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PGA: Jordan Spieth could complete grand slam with PGA Championship win

Wednesday, 18 May 2022. 09:00

You can follow the four rounds of the PGA Championship starting Thursday on RDS et RDS Direct in our multiplex environment.

There are those players who have an almost unmatchable aura that will follow them for their entire career. Think of Tiger Woods who has been stirring up passions since 1997 and who is now the idol of several generations. We can even think of his son Charlie, who has a swagger which will make more than one jealous, even at only 13 years old!

For the youngest, there will always be these same two golfers who will leave amateurs on the edge of their chairs all the time: Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. While McIlroy’s failed attempts to complete his grand slam are well known, the same cannot be said of Spieth’s.

And yet.

The American will try this week to capture the PGA Championship, the only major missing from his list. If all goes his way, Spieth could become the sixth golfer in PGA history to achieve the feat, and the group he could join is particularly strong: Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player and Tiger Woods. And at 28, only Woods and Nicklaus would have completed the grand slam faster.

For those who followed Spieth’s first steps on the circuit in 2014-2015, it’s hardly a surprise. In fact, it’s almost a surprise to find that he still misses one of the four major tournaments on his list. Let’s go back.

Spieth begins a dream year in 2014-2015 with several good performances – including a victory at the Challenge Hero World, an unofficial PGA event. Then, he triumphed for the first time of his season at the Valspar Championship in March 2015, a second career victory. A few weeks later, Spieth wrote the first chapter of his legend. He won the green jacket at just 21 years and eight months at the Masters Tournament, becoming the second youngest golfer to win at Augusta. The only player ahead of him? Tiger Woods.

In the summer of 2015, Spieth followed that up with a second major tournament victory at the US Open, before adding the John Deer Classic to his meteoric season. Spieth would conclude his extraordinary year by winning the Tour Championship, a fifth victory that would earn him the PGA Most Valuable Player Award.

At this moment, the world of golf is in ecstasy. Spieth’s successes are eerily reminiscent of the beginnings of a certain Tiger Woods and we thought we had found golf’s next superstar, even if they were very big shoes to wear.

The good performances of the American transpose the following season, with two victories. Spieth then reached ten in the 2016-2017 season, when he won three times, including the British Open. He only needed one victory at the PGA Championship to complete a grand slam and the best part was that he was still only 23 years old.

Then, the void. Spieth loses all his bearings and experiences a hollow streak of almost four years. The man in whom the world of golf based so many hopes had lost all his means. Despite a colossal work on his momentum, nothing helped. Spieth’s mental strength completely abandons him, he is no longer a shadow of himself on his long game. A few years later, we learn that he is inconvenienced by an injury to his left hand and that he declined surgery to repair the bone fragments present in his hand.

Spieth’s unexpected rebirth comes in the spring of 2021. He demonstrates flawless consistency, worthy of his golden years, and Spieth signs the 12e victory of his career thanks to a cumulative -18 at the Valero Texas Open.

All this brings us to the 2022 season. After difficulties this winter and a difficult cut to digest at the Masters Tournament, Spieth recovered quickly. In mid-April, Spieth scored an impressive overtime win over Patrick Cantlay at the RBC Legacy Classic, and that win says a lot about what we could see at the PGA Championship. He excelled with his long game, but ran into all sorts of trouble on the greens…in what is usually his weapon of choice.

“I won this tournament without being good on the greens. It’s one of my worst tournaments at this level when I’m in the race to win. »

Now imagine this same Jordan Spieth, but in full possession of his means. Superb control of his long game. Accurate approach shots. Rolls worthy of its finest years. If everything is in place and Spieth is in good mental shape, he could well have a date with history next Sunday. He also set the stage for his presence at the PGA Championship last weekend, taking second place from Byron Nelson, one stroke from victory.

History says that a victory for Spieth is far from unlikely. During his brilliant season in 2015, he took second place, three strokes behind Jason Day and victory. Then, in 2019, he returned to the top of his game for a few tournaments. He took the opportunity to shine with a third position in the PGA Championship, dominated by Brooks Koepka.

A favorable environment

The 2022 edition of the PGA Championship will be held at Southern Hills Country Club, Oklahoma, and all the conditions seem favorable for a good performance from the American.

A native of Frisco, a few hours from Tulsa where the tournament will be held this year, Spieth will be able to face a field that is oddly similar to the Texas fields to which he was accustomed growing up. Fast greens, steady wind.

History may await Jordan Spieth in a few days. All he has to do is seize the opportunity.

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