Sunday, July 23

Jordan Spieth 'Flipped Switch' for Stunning Finish and Victory at 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club



JORDAN SPIETH IS THE CHAMPION GOLFER of the year. But how Spieth closed out his first Open Championship to get his named etched on the Claret Jug almost defies explanation.

Spieth fired a 69 on Sunday to win by 3 strokes over runner-up Matt Kuchar, who also put together a 69 and played well enough to grab his first major championship had it not been for Spieth's late heroics at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.

"More difficult than it probably even looked," Spieth told Golf Channel's Steve Sands, "and it probably looked pretty difficult."

Spieth was 3 over for his round after 12 holes and not playing inspired golf. Tied with Kuchar at 8 under on the 13th tee, he launched his drive farther right than Steve Bannon.

"On that shot," Spieth said, "you are trying to miss the fairway to the right because if I hit the fairway it is most likely going to go in the bunker. It is just an unusual circumstance. It hit a guy in the head and went on the other side of the mound that I didn't even know was there. After I hit that tee ball I'm sitting there thinking I was making six."

Thus began a 30-minute odyssey to finish play on the par-4 13th hole.

"I took my time to figure out where the best location was when I very easily could have gone back and re-teed," Spieth continued. "I felt really bad about the amount of time that took, especially in this situation for Matt. I went up and apologized and said, 'Hey look, I was just trying to get to the location I thought was best for me to make the best score I could.' I sincerely apologized for the amount of time this just took because he was just sitting on the bag. There is nothing I could have done, and he told me that, but it is still tough in that situation. That [bogey] was massive. I was able to go on the driving range, be able to get it up near the green and make a five, when I was staring at six or seven in the throat and out of the tournament."

Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo may have summed up best what happened on that strange hole.

"He and Greller took the boat into the middle of the storm, and 20 minutes later they came out calm. And what happened after that was simply amazing. I've never seen a player turn it around in that situation that quick."

Actually, what happened after that was unlike any finish to a major championship in recent history, or probably ever.

Spieth played the next four holes in 5-under par: birdie at 14, eagle at 15, birdie at 16, birdie at 17. A par at the last and Spieth became the youngest player since Jack Nicklaus to win three legs of golf's Grand Slam.

"This was a completely flipped switch where I start just horribly and then all of a sudden you are playing a new tournament," Spieth added.

"Boy, I really don’t know how we got the job done. I credit [my caddie Michael Greller] a lot. I showed a lot of resilience myself to be able to get some of those putts to go in when I just didn't feel like it was working today."

Spieth, who has now won the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship, will soon have a chance to complete the career Grand Slam. The PGA Championship tees off at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, on August 10.

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