Jordan Spieth assesses his hopes of winning the US Open and explains why his confidence levels are so much higher than they were for last year’s contest
Jordan Spieth has played down suggestions he is struggling with an injury ahead of the US Open at Torrey Pines.
The 27-year-old, who won the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay, did not feature in the Palmetto Championship last week, but he still managed to hurt his foot as he fine-tuned his game for the third major of the year.
“I jammed my foot last week,” Spieth said at his press conference on Tuesday. “I was carrying my clubs, and I jammed my foot, my heel, leaving the course. So it’s been hurting, but it’s nothing that I’m going to do more damage to or anything like that, so I’m fine.”
Spieth has returned to form this year and is now back up to 24th in the world rankings after a solid set of results, which included his first victory in almost four years at the Valero Texas Open in April, and he remains confident he will have no issues continuing that run this week.
“I played 18 yesterday, and I should be good,” he said. “I’m having a hard time pushing off on some of the drives, but I think yesterday was better than the day before, which was better than the day before. So I assume just continue treatment and rest, and it should be fine.”
There has been plenty of talk about players’ attitudes to each other on the PGA Tour in recent weeks and whether or not the feud between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau is good for the game.
Spieth says it will be interesting to watch when the pair are paired to play together next time, and he has his own experience of a similar situation involving Patrick Reed.
Reed and Spieth hit the headlines in the fallout from Team USA’s heavy Ryder Cup defeat at Le Golf National in 2018, where they were not paired together despite enjoying huge success as a pairing in the previous two contests.
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Spieth played four matches alongside close friend Justin Thomas, winning three of them, while Reed played only two fourballs sessions with Tiger Woods and was beaten in both by European duo Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood.
The pair then settled their differences with an embrace on the first tee at Torrey Pines when they were paired together for the first round of the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open.
Spieth said: “It stemmed from the Ryder Cup and wanting to play with Justin in some matches. It was more blown up than it was between he and I. He and I never really had any person-to-person issues.
“I remember walking on, I was paired with him, of course, and just sarcastically gave him a hug. We’ve always played really well when we’ve been paired with each other whether it’s at a team event or we have good scoring averages individually with each other as well in regular events.
Spieth and Patrick Reed appear to settle their Ryder Cup differences with a popular hug on the first tee at Torrey Pines
“I embrace playing with him. He’s a fun person to play in tournaments with. We’ve got somewhat similar games, and it’s actually awesome watching his short game all the time. So I think that one is a very different situation.”
When asked about the players’ take on the Bryson/Brooks situation, Spieth replied: “We’ve certainly talked about it like other people. So it’s chatter. I don’t really know how it all started. I don’t know where they’re at now. I don’t know the severity.
“They didn’t pair them this week and stuff like that, but I’m sure it will happen soon enough. Seems like people would be interested to watch that.”
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On the prospect of the pair having a hug of their own when they do play together, Spieth added: “At this point, probably not, but who knows what will happen over the next weeks until they play again.”
Thomas will play alongside Koepka and Collin Morikawa in the first two rounds this week and the world No 2 is trying to keep himself mentally fresh ahead of the tournament.
The 28-year-old has not had a top-10 finish since winning The Players Championship in March and is conscious of not peaking too soon before he tees off on Thursday, with Tiger Woods saying of US Open preparation, ‘how do you prepare to get punched in the face? You just don’t’.
“I think a lot of it is in these preparation days. I try to make them as easy on myself as possible,” Thomas told the media on Tuesday.
“There’s clearly things that I want to work on in my game. I want to make sure everything’s perfect, but something I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what kind of state my game is in; if I’m not mentally there or mentally fresh and ready, it really doesn’t matter.
“Like a day like yesterday, I came out and played 18 holes, and I played well; everything felt good, my swing was good, and putting and chipping felt good, so I just left when I got done.
“Whereas if I need to do a little bit of work, I may just try to turn a 45-minute session into 25 or 30, and same with a range session or putting session, and just minimising the hours spent out here and maximising the hours spent at home resting and getting my mind where it needs to be, to when I tee it up on Thursday, it’s something that I just have tried to implement over the years.”
Watch the 121st US Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 3.30pm on Sky Sports Golf and 6.45pm on Sky Sports Main Event.
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