I don’t know how I‘m going to hit a shot this week,” joked Spieth before adopting a more serious tone.
”I don’t think it impacts you but it’s very cool to walk through the halls of the clubhouse to see that. Just as it is at any of the these fantastic old timeless clubhouses over here.
“You see so much history as you walk through. I did a lot of that on Saturday and Sunday. It’s something I really enjoy doing around here because we don’t have that kind of history in the States.”
Editing by Rex Gowar