WATCH: Jordan Spieth seeks a strong start to Open

Jordan Spieth was aiming for a flying start to his bid for a third major title in succession as the 144th Open Championship got under way at St Andrews on Thursday.

Spieth is halfway towards an unprecedented clean sweep of the majors following his victories in the Masters and US Open and would become only the third man after Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods to win three in one year by lifting the Claret Jug.

The 21-year-old would also replace the absent defending champion Rory McIlroy as world number one with a victory on the Old Course, but was well aware of the part the weather could play.

Woods won the Masters and US Open in 2002 and was two shots off the halfway lead at Muirfield only to shoot 81 in the third round as the later starters battled gale-force winds.

“I understand that there’s a possibility for a lot of this tournament to be dependent on the draw the first two days, at least for a few strokes,” said Spieth, who was due to begin his first round at 9:33am alongside Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.

“It doesn’t mean you can’t make it up if you get the bad end of it, but it will be harder.

“Going into it, you have to be as positive as can be. There’s a little bit of pressure getting off to a good start given the way that Friday and Saturday look, no doubt about that.

“But Friday looks like it’s going to be brutal for everybody. Looks like rain and wind in the morning and then extreme winds in the afternoon, so I don’t really have a preference on which one I’d rather see.”

Spieth tees off at 2:34pm on Friday and added: “Obviously everybody would like it to be equal for everyone, but that’s part of the challenge.

“You’re going to get some shots that may kick into a pot bunker or you get a gust of wind where it blows it toward a bunker. It’s how you handle that adversity and rebound quickly.

“But going into it, I certainly am trying to look at it as positively as possible because I don’t feel like there’s any other way to go about it.”

The good news for Spieth is that recent history suggests the cream will again rise to the top this week. Since Darren Clarke and Keegan Bradley won the last two majors of 2011 when 111th and 108th in the world respectively, the lowest ranked winner of a major has been Ernie Els, who was 40th when he won the 2012 Open at Lytham.

Last year Bubba Watson was ranked 12th before claiming his second Masters title and Martin Kaymer 28th before winning a second major crown in the US Open. McIlroy was eighth entering the Open at Hoylake and first at the US PGA, while Spieth was fourth starting the Masters in April and second at Chambers Bay last month.

More on this topic

Open champion Francesco Molinari: 'It’s been an incredible journey’Open champion Francesco Molinari: 'It’s been an incredible journey’

‘Tiger in a race no one ever seems to win’‘Tiger in a race no one ever seems to win’

Finding the meaning of golf on rollercoaster Scottish questFinding the meaning of golf on rollercoaster Scottish quest

Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn backs Francesco Molinari for more major titlesRyder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn backs Francesco Molinari for more major titles

More in this Section

Dalo's Hurling Show: A fair league format but is the cut-throat element gone? Dalo's Hurling Show: A fair league format but is the cut-throat element gone?

Kyrgios apologises for his behaviour after beating SimonKyrgios apologises for his behaviour after beating Simon

Russell sent home from Scotland training camp for ‘breach of discipline’ ahead of Ireland clashRussell sent home from Scotland training camp for ‘breach of discipline’ ahead of Ireland clash

Wilder believes Sheffield United’s English core are in Southgate’s thoughtsWilder believes Sheffield United’s English core are in Southgate’s thoughts


Lifestyle

Cork teenager Jessie Griffin is launching a new comic-book series about her own life. She tells Donal O’Keeffe about her work as a comic artist, living with Asperger’s, and her life-changing time with the Cork Life CentrePicture perfect way of sharing Jessie’s story

Sorting out Cork people for agesAsk Audrey: The only way to improve air quality in Douglas is to move it upwind from Passage West

The Lighthouse is being hailed as one of the best — and strangest — films of the year. Its director tells Esther McCarthy about casting Robert Pattinson, and why he used 100-year-old lensesGoing against the grain: Robert Eggers talks about making his latest film The Lighthouse

It turns out 40 is no longer the new 30 – a new study says 47 is the age of peak unhappiness. The mid-life crisis is all too real, writes Antoinette Tyrrell.A midlife revolution: A new study says 47 is the age of peak unhappiness

More From The Irish Examiner