Golf: Spieth eyes 'bigger break', will cut down long-haul flights

Jordon Spieth eyes a shot during round 3 of the SMBC Singapore Open.
Jordon Spieth eyes a shot during round 3 of the SMBC Singapore Open. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

He thrilled fervent golf fans in Abu Dhabi and Singapore over the past fortnight, but Asia may see less of Jordan Spieth up close in the future.

After finishing second at a rain-hit SMBC Singapore Open - which forced a Monday finish - the Texan admitted his "wild schedule" has taken its toll.

Having enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past 12 months, headlined by wins at the US Open and Masters, the last thing the world No. 1 golfer wants is to burn out.

"I won't bounce back and forth from the States over here as often as I did - this is tough," the 22-year-old told reporters at the Sentosa Golf Club yesterday.

"If you are coasting through tournaments, it's different, it's more stress-free. But to actually compete and make a statement each weekend, that's another challenge."

The Singapore event was his sixth overseas tournament in nearly four months.

The seven-time PGA Tour winner said he was "very tired" and "not 100 per cent" after a joint-fifth finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago.

  • Final leaderboard

    272 Song Young Han (Kor)

    273 Jordan Spieth (USA)

    274 Liang Wenchong (Chn)

    275 Miguel Tabuena (Phi), Shintaro Kobayashi (Jpn)

    276 Wang Jeung Hun (Kor), Hideto Tanihara (Jpn)

    277 Lee Won Joon (Aus), Chapchai Nirat (Tha), Brett Munson (USA)

    278 Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Sam Brazel (Aus), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)


    Selected

    282 Himmat Rai (Ind)

    285 An Byeong Hun (Kor)

    287 Quincy Quek (Sin), Yang Yong Eun (Kor)

    291 James Leow (Sin)

His workload does not get any lighter, as promoters splash the cash to attract the sport's brightest talent. Spieth is rumoured to have pocketed US$1.2 million (S$1.71 million) for his Singapore outing - more than the tournament's prize pot of US$1 million.

He flew back to the US yesterday to prepare for next week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, with the Northern Trust Open in California looming right after.

By the time the Masters begins in April, it will reportedly cap a run of nine worldwide events in 12 weeks for Spieth, whose schedule has become a hot topic whenever he faces the media.

Fatigue is a major issue this year, as he also aims to tackle the Rio Olympics in August - describing it as a "fifth Major" - in addition to helping the Americans regain the Ryder Cup, which is played in September.

While he plans to cut down on long-haul trips across continents, the Dallas native insists that a game plan is in place for home events.

"I'll get enough rest. I'm going to familiar places, I won't have to play 36 rounds prior to playing, these are places I've now played at a few years," said the 2015 PGA Tour Player of the Year.

"I'll have a bigger break in the middle of the season. We're doing a good job of trying to separate the season instead of a complete continuation."

Despite missing out on the Singapore Open title by one stroke to South Korean Song Young Han, Spieth was in high spirits yesterday.

Sunday's rain delay meant a 16-hour wait before his five-foot birdie attempt on Serapong's par-five 18th.

After finally making the shot yesterday to close with a five-under 66 (273 total), he quipped that it was "the first perfect round I ever played".

"Everything was absolutely perfect. One shot, I made everything I looked at," he said with a wry smile.

The American admitted "some really bad decisions" - particularly in the middle two rounds - proved costly. He was never red-hot on the greens, requiring at least 30 putts in three of his four rounds.

Nonetheless, he left with a good impression of Serapong, saying: "I missed a few putts that I normally make, just lacking trust in the reads, the speed was just off.

"But it was a great experience and I had a really great time here. What a fabulous golf course it is."

Singapore's Quincy Quek finished in joint-49th place, 15 strokes behind Song, after carding a 75 in his final round.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'Spieth eyes 'bigger break', will cut down long-haul flights'. Print Edition | Subscribe