Spieth gets another chance at career Grand Slam

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TULSA, Okla. — Jordan Spieth doesn’t know if this week will be his best chance to become only the sixth man in the Masters era to complete the career Grand Slam.

That opportunity might have occurred at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, when he finished 3 shots behind winner Jason Day, or at Bethpage Black in 2019, when he tied for third, 6 shots behind winner Brooks Koepka.

“I would say Saturday night of Bethpage, considering I only had one round to go and I had a chance there,” Spieth said. “You know, when it’s Wednesday it’s hard to say it’s the best chance because you’ve got to play three nice rounds to have a chance on Sunday.”

Given Spieth’s recent form, which includes a victory at the RBC Heritage in April and a runner-up at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week, he’s among the favorites to win the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club. A victory would put him in very elite company. Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods won each of the four majors in their careers.

“I don’t think I talk about it much with other people,” Spieth said. “But it’s certainly at this point, given having won the other three, it’s an elephant in the room for me. It’s a goal of mine.”

Spieth, 28, won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and then The Open at Royal Birkdale two years later. This will be Spieth’s sixth attempt at completing the career Grand Slam. At 28 years old, he would be the third youngest player to do it, behind only Woods (24) and Nicklaus (26).

“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,” Spieth said. “If you told me that before my career started I was going to win one tournament ever, I’d say the Masters because that was my favorite tournament growing up.

“But things change, and that has obviously significant meaning. Long term it would be really cool to say that you captured the four biggest golf tournaments in the world that are played in different parts of the world and different styles, too. So you feel like you kind of accomplished golf when you win a career Grand Slam, I guess.”

If trying to complete the career Grand Slam wasn’t enough pressure, Spieth will play with Woods and Rory McIlroy in a featured group in the first two rounds at Southern Hills.

The PGA Championship is the only major in which Spieth has never held a lead or co-lead after a single round. In comparison, he has led nine rounds at the Masters, five rounds at The Open, and three rounds at the U.S. Open, according to data from ESPN Stats & Information. He hasn’t gotten off to great starts, either. He was inside the top 20 through 18 holes just once in his PGA Championship career.

“[I’ve] come close a couple times,” Spieth said. “This hasn’t necessarily been my most successful major. But I feel good heading into this week, so try and settle into this pairing the first two days and try and have fun with it. If I can play well these next couple days, given the crowds that will be out there, and I think the weekend might actually feel a little like a breather in a way, so that’s how I’m looking at it.”

If Spieth doesn’t win this week, he hopes he’ll have many more opportunities to try and do it.

“The only real chance I had was Bethpage,” Spieth said. “But I remember that Saturday and Sunday, and I don’t remember it feeling any different than any other majors I’ve contended in. They all feel about the same after the first one. I think looking at it long-term thinking, man, if I’m healthy, I’d look to have 20 chances at it, and maybe one out of 20. Those are better odds than I think. I normally get better odds than that.”

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