After victories at the Masters and the US Open, Jordan Spieth seeks a majors triple at the Open Championship in St Andrews.
St Andrews, Scotland -- Jordan Spieth begins a quest for hat-trick of majors with no shortage of form or confidence and fully aware that he could be writing his own way into golfing history at the game's ancestral home.
The 21-year-old American has arrived at St Andrews out to capture the "triple crown" of Masters, US Open and Open Championship in the same year, a feat achieved only by Ben Hogan in 1953.
Victory would also put him top of the golf rankings for the first time, usurping Rory McIlroy whose absence through injury has robbed St Andrews of a potential showdown between the man of the moment and the defending champion.
A win for Spieth would be further evidence of the changing of the guard in US golf as the youngster continues to match the feats of the young Tiger Woods, who now at 39 is beginning to see his dreams of a 15th major win evaporate.
Spieth arrived at St Andrews directly after winning the John Deere Classic in Illinois in a play-off on Sunday, proving that he is still on top of his game following his US Open win at Chambers Bay.
He dismissed the notion he could be under-prepared for the vagaries of links play at the Old Course or jet-lagged, telling British media after a first practice: "I have plenty left in the tank. I've just had a two-week break where I didn't do a whole lot. And I certainly have some momentum going into this week."
Spieth's rise has come in contrast to the demise in form of Woods, who is the only other man to have won three majors in one year - in 2000 when he captured the last three of the year's four majors. He then completed the "Tiger Slam" in 2001 with victory in the Masters.
Woods missed the cut at the US Open and recently scored the worse round of his professional career - 13-over-par 85 at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio - but the Old Course at St Andrews could be provide the inspiration he is seeking.
Woods, who has slipped to 241 in the world rankings, is convinced he is but a short step away from returning to the form of old after fully recovering from back surgery and completing a change to his swing.
Experience could be just as important as form at St Andrews, he says. Spieth "is in great form" but "experience counts a lot with the wind conditions" of a course staging the Open for the 29th time.
It is now seven years since Woods won his last major trophy - the US Open in 2008 - and nine since the last of his Open wins in 2006.
Two of Woods's three Open wins came at St Andrews, in 2000 and 2005 and he gives the impression he could be challenging this week for a third title on the Old Course.
"I have always loved this golf course since the first time I played here in 1995." he said.
"It's nice to be out there on the course and see it and feel it again, to be able to hit all the shots. You know, it's playing a little bit differently ... It's a little bit softer and I'm sure it's going to get even softer with the forecast (of rain) for Friday."
Woods will begin on Thursday with Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, the last St Andrews winner five years ago, and Australia's Jason Day who was a top 10 finisher at Chambers Bay despite suffering from vertigo.
Spieth gets to play Thursday with fellow American Dustin Johnson, who three-putted the last hole at Chambers Bay to hand him the US Open, with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama completing the threesome.
Johnson, who has two second places and nine top-10 finishes in the majors, gives no indication of bearing any mental scars from missing out on a potential major for the fourth time.
The 31-year-old, one of the biggest hitters in the game, says he is confident in knowing "I have what it takes to win."
Also arriving on the back of a victory is Rickie Fowler, who clinched the Scottish Open Sunday and will now be hoping to emulate Phil Mickelson who managed to win the Scottish Open and Open is successive weeks two years ago.
Fowler, who was tied second last year behind McIlroy at Hoylake, is beginning to come good on his promising early years after also capturing the Players Championship in May.
St Andrews could be coming at the right time for the 26-year-old Californian, who tees off with Englishman Justin Rose and three-time Open winner Sir Nick Faldo, who won at St Andrews in 1990.
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