Golf

Spieth: 'I'm nowhere near legends of the sport'

Spieth one win away from career Grand Slam but deflects comparisons with Woods and company

Jordan Spieth is not a fan of comparisons between him and the golfing greats.

The American world No. 2 will go into the US PGA Championship next month looking to join an elite club and complete the career Grand Slam after his memorable British Open triumph on Sunday.

Spieth's dramatic victory on the links at Royal Birkdale saw him add the Open's Claret Jug to the US Masters Green Jacket he won at Augusta in 2015 and his US Open title the same year.

The Texan has now emulated the great Jack Nicklaus in winning three different Majors before the age of 24 - his 24th birthday is on Thursday.

At the moment, Nicklaus is one of just five players to have claimed all four Majors, but Spieth can join that elite group by winning the PGA at Quail Hollow in North Carolina starting on Aug 10 - and would be the youngest to get there.

Along with Nicklaus, the other players to have completed the career Grand Slam are Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen.

"I feel blessed to be able to play the game I love, but I don't compare myself. And I don't think that they're appropriate or necessary," said Spieth, who survived a major wobble in the final round at Birkdale to shoot a one-under 69 for a 12-under total and beat compatriot Matt Kuchar by three shots.

"To be in that company, no doubt is absolutely incredible. I certainly appreciate it. And we work really hard to have that, with that being the goal.

"But I'm very careful as to what that means going forward because what those guys have done has transcended the sport.

"And in no way, shape or form do I think I'm anywhere near that, whatsoever. So it's a good start, but there is a long way to go."

RECOVERY

Spieth showed great nerve on Sunday after squandering a three-stroke overnight advantage by the fourth hole and then almost blowing it completely on the back nine.

A wayward tee shot on the 13th forced him to take a drop and play his third from an adjacent practice ground.

He escaped with a bogey to sit just one stroke behind Kuchar before three birdies and an eagle in the next four holes sealed the deal.

Spieth was relieved to avoid a repeat of his dramatic collapse at last year's Masters when he led by five shots at the turn in the final round only to go six over through the next three holes and lose out to Danny Willett.

"I was so confident and, all of a sudden, the wheels have kind of come off everything. And how do we get back on track to salvage this round and just give yourself a chance at the end? It took a bogey to do so," he said of his effort at the par-four 13th.

After that, he nearly holed his tee shot at the 14th hole as the momentum swung back his way.

"All of a sudden, I felt and believed that I could win that golf tournament, when 30 minutes prior and really the entire day after the fourth hole, I didn't feel that way," said Spieth.

Kuchar had no answer to Spieth's late show, but the champion praised his fellow American.

"I believe Matt Kuchar will win a Major championship. And I believe that he'll do it sometime soon," said Spieth.

Kuchar shot a final-round 69, which could have been better but for a bogey at the last.

He still secured a best finish at a Major, bettering his third place at the Masters in 2012, but he could not hide his anguish at coming second.

"It's crushing. It hurts. To be this close, to taste it with five holes to go, it's a hard one to sit back and take," said Kuchar.

Spieth's win, and the manner of it, drew praise from Nicklaus.

"He's won 11 tournaments and I had won eight before 24," Nicklaus, now 77, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

"If you look at his victory total, his win today and the way he won, Jordan has shown an amazing display of maturity for someone so young, and he has been doing that for quite a while." - WIRE SERVICES

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