Spieth searching for positives
After a sensational 2015, Jordan Spieth was always going to be up against it in 2016. Nonetheless, he arrives at the PGA Championship in a positive frame of mind.
The Texan won back-to-back majors in the beginning of 2015, cueing a meteoric rise to the top of world golf. There were comparisons to Tiger Woods, his form on the greens was compared to Jack Nicklaus and golf thought they had their next golden boy.
Then Spieth stopped winning majors. In the five since his U.S. Open win, he has notched up two runners-up, a T4, T30 and a T37. Despite this classy record, most of the questions he has to answer are around why he can't find the same 'winning' form.
"I think it's been a solid year, and I think had last year not happened I'd be having a lot of positive questions," said the soon to be be 23-year old.
"Instead, most of the questions I get are comparing to last year and, therefore, negative because it's not to the same standard. So that's almost tough to then convince myself that you're having a good year…when the questions I get make me feel like it's not."
It has been a solid year for Spieth. Aside from two wins that took him to eight PGA Tour titles, he has racked up five top ten finishes.
Even 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell lept to the defence of Spieth.
"The kid is not having a bad year," said the Northern Irishman.
"But he's in a different stratosphere now. He's in the Tiger stratosphere, where every shot he hits is going to be questioned, every move he makes is going to be questioned. It's something he has to get used to."
In terms of his form this season and where he sees himself by its conclusion, Spieth got a touch philosophical.
"If that's a valley, then that's going to be a lot of fun when we get back up to a peak."
After his 23rd birthday on Wednesday, Spieth will tee off alongside two-time Masters winner and Spain's Sergio Garcia at Baltusrol for the 98th PGA Championships.
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