US Open win sets Spieth up for Major feat
UNIVERSITY PLACE, WASHINGTON
TWO down and two to go - and Jordan Spieth believes that an unprecedented clean sweep of golf's four Majors in the same calendar year is possible.
The greats of the game - Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods - have all tried and failed to achieve that feat.
Woods has come closest to doing it by holding all four simultaneously, though not in the same calendar year. He won the US Open, British Open and PGA Championship in 2000 and the Masters in 2001, in what is known as the "Tiger Slam".
Spieth has now put himself in that Grand Slam position by winning the US Open in thrilling style at Chambers Bay on Sunday, two months after lifting his first Major at the Masters.
It is a mouth-watering prospect which will take him to St Andrews for the British Open next month and to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin for the PGA Championship in August.
It is a prospect that the 21-year-old has clearly considered, but he does not want to get too far ahead of himself.
"It's in the realm of possibility," he said after benefiting from a final-hole three-putt by fellow American Dustin Johnson to triumph by one shot on Sunday. Johnson (70) tied for second with Louis Oosthuizen (67).
"I'm just focused on the Claret Jug (British Open) now. The Grand Slam is something that I never could really fathom somebody doing, considering I watched Tiger win when he was winning whatever percentage of the Majors he played in and he won the Tiger Slam, but he never won the four in one year.
"And I figured if anybody was going to do it, it would be him, which he still can.
"I've proven to myself that I can win on a British-style golf course now. Now I take it to the truest British-style golf course of any in the world.
"And I'm just excited for the opportunity coming then, and I'm not going to think about what could possibly happen after."
Spieth's two wins mean that the four golfing Majors are now held by just two men - him and 26-year-old Rory McIlroy, who won the British Open and PGA Championship last year.
All the talk is of a rivalry between the two young guns that will light up golf for the foreseeable future, although Spieth says he does not yet consider himself to be in the same elevated bracket as the Northern Irishman.
"I don't think there is much of a rivalry. I've said that from the beginning. Rory has four Majors and dozens of wins, and I'm just starting out," said Spieth, who shot a one-under 69 to total five-under 275.
"I'm certainly quite a bit younger than he is. I'm just happy to have this and to be chasing that No. 1 spot that he holds. So I'm certainly focused on that."
Regardless of how he fares at St Andrews, Spieth's place in history is already assured.
He is the youngest player to win the US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923, and the youngest to win back-to-back Majors since Gene Sarazen in 1922 (US Open-PGA Championship).
The victory also saw him join Woods (2002), Nicklaus (1972), Palmer (1960), Hogan (1951) and Craig Wood (1941) as the only players to have won the Masters and US Open in the same year.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS