Spieth goes into the Open with history in his sights



Barely 24 hours after putting a tee in the ground here following an overnight flight from the United States, the indefatigable Jordan Spieth was obliging sponsors at the Fairmont Hotel, a chip and a putt south along the Fife coast.

He might have made his excuses, after all he had a course to map having seen it only once before, four years ago en route to Royal Aberdeen with the United States Walker Cup team. And he has yet to reset a body clock that is still ticking on American East Coast time. But no, that wouldn’t be Spieth.

The 21-year-old, here for the 144th Open Championship, which starts today, arrived carrying his own clubs, declared himself rested and ready to go. Spieth was the principal attraction at a brand builder organised by the sports clothing company, Under Armour, which re-signed him for 10 years in a coup last January, attaching to the bone the kind of numbers only Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy might recognise.

Under Armour’s vice-president of sports marketing, Ryan Kuehl, a former American footballer, opened with a eulogy to the company’s poster boys, including Andy Murray, and from the world of golf, Hunter Mahan, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger and England’s former US Amateur champion, Matt Fitzpatrick.

All four were called to the stage to talk of their love of golf’s new range of performance clobber but it is Spieth — winner already of The Masters and US Open this year — who is driving growth, which is galloping along at a pace that is outstripping all other sectors in the company, 45 per cent year on year.

“It is not just his talent, right?” said Kuehl. “It’s everything else about him. What he has achieved is amazing. We thought he would win. We knew he had the talent, the character and the courage, and the Majors test all those things, but to win two in a row at his age is historic.”

A platinum junior record alerted Under Armour to his pedigree. “As an ex-professional athlete I know when people are in it to win as opposed to picking up a cheque. It was clear to me if you played ping pong with the guy he’d play until he won. He just loves to compete. Not every athlete is like that. There are a lot of great players but only a select group of golfers who move the needle. He’s in that group.”

In terms of making a golf ball sing off the tee, Spieth does not makes the eyes water. But from the second shot and in he is brutally effective. With the putter in his hand, one that he has used since he was 15, he is without peer.

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