Golf: Jordan Spieth wants Ryder glory over FedEx Cup payday

Jordan Spieth of the USA hits from a bunker on the putting green during a practice round for the Tour Championship golf tournament at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Sept 20, 2016.
Jordan Spieth of the USA hits from a bunker on the putting green during a practice round for the Tour Championship golf tournament at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Sept 20, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

MIAMI (AFP) - Former world number one Jordan Spieth says he would swap a US$10 million (S$13.6 million) FedEx Cup payday for victory in the Ryder Cup as golf's biennial battle between the United States and Europe draws ever closer.

Spieth, the 2015 FedEx Cup champion, said helping the USA wrest back the Ryder Cup from Europe would mean more to him than adding another multi-million dollar cheque to his bank balance.

"Right now, if I've got a choice, Ryder Cup," Spieth told reporters as he prepared for this week's Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, the climax of the FedEx Cup playoff series.

"You want something that you don't have. And that's a trophy that I've watched the other side of it now, and it hurt," Spieth added.

The USA takes on Europe next week at Hazeltine National Golf Club, aiming to prevent a fourth consecutive victory for the dominant Europeans in the fiercely competitive three-day team event.

Spieth, 23, made his Ryder Cup debut two years ago when Europe romped to an emphatic 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 victory at Gleneagles in Scotland.

The Texan said Tuesday that determination to avoid a repeat was driving the Americans as they prepared for this year's tussle at Hazeltine.

"It was tough at the closing ceremony. We had a good time that evening, but when we boarded the plane back home, it was an empty feeling," Spieth said of the 2014 defeat. "We don't want that again." Spieth is bullish that the American class of 2016 will be able to end Europe's reign in the event.

"I'm pretty confident about how we're going to go about our business. I think we've got a fantastic team this year, one of the best teams I can remember looking back at," he said.

US captain Davis Love III has one more captain's pick to confirm, a decision which will be made on Sunday night after the conclusion of the Tour Championship. World number seven Bubba Watson was a surprising omission when Love named three of his captain's earlier this month, a situation which Spieth admitted was "awkward." "I couldn't imagine being in his position, wondering why at seven in the world," Spieth said. "So it's an awkward position to be in." Spieth's preparations for the Tour Championship included a round with Watson at Hazeltine earlier this week during a pre-Ryder Cup get together.

"He didn't seem upset about anything. He didn't seem like he was entitled to any position or any advantage over anybody else," Spieth said.

"I think he really feels like he needs to go do his job this week. The more he's questioned about it, the more potential for that to bother him, which I hope he's not pestered with it all week." Despite the sympathy for Watson, Spieth said the final place on the US team should go to whoever demonstrates the best form.

"We want whoever's playing the best to be the last pick," he said. "There's, I think, five or six options. It's going to be up to the captains to make that choice, and we're welcoming of whoever that is, obviously, and excited to move forward."