USPGA Betting: Spieth can recover to do the American Slam

Jordan Spieth is fully focused and ready to challenge for the 'American Slam'
Jordan Spieth is fully focused and ready to challenge for the 'American Slam'

Jordan Spieth has been posting pictures on his Facebook account of his practice rounds at Whistling Straits. Ralph Ellis, who didn't think the American wonder boy would handle St Andrews, has been converted into a fan of the young American...


"What The Open also showed is that Spieth is remarkably strong mentally. He’s been telling the American press that, having finished outside the top 20 in six of his final seven events last season, he’s determined to put together a powerful closing few months this time."

A guy called Will Marks tweeted me when I'd suggested Jordan Spieth would struggle with the wind and rain at St Andrews. He was very succinct. Just 20 characters were enough, never mind 140. "You're clueless mate", he said.

It was one of the more polite insults I've had, so I didn't mind too much. And in the end we were both sort of half right - the game's new young genius didn't win The Open, but then again he didn't finish outside the top 20 either and was one putt away from joining the play-off.

Curiously over the course of four rounds it was his putting that let him down. Not just the four putts at the eighth on the final day, but the five times he three-putted in the second round. It wasn't the wind or the course that hurt him, but just a temporary malfunction in what is normally his greatest strength.

So what those five days in Scotland did prove was that a boy who has just turned 22 is the real deal. If he didn't manage to win the first three Majors of the year this time, there's every chance he'll do it before he's finished. He may even go where nobody else has ever been, and win all four in a year.

The consolation prize coming up already is the American Slam. Nobody had thought it existed until Tiger Woods came within a shot of doing it in 2002, losing out to Rich Beem despite making birdies on all the last four holes at Hazeltine.

But it got created as a concept that year, and the golf writers in the US are dusting off the phrase just to ramp up the pressure on Spieth before he tees off at Whistling Straits next Thursday, where he is already the 6.86/1 favourite to be the USPGA Championship winner to go with his Masters and US Open titles.

It's a great name for a course. Tells you everything in two words about what you can expect. And just to reinforce that expectation of a gale or two, when Spieth went there for the first of a couple of practice rounds at the weekend he got called in because the wind speed had gone beyond 40mph.

That must have been a flashback to St Andrews, where he was also stopped while out on the course because of the same problem and was heard to complain "we never should have started".

But far from being fazed or affected by memories of Scotland, reports from the American golf journals suggest the young man found it amusing - and is relishing the challenge of dealing with another spectacularly blowy venue.

Spieth could well be going to Whistling Straits as the world number one. He will replace Rory McIlroy on top of the rankings if he wins this week's WGC Bridgestone Invitational, where he is also favourite at 7.413/2.

What The Open also showed is that Spieth is remarkably strong mentally. He's been telling the American press that, having finished outside the top 20 in six of his final seven events last season, he's determined to put together a powerful closing few months this time.

"I want to stay focused, try to be in contention for one of the last events and close at least one of them out," he said. And I've come round to the belief that to think he can't do that - well you'd have to be pretty clueless.


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