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Jordan Spieth’s Intense Pursuit of Second British Open Title – Unleashing the Ultimate Grind Mode

The 2017 champion had a lengthy practice session Wednesday with his coach and has mostly played by himself all week to minimize distractions.

HOYLAKE, England — In a two-hour practice session Wednesday at Royal Liverpool, Jordan Spieth worked through the bag under the watchful eye of longtime instructor Cameron McCormick to fine-tune his game for an attempt at his second Claret Jug. What Spieth called a really good practice session was really the first lengthy one he’s had with McCormick this week due to the inclement weather that had beset the area on Monday and Tuesday.



It also gave him time to address an issue with his 7-iron that was going too far and wreaking havoc with the gaps between his 6-, 7- and 8-irons.

Jordan Spieth missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open but was then able to play 18 holes Sunday at Royal Liverpool.
Kin Cheung/AP

On Tuesday, they tweaked it because it was a half-degree strong and Spieth thought that would take care of it, but on Wednesday with warm conditions and no rain, Spieth could try the new 7-iron and it was still an issue.At the same time, when on the launch monitor, they found a huge drop in spin, and it became clear since Spieth had been playing the same irons for a while that a new 7-, 8- and 9-iron might do the trick.



“It’s gonna look pretty much the same,” Spieth said of the new clubs from his current version. “It’s just a matter of confidence and seeing the distance gaps on the range.”Spieth had spent most of his range time trying to flight the ball for the differing conditions he believes he will face this week with a forecast with consistent 20- to 25-mph winds all four days and rain projected for most of Saturday.



Flighting the ball is crucial this week and doing it with different clubs is what Spieth spent a lot of time on Wednesday.At the same time, after a three-week break after missing the cut at the U.S. Open, Spieth spent a lot of time working at home, stepping back and looking at what had been working well during the spring stretch from Phoenix to the RBC Heritage. He recorded five top-6 finishes over that span including a playoff lost to Matt Fitzpatrick at Harbour Town.



“Just the same things I’ve been working on, it’s a lot of tempo stuff, connection to the body, like don’t let my body out run my arms, that kind of stuff in the downswing trying to hit a lot of different flights,” Spieth said. “So, I started to feel that connection. A lot of different ways, if that makes sense, versus just sticking with one shot where it be easy to nail it. So, kind of work in different heights and flights.”



The missed cut last week didn’t seem to faze Spieth as he felt his game was rusty in the first round, but every day from Tuesday through Friday his game was progressing nicely. While it’s always a bummer to miss the cut, he didn’t take it to mean much.And the benefit of missing the cut was that he could get 18 holes in at Royal Liverpool on Sunday.



“I thought getting here and playing 18 on Sunday was a really good idea,” the 2017 Open champion said. “And just playing at least 36 holes prior to the tournament is a luxury that I like to have, but a lot of times you wear yourself out trying to get it.Except for a Tuesday nine-hole practice round with Sam Burns, Spieth has been playing by himself.



And while he enjoys playing with friends like Justin Thomas, he has decided to play on his own to get more shots and not get distracted.
“I feel really good,” Spieth said. “Coming into here, there’s a couple things I need to do, like it’s if I compared to going into the ’17 Open, if I had kind of one swing thought I kind of got two.”The dual swing thoughts keep Spieth a little less outwardly focused, but he is aware of that and if he does those couple of thoughts correct, he has as good of control as ever.



Since his rookie year, Spieth has had a pretty significant backswing thought and over time has added a downswing thought. He just needs to get the initial thoughts correct, then game comes much easier to him.“It’s like right now if I get this backswing thought in, like what I’m trying to do, I don’t really have to think other than flight going through,” Spieth said. “And that’s really where I like to live. It’s just a call it like if I want it to be 50% effort on something, it’s a 100% effort on something or if I didn’t want it to be 100%, I’m at 200%, so it just has to feel a little more significant than say I’d like but that starts to get less and less every day that I do it well.”

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