Spieth: 2016 Olympics will equate to 'fifth major'


Faced with a crowded golf calendar next year, Jordan Spieth is not shying away from placing an emphasis on the Olympics.

Next summer will mark golf's return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, and Spieth is an almost-certain qualifier for the 60-man field. With the PGA Championship moving to July, the Olympics will come in the midst of a hectic, 15-week stretch that will include three majors, four FedEx Cup Playoff events and the Ryder Cup.

Speaking Tuesday at the Australian Open where he is set to defend his title, Spieth made it clear that he views the event in Rio de Janeiro as a priority.

"Winning a gold medal has got to be up there now in my mind with winning a major championship," Spieth said. "I think this year we're going to approach it as a fifth major, and we're going to prepare like it is and I'm going to go down there and try and take care of business."

After a season that included two majors and the FedEx Cup title, Spieth is now assured of ending 2015 as the world's top-ranked player. He said that he looks forward to the opening ceremonies in Brazil and staying in the athletes' village, but does wish that the format differed from the 72-hole, individual stroke play that will decide the gold medal next summer.

"It's not a team event in golf, I think unfortunately," he said. "But it's going to be very difficult. You've got some great Aussies that will be down there, you've got Englishmen, you've got your own countrymen that you're trying to beat."