No slam for Spieth but British Open memories linger
'Buddy, we won one of the Majors. I understand that’s a great year in the Majors'
Jordan Spieth reacting to his putt on the first green during the final round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
No slam, not this time at least; and Jordan Spieth – his attempt to become the youngest ever custodian of all four Major titles in a career – left Quail Hollow aware that it would be in a year’s time, at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, that would present the next opportunity for him to claim a Wanamaker Trophy.
After that? Well, the US PGA switches to its new May date for the 2019 championship at Bethpage on Long Island, New York ... and it could well be that that earlier slot in the season will benefit Spieth’s quest to become a member of that elite club which is made up of five greats: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan.
As it was, Spieth went into the final round aware that his quest had already run its course. Walking off the 18th green – a final round 70 for 286 left him with a top-35 finish – Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller, put his arm around his player’s shoulders.
“Hey, just want you to know that’s a great year in the Majors,” said his bagman.
“Buddy, we won one of the Majors. I understand that’s a great year in the Majors,” replied Spieth – the British Open champion.
He added: “Michael almost thinks I’m disappointed maybe with how this week went. But we won a Major.
“We had a chance to win at Augusta, too... here, I didn’t have a chance to win, which is a downer. But overall, when I look back on the year in the Major championships, shoot, it was fantastic.
“If I did this every year I would go down as the greatest ever to play the game. I need to look at it that way, and I am.”
He added: “If I didn’t have a chance to win a Major in a year then I would be disappointed at the end of the year. Winning them is so difficult to do that you can have a fantastic year without winning a Major.”
Maybe some year that will happen again, but he can walk away from Quail Hollow knowing that while he had never got into this race he had won the claret jug at Royal Birkdale.