DEFENDING CHAMP: Jordan Spieth of the US hits a tee shot during a practice round for the 116th US Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.
DEFENDING CHAMP: Jordan Spieth of the US hits a tee shot during a practice round for the 116th US Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania. ERIK S. LESSER

Spieth says he’s over Masters meltdown

GOLF: World No.2 Jordan Spieth says he is primed for the defence of his US Open crown, despite his Masters meltdown in April when also reigning champion.

The American blew a five-shot lead with nine holes remaining at Augusta. But he says a victory at the Colonial tournament last month has his confidence up.

The US Open begins in Oakmont on Thursday night (Australian time).

“If you’re coming off kind of a heartbreaking loss, getting back into contention can be fearful, and you’ve just got to push through the fear. When I say the fear, the potential for bad memories to pop up, right?” Spieth explained. “And I feel like we got through that.

“So, honestly, I think it (the Masters meltdown) is out of our heads now just from that one experience at Colonial.”

Spieth, who has won two of the last five majors played, said he had felt the pressure at the Colonial following his Masters disappointment, which made his birdie-birdie-birdie finish there to win by three strokes all the more meritorious.

“It was definitely difficult at Colonial,” he said. “I really felt it there and that was a huge week, especially to win before any of the next majors ... to actually win a tournament – not just contend, but to actually close one out.

“So now I can draw back on those last few holes, the pressure that I felt and the speed control and kind of the control of the ball to the most minute detail.”

Another former Masters champion, South African Charl Schwartzel, meanwhile, has joined the chorus of those saying just how tough the greens at Oakmont are.

The world No.22 played a practice round at the par-70 course with fellow countrymen Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace yesterday.

“These greens are more difficult than at the Masters,” he told Reuters.

“Augusta has big slopes but they are gradual, almost constant in a way. Here you’ve got big slopes that have four breaks. The ball comes off a break and it will turn the other way and it will go back the other way and then down a hill.

“There are so many more variables here, so many slopes. To get speed right here is going to be so hard, and it’s going to be key this week.”



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