The Open 2018: Jordan Spieth will use 'imagination' after struggle for form

By Peter ScrivenerBBC Sport at Carnoustie
Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth won The Open by three shots last year
The 147th Open Championship
Venue: Carnoustie Championship Course Dates: 19-22 July Coverage: Live across BBC Radio, highlights on BBC TV and online, live text commentaries on BBC website

Defending champion Jordan Spieth is looking forward to using his "imagination" at The Open this week, after recent struggles on the PGA Tour.

The 24-year-old American, who saw the course at Carnoustie for the first time on Monday, has missed three cuts in seven tournaments since finishing third at the Masters in April.

"I was dragging along, playing cut-line golf and a heavy schedule and I needed to get away from the game," said the world number six, who is a three-time major champion.

"An Open Championship requires a lot of feel and imagination, and that's what I needed a bit of in my game."

One of Spieth's missed cuts came at the US Open in June.

He said: "I had got very technical and into making everything perfect instead of the way I normally play. This week provides that opportunity where you don't know how far the ball is necessarily going to go off the tee.

"You need to play the spots and then use your imagination from there - hold the ball, ride the wind. You'll see guys playing the golf course with a lot of different strategies."

The champion golfer

Spieth - the 2015 Masters and US Open champion - won the 146th staging of golf's oldest major by three shots at Birkdale last year, and has revelled in being called 'champion golfer of the year'.

"The traditions of The Open are special. It's a unique title for their champion and it's been an honour being introduced that way throughout the year at different events," he said.

"That will certainly bring some good feeling and some chills on the first tee this week."

Spieth returned the Claret Jug to R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers in a traditional ceremony on the first tee on Monday.

"It wasn't an enjoyable experience, but it's done," said Spieth.

"Hopefully it will only be out of my possession for a week. That would be ideal."

Spieth tees off at 09:58 BST on Thursday with England's Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand.

Jordan Spieth and Martin Slumbers
Jordan Spieth hands the Claret Jug to R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers

No reason why I can't win - Fleetwood

England's Tommy Fleetwood is one of a number of European golfers looking to break the American stranglehold on majors - all four are held by Americans, all of whom are in their 20s.

Brooks Koepka, 28, retained his US Open title last month, after Patrick Reed, 27, won the Masters. Following Spieth's Open victory last July, Justin Thomas, 25, won the PGA Championship.

"There's no doubt about it and there's no other way to put it, than they have an exceptional bunch of players at the moment," said Fleetwood.

"It will be nice to break that run, but you don't look at them as a nationality. You look at them as players and people and you can understand why they are winning the majors."

Fleetwood came agonisingly close to breaking that domination at the US Open, with a closing seven-under-par 63 at Shinnecock Hills equalling the tournament's lowest round.

The 27-year-old missed an eight-foot birdie putt on the last and was eventually beaten by one shot.

"Straight after the US Open I wanted The Open to start straight away because you are on such a high," he said. "It was disappointing coming that close but you had that momentum and it was more proof that I can finish 72 holes right up there.

"One shot is a quarter of a shot a round so it's not that much. There's no good reason why I can't win a major."


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