Almanac Golf – Spieth Chasing Three in a Row at the Open


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What price is Jordan Spieth? The Australians? Is Jason Day the value?


Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are the game’s two dominant players. Twelve months ago McIlroy began a run that netted his third and fourth major titles, winning the Open Championship and PGA Championship in consecutive months. McIlroy was three-quarters of the way to the career grand slam, with only the Masters missing from his CV.

In April this year, Jordan Spieth started his own run, winning the Masters and last month adding a second major, the US Open at Chambers Bay.

Between them, McIlroy and Spieth hold all four majors and this week’s Open Championship was to be the unofficial start of golf’s new long-term rivalry.

But McIlroy has withdrawn from the Open after rupturing ligaments in his left ankle. The rivalry is on hold, at least for now.

Without McIlroy, the focus is squarely on Spieth. And if the American wins the Open, he’ll be three-quarters of the way to becoming the first player to win all four majors in the same year.

Ben Hogan came closest when he won the first three majors in 1953. But Hogan couldn’t play in the PGA Championship because, extraordinarily, the two events overlapped one another. We’ll never know if he could have added a fourth.

Tiger Woods is the only player to win four in a row – the Tiger Slam – but they weren’t in the same year. He won the last three in 2000 and the first in 2001.

What are Spieth’s chances this week? And if it’s not Spieth, can an Australian win golf’s most important and historical championship?

I’d say Spieth is long odds for the calendar slam but a good chance as any at St Andrews.

Spieth doesn’t have McIlroy’s power but he’s better than most at getting the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes. He did it again on the weekend with a playoff win in America. Spieth has won six times and recorded fourteen top tens in his last twenty starts. Form and confidence won’t be a problem this week.

Spieth’s biggest challenge, apart from dealing with the pressure – which he seems to do so well – will be to adjust to Scottish conditions. He’ll have one hand on the Claret Jug if he can make a quick transition to links golf.

If it’s not Spieth, then one of the big hitters like Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson or Louis Oosthuizen is likely to be in the mix at the end of the week. And don’t rule out Phil Mickelson either.

Adam Scott is another with length off the tee and he’s probably Australia’s best prospect. Scott started the year slowly but an SOS call to caddie Steve Williams did wonders for his game at Chambers Bay. Scott made a late charge and closed with a 64 to finish fourth. From next year golfers won’t be able to anchor the putter so time is running out with that method for Scott.

While McIlroy’s absence will take some of the shine off the week that will be quickly forgotten if Spieth wins. ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ will be a title well deserved.


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Greg Ford has never won a major, let alone broken par over 18 holes. His interest in golf was forged during early April mornings watching Greg Norman's countless near misses at Augusta, confirming the truth that golf is an addictive but cruel game. Like many weekend golfers, Greg knows the perfect swing is somewhere there – it just needs the right tip at the right time. And if that doesn't work, there's always the belly putter. Or a new driver...


  1. Chris O'Connor says

    Great story Greg, I too suffered with you watching Greg Norman break our hearts, maybe Spieth will one day do the same to US golf fans. It’s a cruel game! Ask IBF!!!

  2. Spieth was simply remarkable last weekend. The chip in at 17 (?) was the measure of him as a competitor. To force a playoff and then win it.

    So mnay chances in this, on a track we all know and love.

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