Tulsa, Oklahoma. 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 his Grand Slam career.
That opportunity may have occurred at the 2015 PGA Championship in 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’d say Saturday night Bethbag, considering I only had one run to go and I had a chance there,” Speth said. “You know, when it’s Wednesday it’s hard to say it’s the best chance because you have to play three good rounds to get a chance on Sunday.”
Given Spieth’s recent form, which includes a win at the RBC Heritage in April and a runner-up at AT&T Byron Nelson last week, he is among the favorites to win the PGA 104 Championship at Southern Hills Country Club. Victory will put him in the company of the elite. Only Gene Sarzen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won each of the four majors in their careers.
“I don’t think I talk about it that much with others,” said Speth. “But that’s definitely at this point, with the other three winning, it’s an elephant in the room for me. It’s a target for me.”
Spieth, 28, won the Masters titles and the US Open in 2015 and then the Royal Birkdale Championships two years later. This will be Spieth’s sixth attempt to complete his Grand Slam career. At 28 years old, he will be the third youngest player to do so, behind only Woods (24) and Nicklaus (26).
“If you just told me I’m going to win one championship for the rest of my life, I’d say I want to win this one, given where things are,” said Speth. “If you told me that before my career started I would have ever won one tournament, I would say the Masters because that was my favorite tournament growing up.
“But things are changing, and obviously that has an important meaning. In the long run, it would be really nice to say that you’ve captured the four biggest golf tournaments in the world that are played in different parts of the world and different styles as well. So you feel kind of like a success. In golf when you win a career at a Grand Slam, I think.”
If trying to complete a career in a Grand Slam isn’t enough pressure, Spieth will play Woods and Rory McIlroy in an elite group for the first two rounds at Southern Hills.
The PGA Championship is the only major tournament in which Spieth has never advanced or been the co-leader after one round. By comparison, he’s led nine rounds at the Masters, five rounds at The Open, and three rounds at the US Open, according to ESPN Statistics and Information research. He didn’t get off to great starts either. He has been inside the first 20 through 18 holes only once in his career as a PGA Championship.
“[I’ve] He came close to him a few times, said Speth. “That wasn’t necessarily my most successful major. But I feel really good this week so try to settle on that pairing for the first couple of days and try and enjoy it. If I can play well in the next couple of days, given the fans that will be there, I think The weekend might actually feel like a break in a way, so that’s what I’m looking at.”
If Spieth doesn’t win this week, he hopes to have more chances to try to do so.
“The only real opportunity I had was Bethpage,” said Speth. “But I do remember Saturday and Sunday, and I don’t remember feeling any different than any other major I’ve been in. They all feel the same after the first. I think looking at it in the long run, man, if I’m healthy, I’ll have a 20 percent chance of it, And maybe one out of 20. Those are better odds than I think. I usually get better odds than that.”