KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Jordan Spieth’s history on Pete Dye golf courses suggests his chances of winning the Wanamaker Trophy this week to complete the career Grand Slam are slim at best.
As he said, he hasn’t performed particularly well on tracks designed by Dye, whose signature traits abound on The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, home to the 103rd PGA Championship.
Of Spieth’s 15 career victories worldwide – 12 on the PGA Tour, which include the 2015 Masters, 2015 U.S. Open and 2017 Open Championship – just one came on a course Dye had a hand in. Spieth won the 2017 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut, which was designed by Robert Ross and Maurice Kearney in 1928 and then worked on by Dye in 1982 and Bobby Weed in 1989.
Spieth’s Dye record is most dire at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in northeast Florida, where, after tying for fourth in his first Players Championship in 2014, he’s missed four cuts and finished in ties for 40something twice in six starts.
Despite all this, Spieth likes Dye courses, so at least that bodes well.
“I do. I really like Pete Dye golf courses. I don’t think I’ve fared extremely well on them because they have to be played with such patience,” Spieth said Tuesday.
But here’s the catch. The former world No. 1 is all about patience when he gets to majors, knowing full well the game’s four biggest tournaments are grinding marathons instead of high-octane sprints. So Dye or not, he’ll be patient this week.
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“I just find a better way of being patient,” Spieth said. “On Pete Dye golf courses you’ve just got to wait for your distances. You think something is a good look, but then if you miss it by a couple yards on the wrong side you’re really in trouble.
“He does a good job of kind of making you kind of think you’re in the ‘A’ spot and then all of a sudden you just barely miss it and you end up in a tough location and make par or worse. This week I think it’ll be more about hitting middle of greens and then taking advantage of par 5s.”
Also in Spieth’s favor this week is, well, everything else. He’s healthy again after a bout with COVID-19 about a month ago. And after a surprisingly long winless stretch that tested his patience and resolve – he went 82 starts without a victory – his resume is getting updated with entries on the good side of par. In his last nine starts, he has seven top 10s, including victory in the Valero Texas Open, his first triumph since the 2017 Open.
After falling to 92nd in the official world rankings, his worst rank since 2012, he’s up to 26th with a bullet.
“I’m kind of at this point measuring myself off feels and freedom, playing golf from a position of where I feel comfortable stepping over this shot,” Spieth said. “I’m embracing this long iron into a green under pressure versus, oh, shoot, where is this thing going to go.
“So it’s just more like playing with freedom for me regardless of results because I know if I’m playing with freedom that I have the confidence level and the skill set to be able to compete in the biggest tournaments.
“That’s where I can draw back on previous times.”
Spieth has often talked about the grind of working his way out of his winless stretch. Despite his return to form, the grind continues.
“I’m still quite a bit a ways away from where I want to be in my golf swing and in the performance and in the feels, but it’s getting closer,” he said. “And the closer it gets, the more I’m able to trust those shots and the more it not only gets rid of the scar tissue but can actually kind of prove advantageous under pressure.”
As for pressure, Spieth doesn’t feel any when it comes to grasping the Wanamaker and completing the career Grand Slam. He’s treating this major like any other.
“I think as we get into the weekend, if I’m able to work my way into contention, I think it’s something that’ll obviously be asked and come up, and it’s something that I certainly want,” he said. “But you go to a major, and for me at this point, I want to win the Masters as badly as I ever have this year. Didn’t happen. I want to win this one as badly as I ever have. Once you move on to the U.S. Open, the same.
“I feel like I’ll have a lot of chances at this tournament, and if I just focus on trying to take advantage of this golf course, play it the best I can and kind of stay in the same form tree to green I’ve been in, all I can ask for is a chance.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/18/pga-championship-jordan-spieth-career-grand-slam-kiawah-island-pete-dye/