If the appearance of a golfing simulator in Jordan Spieth’s home would only seem to endorse the trappings of a lavish lifestyle, it may also be the key to Open Championship happiness.
If, as has to be highly likely,Rory McIlroy’s withdrawal from next week’s major on account of injury is confirmed, the already intense focus on Spieth is bound to increase. The 21-year-old has, after all, won the Masters and US Open already in 2015. He is now the favourite to prevail at St Andrews, on account of McIlroy’s injury.
“I went into Chambers Bay as the most recent major champion and I go into this one as the most recent major champion. Why should it be any different?” asked Spieth when the subject of background noise ruining his Open tilt is raised.
Spieth’s familiarity with the Open venue, the Old Course at St Andrews, stems more from computers than reality.
“I have got a full swing simulator in my house,” Spieth explained. “I have played a few holes at St Andrews, made the fairways and greens firm. I was able to see some of the lines off the tees. Obviously it is not the same as being there but at least I get to see some of the holes so when I get there I’m not too surprised. I played it once but that was a long time ago.”
Spieth has admitted a McIlroy non-appearance at the Old Course would “dampen” the Open spectacle. The American youngster has also been candid about the potential impact of being so strongly in pre-event focus. “I’ve been trying to get off the radar,” Spieth told the Golf Channel. “I spent some time at home, let the US Open sink in then took off with some friends to the Bahamas for the first time.
“I have come back and worked hard with [Spieth’s coach] Cameron [McCormick] this last week, got my body right in the gym. All in all, it has been a perfect two weeks.”
Dwelling on success wasn’t at the forefront of Spieth’s mind. “A little bit but at the same time I realise we have a chance to do something that no one has done,” he said. “So there is no reason to sit back and think too much about it versus preparing for the next goal.”
Spieth’s build-up will involve an appearance at the John Deere Classic this weekend. The Illinois event is close to his heart; Spieth was afforded wildcard entry there as an amateur. The tournament also provided his maiden win as a professional. He will fly direct to Scotland after close of play on Sunday.
“The best preparation for me is just getting into contention the week before the Open,” he added. “That’s what we did before the Masters, second place in San Antonio and Houston with a chance to win. I finally capitalised with everything firing at Augusta. At the Memorial, I was in contention before the US Open so this is an important week where I want to get my game right, get everything firing on all cylinders and then adjust to the conditions at St Andrews.”
This article was written by Ewan Murray at Gullane, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 7th July 2015 18.02 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010