Tiger Woods

Jordan Spieth calls PGA Championship ‘toughest’ major — for him

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jordan Spieth entered this week needing a PGA Championship victory to complete the career grand slam. He’ll finish the week still needing one.

Following a third-round even-par 71 that left him in a double-digit deficit when he walked off the course at Quail Hollow Club, the 24-year-old explained that he always believed this one would be more difficult to win than the other three majors.

“The PGA Championship, I think, is going to be the toughest for me,” he said after a round that included five birdies, three bogeys and a final-hole double-bogey. “If we look historically back on my career, I think I will play this tournament worse than the other three majors, just in the way that it’s set up.

“I feel like my game truly suits the other three majors maybe more than a PGA Championship. But I believe we can play anywhere and can win anywhere. It’s just a matter of having everything in sync at the right time.”

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In his young career, Spieth owns a win and two other runner-up finishes at the Masters. He has a win and two other top-25s at the U.S. Open. He claimed last month’s Open Championship, an event at which he’s never missed the cut.

At the PGA Championship, however, his record is indeed spottier.

He finished runner-up to Jason Day two years ago at Whistling Straits and finished T-13 last year at Baltusrol, but he missed the cut in his first two attempts, a number that accounts for two-thirds of his career missed cuts in major championships.

With a victory this week, Spieth would’ve become just the sixth player to complete the career slam — and at just three weeks past his 24th birthday, the youngest.

Even so, he’s maintained throughout the week that there was no additional pressure.

“I didn’t have it written in a diary from when I was young that I need to win a career grand slam as the youngest ever,” he said Saturday. “That wasn’t the goal. The goal was to try and win them all. The goal was to try and get on the PGA Tour and then from there see what happens. And yeah, I have a lot of opportunities.”

Spieth will next have a chance to join an exclusive club that includes just Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods at next year’s PGA Championship, which will be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

Before he gets that opportunity, both Rory McIlroy (at the Masters) and Phil Mickelson (at the U.S. Open) will each have a chance at the career slam.