Spieth relaxed over second attempt at career Grand Slam

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Jordan Spieth has not won since victory in the 2017 Open Championship
US PGA Championship 2018
Dates: 9-12 August Venue: Bellerive Country Club Coverage: Commentary on 5 live sports extra from 22:00 BST Thursday-Saturday; 5 live 20:30 Sunday; live text updates on BBC Sport website

Jordan Spieth says he is going “under the radar” for his second attempt at a career Grand Slam at the US PGA Championship this week.

The American, 25, is bidding to become only the sixth golfer to win all four majors at this year’s event at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis.

He would have beaten Tiger Woods as the youngest player to achieve the feat if he had won last year but finished 28th.

“I was probably a little more anxious last year,” said Spieth.

The three-time major winner went into last year’s US PGA following victory at The Open at Royal Birkdale, which remains his last professional win.

“Going in there was a big focus on it, given it was right after winning the Open Championship, so it was fresh, I was in form and going to a place that – if I worked up the leaderboard – it would create a lot of noise,” he said.

“I feel somewhat under the radar this year. I’ve kind of felt that way a lot this year – I don’t mind it.”

Former world number one Spieth, who finished tied for ninth in defence of his Open title last month, added the US PGA will “always be circled” until he wins it, and that completing the career Grand Slam is a “life-long goal”.

Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods are the five players to have won all four majors, with Woods the youngest at 24 years, seven months and 25 days.

Woods has ‘homework’ to do on course

Tiger Woods is bidding for his 15th major title in Missouri this week – and his first since 2008

Fourteen-time major winner Woods, 42, said he has “some homework” to do on the course, having taken Monday off and only been able to play five holes on Tuesday before thunderstorms disrupted the second day of practice.

He said he “had not set foot” on the Bellerive course since the WGC-American Express Championship in 2001, which was cancelled because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, while he also missed the 2008 BMW Championships at the same venue through injury.

“I didn’t really get a chance to see a whole lot, so I’ll have to do some more homework and get a good feel for what’s going on for the rest of the week,” he said.

“I needed that day off – I spent a few times in the ice bath just trying to get some inflammation down.”

At last month’s Open, Woods took the outright lead of a major for the first time since his peak years, during which he won four US PGA titles, before his career was derailed when a series of personal scandals were followed by a serious back injury.

“To go from missing the cut at the US Open to contending and leading The Open on the back nine felt good and very familiar, but I made two mistakes that cost me the chance of winning,” he said.

McIlroy looking for ‘little step’ towards winning

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is seeking his third US PGA title, having won the last of his four major titles at the 2014 edition at Valhalla.

The 29-year-old finished tied for fifth at the Masters in April and tied for second behind champion Francesco Molinari at The Open at Carnoustie last month.

“I’ve kept giving myself chances this year,” said McIlroy.

“I haven’t closed out those tournaments as I would have liked, but at least I’m putting myself in position, and that’s all I can do.”

The former world number one added he has “done well” in moving back up the rankings from 11th at the start of the year to fifth as it stands but “the only thing” he has not done is “win enough”.

“I’ve played in a lot of final groups and I haven’t played well enough when it’s counted, so I’m just trying to figure out what I need to do to make that little step from contending and getting into final groups to lifting trophies.”



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