Jordan Spieth’s ‘high golfing IQ’ key at Open 2015, says Nick Faldo

Jordan Spieth & Jake Owen

Jordan Spieth’s preparation for this week’s 144th Open has raised a few eyebrows but Sir Nick Faldo has no doubt that the winner of this season’s two major championships knows what he is doing.

Spieth, the world No2, opted to stay in the United States to play – and win – the John Deere Classic rather than reacquaint himself with the vagaries of links. It is a decision that has been questioned in some quarters and Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, is one who believes Spieth should instead have been playing in conditions more suited to those he will encounter at the Open.

Faldo, however, defended the decision by Speith, who was out on the course on Monday evening. “Well, you can tell Jordan is happy with the way he’s doing things because he has his own form right now,” he said. “For a kid of 21 with his coach, they really do have a form of what they’re going to do. This is why he handles things so well.

“It’s amazing, when you’re that young, you’d say one good night’s sleep to get over jet lag and he’ll probably be fine tomorrow morning, and especially coming off a win and shooting scores like that.

“If he believes that’s the way to do it, then that’s the way to do it. That’s the way Jordan Spieth wants to do it. Guess what, it’s right.”

Spieth has already won four tournaments this season and, though he has played only one round at St Andrews and was one of the later arrivals on the Fife coast, Faldo reckons that the Texan has a gift for learning new layouts in a short space of time.

“Jordan has got this great ability – many people play practice rounds with him, one round, and the next day he’ll be talking about the golf course and they’ll have missed everything he’s talking about, all the little subtle slopes. So he’s obviously got a very high golfing IQ and he takes a lot on board.

“Obviously that’s how he works with his caddie, Mike. They’ve got their own little formula and great belief in what they’re doing. And he’s confident. And he keeps churning out good shots. When you’re doing that, you just jump back on the saddle and ride again. That’s what he’s doing.”

The only downside for Faldo is that the tournament is missing out on a showdown between Spieth and the injured world No1, Rory McIlroy, though he expects the in-form Rickie Fowler, who won the Scottish Open on Sunday, to contend.

“Obviously Rory had a serious opportunity,” Faldo said, “so he must be kicking himself – as long as he doesn’t injure it. Hey, boys will be boys. They want to go and play and he had a weird and wonderful accident. I hope he gets himself fully fit and strong. It’s unfortunate with an injury like that, he’s got to get himself 100% fit before he can start the comeback. I feel for Rory.”

Powered by article was written by Mark Tallentire at St Andrews, for The Guardian on Monday 13th July 2015 19.28 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010