Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Jordan Spieth - major champion in waiting?

By Chris Murphy, CNN
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 1053 GMT (1853 HKT)
Jordan Spieth goes into the U.S. Open as one of the favorites, underlining what a stellar rise the 20-year-old has had in the game of golf. This time last year his was a name that barely registered in talk about potential major winners. Jordan Spieth goes into the U.S. Open as one of the favorites, underlining what a stellar rise the 20-year-old has had in the game of golf. This time last year his was a name that barely registered in talk about potential major winners.
Pinehurst prospect
Tour triumph
The President's men
Masters debut
The final hurdle
Players near miss
  • Jordan Spieth tells CNN he is ready to win his first major golf championship
  • The 20-year-old tees off at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst as one of the favorites
  • Spieth tied for second place in his first appearance at the Masters in April
  • He became youngest PGA Tour winner for 82 years in 2013

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- This time last year Jordan Spieth barely registered on golf's radar, now it seems merely a matter of time before he assumes the mantle of major champion.

The 20-year-old will tee off at Pinehurst on Thursday as one of the favorites to lift the U.S. Open, a measure of his stellar rise over the past 12 months.

Spieth became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour for 82 years when he bagged the 2013 John Deere Classic, underlining the potential encompassed in his swing.

He briefly held the lead during the final round of the Masters before tying for second and was in contention at the Players Championship, eventually finishing fourth.

Read: Spieth - U.S. golf's new kid on the block

So what price a maiden major championship in North Carolina aged 20 years and 10 months, roughly five months before Tiger Woods captured his first?

Jordan Spieth's life changing shot
Jordan Spieth recreates amazing bunker shot
A history of golf at Pinehurst

"I truly believe I can win a major -- right now I think I'm ready to," the Texan told CNN. "Each and every week is about preparing for the next major championship.

"The U.S. Open is a major which is what legacies are defined by. That's what Rory (McIlroy) says all the time, golf is all about winning majors.

"To be able to go into this event with a lot of confidence, I feel like I'm going to embrace the challenge."

Much has been made of the test Pinehurst will present, a markedly different one to 2005 when unfancied New Zealander Michael Campbell triumphed.

It has since been reshaped by two-time major champion Ben Crenshaw and his business partner -- famed golf architect Bill Coore -- who have restored many of its original features.

The pair have ripped out reams of rough and widened many fairways, but that won't necessarily makes things any easier.

Sandy scrub, pine straw and wiregrass now flank the fairways, meaning any errant tee shots could lead to a lottery in terms of lie.

The winning scores in three of the last four U.S. Open tournaments have been even par or less, underlining what a biting examination of a player's game it represents.

But that doesn't phase Spieth -- it excites him.

"I love the hardest challenge you can get," he explained. "The U.S. Open is the most difficult challenge in all of golf. That is exciting for us, it's awesome.

"It's going to be really interesting at Pinehurst with no rough. Everyone who has been there has raved about the place.

I truly believe I can win a major -- right now I think I'm ready to
Jordan Spieth
Martin Kaymer's sand shot master class

"Any time you can play golf's toughest test and try to test your game, if you can beat the golf course you really feel special after that round."

Spieth has been feeling pretty special for most of the last year.

His breakthrough victory at the John Deere proved he possessed the talent and temperament required to prosper on the biggest stage.

After memorably holing a bunker shot to force his way into a playoff, Spieth secured victory on the fifth extra hole, defeating David Hearn and Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion.

He recorded a pair of top four finishes in the FedEx Cup, including second place in the season-ending Tour Championship, before taking part in the USA's winning Presidents Cup encounter with their International counterparts.

At 2014's first major, Spieth muscled his way into the final group at Augusta on Sunday, and at one point assumed the lead from playing partner and eventual winner, Bubba Watson. Spieth finished in a tie for second.

Beautiful hand-painted golf posters
Rory McIlroy & Caroline Wozniacki split

Then at golf's unofficial fifth major, the Players Championship, Spieth was again in the final grouping before a late wobble saw him fall to fourth, playing partner Martin Kaymer, from Germany, taking top honors.

But for someone whose goal at the start of the season was to thrust himself into contention at a major championship, it was very much mission accomplished.

"I knew I was going to be in all four majors and it was about getting out there and contending because I knew it would be a different feeling than contending in any event I'd been in before," he said.

"I wanted to see how I would perform and sure enough at that first one in Augusta I got off to the start I needed.

"I had the right game plan that week. I knew how difficult the golf course was playing -- the weather made it firm and fast -- and I didn't let bogeys bother me.

"I played my way into contention on Sunday, I had the lead.

"I feel like I played some really strong golf with the amount of pressure I felt that week -- a bounce here, a bounce there then I might have been wearing the green jacket on my first try.

"That's really cool looking back at that and knowing I accomplished one of my goals for the year."

Spieth's preparations for Pinehurst have included calls to Crenshaw, to pick his brains as to the redesign, and strength and conditioning work in the gym.

As well as repeating his "stay patient" mantra, Spieth has also been grooving his swing to make sure it stands up to the fierce examination of the closing holes in a major championship.

"I feel like it's all falling into place," Spieth said.

"I know from Augusta when you are in the thick of things and you're feeling that intense pressure the most important thing is making sure the most basic part of your golf swing stays the same.

"It is tough staying patient, I'm not a patient person off the course at all so it's very hard, especially when emotions are so heightened.

"I did a very, very good job of it at Augusta, and a very good job for a little while at the Players.

"I've got a lot of confidence going in that I can put it together a little longer, just having been in the heat twice now in two of the strongest fields in the world that I've ever played against."

Read: Kaymer holds on for Players win

Read: Tiger Woods out of U.S. Open

Part of complete coverage on
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.