Newspaper article International New York Times

For Red-Hot Spieth, Everything Clicking ; He Wins Tournament on Eve of British Open; No. 1 Spot Could Be His

Newspaper article International New York Times

For Red-Hot Spieth, Everything Clicking ; He Wins Tournament on Eve of British Open; No. 1 Spot Could Be His

Article excerpt

Jordan Spieth took the John Deere Classic in his first competitive start since his victory at the United States Open.

A target that Jordan Spieth thought, at the start of the year, was well out of his range suddenly seems as accessible as a drivable par 4. Spieth won his second consecutive start and his fourth title of 2015 at the John Deere Classic to inch closer to golf's summit.

If Spieth extends his winning streak this weekend at the British Open at St. Andrews, he will supplant Rory McIlroy as the world No.1 while becoming the first player since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win the first three legs of the Grand Slam in a calendar year.

At the John Deere Classic, Spieth's first competitive start since his victory at the United States Open and his only tuneup before heading to the Old Course, he closed Sunday with a three-under-par 68 to tie Tom Gillis at 20 under. Spieth, 21, defeated Gillis, a 46- year-old who has not won on the PGA Tour, with a par on the second hole of sudden death.

With McIlroy, 26, sidelined indefinitely with a badly sprained left ankle, the second-ranked Spieth's coronation feels like a mere formality. Nobody on any tour has played better this season than Spieth, who has 11 top-10 finishes in 17 starts, not counting victories last December against quality fields at the Australian Open and the Hero World Challenge.

If nothing else, the golf-proud people of Scotland are not likely to repeat the mistake that was made during the Ryder Cup last September at Gleneagles, where Spieth made his first appearance on the practice range and hit balls in front of a placard that read "SPEITH."

Everybody in the game now knows Spieth's name. And in his quest to become the first player in the modern era to win all four majors in the same year, Spieth has built a following in golf that transcends its core audience, much as Tiger Woods did at the same age. …

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