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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 153
JORDAN Spieth is the star billing at this week’s John Deere Classic in rural Illinois. The normally non- descript PGA Tour event is the last stop before the Open Championship and is the tournament that catapulted Spieth into golf’s stratosphere in 2013 when he won as a 19-year-old, the circuit’s first teenage champion since 1931. Fast-forward two years and the story takes on fairytale proportions. When Spieth holed that freakish bunker shot at the 72nd hole of the 2013 John Deere and won a three-way playoff, hands up who expected he’d be halfway to a Grand Slam and ranked second in the world just 23 months later? Plenty has been written since the Masters about Spieth’s attributes, particularly his golden putting touch, level-headed composure, untroubled upbringing and flawless persona. Until the past week, though, far less had been written about his unfamiliar trait of playing more tournaments than his high- ranked brethren. The John Deere will be Spieth’s 17th start of the year. Rory McIlroy, by contrast, has teed it up just 12 times and Adam Scott a mere nine. Now, part of Spieth’s reasoning behind including the John Deere Classic on his schedule is as a way of repaying a tournament that gave him a start when he was still seeking sponsor invitations. The karmic side to his decision can’t be understated – he’ll surely be filled with good vibes flying across the Atlantic for Scotland – but one senses Spieth will keep repaying the good people at John Deere far into the future. The flipside of this argument says Spieth should be getting to the home of golf early to experience a course he’s played only once before and cram in as much study of the nuances of the Old Course as he can. And that means not pit-stopping in Illinois en route. Skip the John Deere for a year and they’ll forgive you, that thinking says. Get to Scotland as soon as you can. It’s a difficult juggling act. If Spieth wins a third straight major at The Open he looks like a genius (more than he does already) but lose and his decision to show up late will be questioned. The answer? Well, questioning Jordan Spieth’s actions makes about as much sense as challenging Usain Bolt to a sprint race, which tells you Jordan is spot on about this. Why? Because he thinks it’s the right move for him. Which is all we need to hear. The pre-major strategy of players varies like a St Andrews breeze. Many (like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and McIlroy) eschew playing the week before a major. Some (most notably Phil Mickelson) prefer to play to keep the competitive juices flowing. Others (like Adam Scott) have tried different approaches to find what suits best. Different outlooks but not one of them is wrong, which means Spieth made the right call. OTG the VIEW JORDAN’S PATH REMAINS TRUE SHOULD JORDAN SPIETH PLAY THIS WEEK OR FLY STRAIGHT TO ST ANDREWS? WHATEVER HIS DECISION, IT’LL BE THE RIGHT ONE. by Steve Keipert Golf Australia deputy editor Awarded #1 Overall Winner in the ‘2015 MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Driver Awards’ # 1 MOST WANTED DRIVER 2015 LEARN MORE
OTG Express 152
OTG Express 154 - The Open preview