Spi­eth still soak­ing up mem­o­ries of Bri­tish Open

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY DOUG FERGUSON

Jor­dan Spi­eth is one week away from a shot at the ca­reer Grand Slam. He’s more in­ter­ested in look­ing be­hind him. Spi­eth re­turned to Dal­las with the claret jug, and it wasn’t more than a few hours be­fore he al­ready had watched high­lights — twice — of his Bri­tish Open vic­tory at Royal Birk­dale. The first time was when he couldn’t get to sleep. Then, cad­die Michael Greller woke up and they watched it to­gether.

It was no less amaz­ing, from the bo­gey he sal­vaged with a shot from the prac­tice range to the birdie-ea­gle-birdie-birdie streak that fol­lowed. And it gave Spi­eth a chance to set the record straight on Wed­nes­day.

He play­fully dis­puted the no­tion that he was 100 yards right of the fair­way on No. 13, as tele­vi­sion com­men­tary sug­gested.

Spi­eth aimed for the right rough on the 13th hole to take bunkers out of play. He said he knew the ball would move a lit­tle right be­cause of rain get­ting on the face of the driver, and he com­pounded that by leav­ing the club open.

Even so, he es­ti­mated he missed his tar­get by about 20 yards. And then it hit a spec­ta­tor in the head and went even more to the right, over some tall dunes and into a spot where he had to take a penalty drop onto the prac­tice range.

“It re­ally wasn’t that bad,” he said. “I mean, it wasn’t a good shot. It was a foul ball to the right. But I need to back my­self up here in say­ing that I’m ca­pa­ble of hit­ting worse shots than that, OK?”

It worked out fine in the end, although Spi­eth is start­ing to re­al­ize he might be hearing more about play­ing from the driv­ing range than any of his clutch shots that fol­lowed in his three-shot vic­tory for the third leg of the Grand Slam.

He said Royal Birk­dale al­ready has asked to have a replica of the 3-iron he hit from the range, “which means that’s go­ing to be the shot that’s pic­tured there and re­mem­bered there, un­for­tu­nately.”

Spi­eth’s spir­its have rarely been this high, even with the amount of at­ten­tion he will face next week at the PGA Cham­pi­onship, where a vic­tory would make him the youngest player to cap­ture the ca­reer Grand Slam.

First up is the Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional at Fire­stone, and a chance for him to win a third straight tour­na­ment. Spi­eth won the Trav­el­ers Cham­pi­onship by hol­ing a bunker shot in a play­off in his pre­vi­ous event be­fore the Bri­tish Open.

Fire­stone is a big golf course for a par 70, and it fig­ures to get even longer with rain in the fore­cast the open­ing two rounds, lead­ing tour of­fi­cials to move the tee times to the morn­ing for to­day and Friday.

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