Open champion Jordan Spieth intends to enjoy his third major more than the two he won in 2015 having learned to appreciate the value of victory.
The 23-year-old joined Jack Nicklaus in becoming one of just two players to win three majors before the age of 24 and he can surpass Tiger Woods as the youngest winner of a career grand slam by claiming next month’s US PGA at Quail Hollow.
Spieth’s first two majors – the Masters and US Open – were back-to-back and came in such quick succession that he barely had time to relish the moment.
Having been made to wait two years for his next, the American has a greater appreciation of just what it means, and what it takes, to win one.
“Growing up playing golf I just wanted to be able to play in major championships and compete with the best in the world and things have happened very quickly,” he said after his three-shot victory over compatriot Matt Kuchar.
“It’s good and bad, because a lot comes with it – a lot more attention versus just being able to kind of go about your own thing and I never realised how underrated that was.
“I wanted to be in this position but then it becomes harder when it doesn’t go your way and you’re harder on yourself because you expect so much.
“Therefore I’m going to thoroughly enjoy this. I look back on 2015 and think ‘yeah, I enjoyed it’ but I never realised the significance until you kind of hit a low, to appreciate the high so much.
“And this is as much of a high as I’ve ever experienced in my golfing life and I’m going to enjoy it more than I’ve enjoyed anything that I’ve accomplished in the past.”
Spieth has the potential to join some of the greats of the game who won more than three majors but his caddie Michael Greller believes he is already worthy of more lofty recognition.
The American was recently pictured with in Mexico with former basketball star Michael Jordan and record-breaking Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, both arguably the best in their respective sports.
Greller felt it necessary to remind Spieth of his own star quality after a wobble on the front nine at Royal Birkdale saw him lose his three-stroke lead inside four holes after a trio of bogeys.
Spieth said: “Michael did a great thing, he said ‘Do you remember that group you were with in Cabo last week? You belong in that group’.
“We walked off the seventh tee box and he made me come back and he said ‘I’ve got something to say to you. Do you remember that group you were with? You’re that calibre of an athlete. But I need you to believe that right now because you’re in a great position in this tournament’.
“Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps are the greatest to ever do what they did and I’m not but if you believe that you are then you’re almost as good as being that.
“It’s so hard in that situation to believe that but just having just the slightest bit of belief in it makes you so confident.”