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The Open 2015: Leaving it late is no big deal for Grand Slam-hunting Jordan Spieth

By Kevin Garside

Published 14/07/2015

Better late than never: Jordan Spieth smiles as he checks out St Andrews yesterday
Better late than never: Jordan Spieth smiles as he checks out St Andrews yesterday

He is Jordan Spieth and he can do what he likes. So said Sir Nick Faldo in a robust endorsement of the young Texan's approach to Grand Slam hunting.

The idea that Spieth might be jeopardising his chances of adding the Open Championship to his Masters and US Open pots by arriving late to a course he has played only once before - and never competitively - was dismissed with a flourish of the magnificent Spieth audit.

The man of the hour finally pitched up at the home of golf in mid-afternoon yesterday for his first hit of the week, barely 17 hours after hoisting his latest 'W' at the tournament that detained him, the John Deere Classic in Illinois.

His victory not only justified the decision to play, but must be seen, according to Faldo, as a boon not an impediment to his prospects this week.

"If he believes that's the way to do it, then that's the way to do it. That's the way Jordan Spieth wants to do it. And guess what? It's right," Faldo said.

"You can tell Jordan is happy with the way he's doing things because he has his own form right now and handles everything so well. I don't think he's too worried about it.

"It's amazing, when you're that young, you'd say, one good night's sleep to get over jet lag and he'll probably be fine tomorrow morning, and especially coming off a win and shooting scores like that (a 61).

"What he's doing is phenomenal. One of the things I spotted a year ago was how well he works with his caddie Mike. And he can hone, get the work, the golf ball as close to the hole as possible. They've got their own little formula and great belief in what they're doing. And he's confident.

"He's seeing the right shot, he's visualising the shot, they've got their game plan, go and do it. He keeps churning out good shots. When you're doing that, you just jump back on the saddle and ride again."

Europe's victorious Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles, Paul McGinley, offered the opposing view, questioning the professional wisdom of honouring a commitment made before history was in the making. The circumstances changed dramatically with Spieth's win at Chambers Bay bringing the possibility of an historic Grand Slam into sharp relief at St Andrews.

"He played 63 holes of practice around Chambers Bay the week before the US Open," McGinley said. "He was more prepared than anyone in the field. He had a caddie who used to caddie there and was married there. Are you telling me that wasn't the difference of one shot whether he won the US Open or not?

"I'm full of admiration for his sense of loyalty to sponsors who have been good to him in the past, but at the same time if you want to be really ruthless I believe you should, like tennis players, be practising on the same surface you play in the Major. He's not putting the odds in his favour, put it that way."

According to Faldo, conventional thinking like that has no application for Spieth, a golfer resetting the game's parameters almost by the week.

"I think he has the know-how to find a way to get the golf ball close to the hole. It's exactly the same thing as Chambers Bay," he said.

"You have to plot your yardage, where you're going to land, predict the bounce, the release, all sorts of things. They seem to be finding a way of doing that."

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