Two years ago, Spieth won the Deere to earn the 11th-hour invite, flew on the charter across the Atlantic and played his first practice round at Muirfield wearing unwashed pants because he had only packed for one week.
Spieth was just four shots back heading into the weekend that year, his first sniff at a major, but rounds of 76-75 led to a T-44 finish in what he says was “one of my favorite tournaments I’ve ever played.”
“But I remember almost thinking like that was too big for me at the time,” he said. “I felt like I wanted to compete. I loved the pressure and I felt like I could do it, but it was a position I’d never been in and it was an odd feeling being in contention in a major on a weekend.”
Spieth found himself in an even better position eight months later, sharing the 54-hole lead at the 2014 Masters. The next year, he won in wire-to-wire, record-breaking fashion at Augusta, then hung on for major No. 2 during a frenetic final hour at Chambers Bay.
His feeling now?
“That’s where I expect myself to be versus feeling odd in that position,” he said.
Spieth took a lot of confidence from his win at the Masters because he slept on the lead every night and had the best putting week of his life. His self-belief grew even more at the U.S. Open, where he didn’t have his best stuff but was buoyed by the knowledge that he had closed out a major while his closest pursuers had not.
“That tournament right there established, hey, we can do this going forward in each one if we get the chance,” he said. “We’ve done it before, so why can’t we do it again?”