CHARLOTTE — Jordan Spieth admits there will be pressure this week. It’s a major championship, after all, and these four tournaments always increase the stress on the world’s best golfers.
He doesn’t, however, think there will be any additional pressure in his first opportunity to become the youngest player to claim a career Grand Slam.
“There won’t be added expectations or pressure,” Spieth said in advance of the PGA Championship on Wednesday. “I just don’t feel it. It’s not a burning desire to have to be the youngest to do something, and that would be the only reason there would be added expectations.
“The more years you go on playing PGAs, and if I don’t win one in the next 10 years, then maybe there’s added pressure. Hopefully we don’t have to have this conversation in 10 years. But if we do, then it might be a bit different.”
Spieth, 24, who won last month’s Open, could join an exclusive list of players who have won all four majors. Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have accomplished this feat — and only Woods has added his name to this list in the past half-century.
Even so, the Texan says he doesn’t think he’ll feel any differently about playing his first one with a chance to become the sixth member of that group.
“This is a chance to complete the career Grand Slam; I’m here, so I’m going to go ahead and try,” Spieth said. “But I believe I’m going to have plenty of chances, and I’m young enough to believe in my abilities that it will happen at some point.
“Do I have to be the youngest? No, I don’t feel that kind of pressure. Would it be really cool? Absolutely. And I don’t come to a tournament unless I plan on giving it my all in preparation to have a chance and to ultimately close a tournament out.”
Spieth explained that winning The Open has relieved much of the pressure of seeking his first major title since 2015.
“It was only two weeks ago that I was able to get the third leg, and that’s so fresh in my mind. I’m so happy about that that I can’t add pressure to this week. I’m free-rolling. And it feels good. I’m about as kind of free and relaxed at a major than I think I’ve ever felt. Maybe since Chambers Bay [for the 2015 U.S. Open], arriving at Chambers Bay after the Masters.
“[It’s] almost like I’ve accomplished something so great this year that anything else that happens, I can accept. That takes that pressure, that expectation away.”
Spieth will begin his opening round on Thursday at 8:25 a.m. ET off the 10th tee alongside fellow 2017 major champions Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka.