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Spieth among PGA favorites in quest for career Grand Slam

TULSA, Okla. – Not way back, it appeared a foregone conclusion that Jordan Spieth would sooner or later seize golfing’s profession Grand Slam.

Even extra not too long ago, it appeared as though he would possibly by no means contend once more.

After sizzling a Tiger-esque trail via his first 3 years as a professional, together with triumphs on the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and the British Open in ’17, issues all at once went sideways for Spieth. That crisp ball hanging that used to be as soon as the envy of such a lot of had deserted him, his motive force went slightly haywire and his brief sport had let him down.

The former No. 1 went just about 4 years and not using a win, plummeting to 92nd on the planet scores

Armed with a retooled swing hundreds of photographs within the making, even though, and brimming with self assurance after profitable at Hilton Head and completing moment at l ast week’s Byron Nelson, the preferred 28-year-old Texan arrived this week on the PGA Championship as soon as once more a few of the favorites to lift the Wannamaker Trophy on Sunday.

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And in the end, sign up for that almost all unique membership.

“Certainly at this point, having won the other three, it’s an elephant in the room for me,” Spieth stated ahead of heading out for Wednesday’s apply spherical. “If you just told me I was going to win one tournament the rest of my life, I’d say I want to win this one, given where things are at.”

History isn’t essentially on his facet.

Of the 5 avid gamers to have received the Grand Slam, none waited greater than 3 years for the general leg. Gene Sarazen in 1935, Ben Hogan in ‘53 and Tiger Woods in 2000 did it in their very first try; Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player weren’t a ways at the back of.

Some of the sport’s largest avid gamers by no means do it, both.

Arnold Palmer’s victory within the 1961 British Open left him, similar to Spieth, desiring most effective the PGA to complete it off, but he’d play the event 34 instances with out profitable. Phil Mickelson’s vexing second-place historical past on the U.S. Open is well-documented. The identical event may be lacking from three-time PGA champion Sam Snead’s resume. Byron Nelson and Raymond Floyd by no means received the British Open whilst Lee Trevino received each and every primary (two times) with the exception of the Masters.

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“Long-term,” Spieth stated, “it would be really cool to say that you captured the four biggest tournaments in the world, that are played in different parts of the world, and different styles, too. You feel like you kind of accomplished golf.”

It’s a feeling that Rory McIlory, who will play with Spieth and Tiger Woods for the first two rounds at Southern Hills, knows too well. The two-time PGA champion has taken eight swings at winning the Masters, the lone major missing from his own ledger, and has been in the top 5 four times, with a second-place finish earlier this year.

“I think the most consistent way to get yourself to be able to have chances to win these major championships is to sort of adopt a conservative strategy,” McIlroy stated. “Tiger did it most of his career, and OK, he had a couple of huge wins in there, but a lot of times being conservative with his strategy, letting other guys make the mistakes — pars are pretty good in major championships, and that’s sort of the philosophy that I believe in going forward.”

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Another word for conservative could be deliberate, and that’s a good way to describe Spieth these days.

When mired in mediocrity, he tore down his swing and began to rebuild it. Spieth implemented a curious pre-shot rehearsal — almost mechanical in nature — designed to get into the proper position at the right tempo. The deliberate routine isn’t just for the driving range or practice rounds, either. Spieth takes it right onto the course with him.

“I get to my ball quickly, I play faster than I used to, I’m not slowing anybody down, and I make better, more committed swings with it,” he explained. “At this point, that’s where I’m at, and that’s what I’ll keep doing. It’s just trying to — like I’ve mentioned before — going back to go forward, going back to my DNA on how I’ve swung the club growing up.”

Like he was swinging it in 2015, when Spieth won the year’s first two majors and people began to whisper of the Grand Slam. Or a couple of years later, when he added the Claret Jug to his trophy case, leaving only the PGA still missing.

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“You want to win any major,” said Justin Thomas, “and this one is just always going to be put on a little bit more of a pedestal than the other ones for him. I know he’s going to be fine. And I’m not just saying it because he’s one of my best friends. I mean, I’ve just seen him get it around when he’s not playing well. I’ve seen him play well when he is playing well. All of us go through little spurts. It’s just for him, this has just been a tough one. I mean, he’s going to be fine.”

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