By Mark Lamport-Stokes
OAKMONT, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Jordan Spieth has a spring in his step ahead of his title defense at this week’s U.S. Open, saying that he banished memories of his Masters meltdown by winning the Colonial tournament last month.
Spieth was also defending champion at the Masters in April when the prized Green Jacket appeared to be firmly in his grasp as he stormed five strokes clear with just nine holes to play at Augusta National.
Though he stunningly threw away the title as he bogeyed 10 and 11 before a shocking quadruple-bogey at the par-three 12th, he rebounded just three PGA Tour starts later when he claimed the Colonial by three strokes.
“If you’re coming off a recent win, getting back into contention is a more natural state,” Spieth told reporters at Oakmont on Monday about the impact of his Colonial win on this week’s major championship.
“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?
“And I feel like we got through that. Although our last major we were in contention was the Masters, I think I’ll be able to draw on a lot of pretty special major experiences if I can’t bring it off the Colonial experience itself.”
Spieth, who has won two of the last five majors played, said he had felt the pressure of contending at the Colonial following his Masters disappointment, which made his birdie-birdie-birdie finish there to win even sweeter.
“It was definitely difficult at Colonial,” said the world number two. “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.
“So honestly, I think it (the Masters meltdown) is out of our heads now just from that one experience at Colonial.”
Asked to explain how he been able to contend in the last five majors he has played, Spieth replied: “I think a combination of really feeling like we get into these courses and spend more and more time dissecting … the time that we put in at a major.
“You can’t put that in every single week. There’s just not enough time there. You’ll wear yourself out. You can’t play more than a couple weeks at a time.”
(Editing by Andrew Both)