LONDON (Reuters) - Golf is unlikely ever to be dominated again by a single player in the way that Tiger Woods ruled the sport, world No. 3 Jordan Spieth said on Tuesday ahead of this week's British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Spieth has come the closest to any player of repeating the kind of dominance that Woods enjoyed, producing a magnificent 2015 season when he captured the Masters and US Open titles and came close to winning The Open and PGA Championship.
But the 23-year-old American was unable to maintain that extraordinary level of performance in 2016 and says those hoping for a new king of golf may be waiting in vain.
"I wouldn't get your hopes up. What Tiger's done, I just - having experienced a year like he continued to do for years. It just takes a lot out of you. It's very tough to do," he told reporters.
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"What I'm saying is, I doubt you'll see a dominance like that maybe ever again in the game. I just think guys are learning, guys are getting stronger.
"Guys are winning younger, playing more fearless, even in Major championships, and I just think that it's so difficult now.
"I wouldn't get your hopes up for a domination like that whatsoever," he added.
However, the Texan believes that the sport will still provide plenty of drama even without an undisputed No. 1.
"I think it's going to be a very exciting time. You'll see a group of 10 to 12 guys over the next 15, 20 years that are going to have a lot of different competitions that come down the stretch with each other.
"It's different than one person being the guy to beat. But I think it's exciting, exciting for us as players. You just never know, and if you play well, you're going to have a chance with these other guys who are equally as capable," he said.
Spieth will probably always be judged against his remarkable breakout year and he said that his form was not far off that level - even if he now acknowledges there will not be many years like 2015.
"I haven't been making as many putts as I did that year this year," he said. "I've struck the ball better than I did in '15. I've actually been in better positions. If you took hole by hole, I've been in a better position tee to green than I was that year.
"If I putted the same as '15 I'd be having a better year right now. It's hard to do. So, certain parts of the game I think I've improved on. And others ... it's just fluctuated. And that's how it will go," he said.