By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/08/18 8:10pm
Jordan Spieth believes he is coming into this week’s PGA Championship “under the radar” as he prepares for his second attempt at completing a career Grand Slam of majors.
Spieth is without a victory since his memorable Open win at Royal Birkdale last year and has posted only five top-10 finishes in 2018, a run of results that has seen him slip from second to eighth in the world rankings.
The 25-year-old looked likely to mount a successful defence of the Claret Jug last month when he went into the final round at Carnoustie tied for the lead, but he failed a make a single birdie on Sunday as a 76 left him four shots adrift of Francesco Molinari.
Spieth admitted he was “anxious” when he arrived at the PGA Championship 12 months ago with much of the focus being on him becoming only the sixth player in history to win all four majors, but he feels better about his chances at Bellerive despite his erratic form this summer.
“I think I was probably a little more anxious last year,” said Spieth at his pre-tournament press conference. “I think, going in, there was a big focus on it, given it was right after winning The Open Championship, so it was fresh, I was in form, and going to a place that, if I worked up the leaderboard, it would create a lot of noise.
“But I feel somewhat under the radar this year. I’ve kind of felt that way a lot this year, I don’t mind it. But at the same time, this tournament will always be circled until I’m able to hopefully win it some day. It will always be circled to complete the career Grand Slam, which will ultimately achieve a lifelong goal for me.
“So there is certainly emphasis in my head on it, but nothing overpowering, nothing that takes over once I start on the first tee, just more going into the week.”
Spieth is keen to put his Carnoustie disappointment to the back of his mind and concentrate on getting himself into contention on Sunday, and he feels confident he will be able to convert more major chances if he continues his trend of being in the mix down the stretch.
“If you put yourself in the position enough times, you’re going to have some go your way and some that don’t go your way,” said Spieth, who was third at The Masters in April after a superb final-round charge came up just short.
“At Carnoustie on Sunday, I went over it and I misplayed a couple of iron shots off the tee boxes at five and 15, where it was straight downwind and I played too much curve and the ball’s just not going to curve straight down wind. If I lined up four yards, five yards one way versus the other, that saves me two shots there.
“And then I’ve had instances where, like Chambers Bay, where I didn’t think I won when I finished, and then I ended up winning the golf tournament. So it goes both ways.
“Look at Jack Nicklaus’ career. There’s a perfect example of it, with 19 seconds and 18 majors and probably 40 top-fives? I don’t know the exact numbers, but the point is you put yourself in position enough, it will go your way sometimes, and sometimes it won’t. And it’s easier to accept if that’s the way you look at it.”