August 12, 2015 / 10:30 PM / 4 years ago

Spieth eyes making PGA cut, before tilt at history

KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth will command the spotlight at this week’s PGA Championship in a rare bid for a third major title this year but before that can happen, he must make the cut at the tournament for the first time.

Aug 12, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 9th hole during a practice round for the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits -The Straits Course. Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Spieth, who last month turned 22, failed to qualify for the final two rounds of the PGA Championship in 2013 and 2014.

Partly because of that, Spieth included making the cut at all four majors this year as one of the prime targets for his 2015 campaign.

“I still haven’t accomplished that goal set at the beginning of the year,” the American world number two smiled as he spoke to reporters at Whistling Straits on Wednesday on the eve of the 97th PGA Championship.

“And you wanted to contend and have a chance to win at least one of them (the majors). Certainly they have gone according to plan up to this point but that first part of that goal has yet to be accomplished.

“So I got some work to do these first two days and from there we’ll adjust and work our butts off to try and get a third major this year, which would be a pretty cool place in history to be a part of.”

Spieth, who claimed the Masters in April before landing the U.S. Open in June, will be seeking to join Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods as the only players in the modern era to have won three majors in a single year.

Hogan was the first to complete the hat-trick, in 1953, and Woods followed suit in 2000.

Spieth fell agonizingly short in his bid to claim the first three majors of the season when he tied for fourth in last month’s British Open at St. Andrews, one stroke short of joining a playoff.

“We wanted to work hard and give ourselves a chance,” said the Texan, who has won three times on the 2014-15 PGA Tour. “I felt like if we did that we could pull it off.

“And unlike the first two majors (where) I had a chance to win and I did, I didn’t pull it off. That was the hardest part to get over for me.

“So this week I’m looking to try and ... get myself into that position again and see if I can improve on it.”

Spieth also has a chance this week to dislodge Rory McIlroy and move to the top of the world rankings for the first time.

“That was just a career goal at one point in my career I would like to be,” Spieth said of becoming the game’s top player.

“But given everything that’s happened (this year), I believe now that I would like it obviously to be sooner rather than later and then to be able to hold on to it.”

Spieth and McIlroy will play alongside British Open champion Zach Johnson in an enticing grouping for the first two rounds at Whistling Straits.

Editing by Larry Fine

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