Jordan Spieth admitted he felt drained after surviving another potential major meltdown to become the youngest American to claim Open Championship glory on a dramatic final day at Royal Birkdale.
“Today took as much out of me as any day that I’ve ever played golf,” declared the 23-year-old after squandering a three-shot overnight lead to fall behind Matt Kuchar, pictured, before producing the best final five holes in the event’s history to win the Claret Jug by three shots.
The success saw Spieth join Jack Nicklaus, the previous youngest American to claim the prize, as the only player to win three different majors before the age of 24, having already won both the Masters and US Open in 2015.
Spieth will now head into next month’s US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow bidding to become just the sixth player to complete a career grand slam after Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player and Tiger Woods. “This is as much of a high as I’ve ever experienced in my golfing life,” admitted Spieth, gazing at the Claret Jug. “And I’m going to enjoy it more than I’ve enjoyed anything that I’ve accomplished in the past.
“I was so confident and, all of a sudden, the wheels have kind of come off everything. I was thinking to myself, ‘how do we get back on track to salvage this round and just give yourself a chance at the end’.”
Spieth admitted it had been a huge relief to eventually prevail, becoming the sixth American after Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson and Mark O’Meara to win in Southport, after he’d blown a five-shot lead in the 2016 Masters.
“I thought winning a few weeks after that in Fort Worth was huge, but I knew that another major would be the one thing that would get me completely over the hill,” he said. “I showed some resiliency and give a lot of credit to my guy on the bag [caddie Mike Greller] for that.”