Golf: Tired Spieth still eyes SMBC Singapore Open title

Jordan Spieth (left) and manager Jay Danzi arriving at Changi Airport yesterday morning. His punishing schedule could see him log 200,000km in 11 months if he makes the Olympics.
Jordan Spieth (left) and manager Jay Danzi arriving at Changi Airport yesterday morning. His punishing schedule could see him log 200,000km in 11 months if he makes the Olympics.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Globe-trotting world No. 1 and S'pore Open favourite confident of keeping up recent great form

He has chalked up tens of thousands of air miles in the last few months and fatigue is setting in but Jordan Spieth believes he still has something left in the tank as he makes a maiden appearance at this week's SMBC Singapore Open.

The American world No. 1 arrived in the Republic yesterday morning after an eight-hour overnight flight from Abu Dhabi.

Despite looking visibly tired as he waited for about 25 minutes to collect his luggage at Changi Airport's Terminal 2, the 22-year-old Texan was adamant that it would be a recharged Spieth that emerges for Thursday's opening round at the Sentosa Golf Club.

 

He told The Straits Times: "Bit tired from the overnight flight, the time difference and it was a long week (at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he finished joint fifth). Today will just be a rest day. I want to get a good rest so I am fully prepared for the week.

"Just driving from the airport to the hotel, seeing the city, it looks like an amazing place. I really hope I get to see some of the city while I am here."

  • Event details

  • When

    Thursday to Sunday.

    Where

    Sentosa Golf Club, Serapong Course.

    Prize money

    US$1 million (S$1.44 million).

    Who

    Headlined by world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, the Asian Tour and Japan Tour co-sanctioned event also features the likes of former Major champions Darren Clarke and Yang Yong Eun as well as 2015 European Tour Rookie of the Year An Byeong Hun.

    Tickets

    Free entry on Thursday. Friday ($20), weekend ($30)and season pass ($50) available through ticketing partner ApacTix. Price does not include entry to Sentosa or booking fees. Free entry for those under five and $5 for kids between five and 12.

He will start as the overwhelming favourite at the US$1 million (S$1.44 million) event co-sanctioned by the Asian and Japanese Tours that includes former Major champions Darren Clarke and Yang Yong Eun, as well as Welsh Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson.

Spieth's exhaustion is unsurprising, considering the punishing global schedule he has embarked on in recent months.

Since October, he has played in South Korea (The Presidents Cup), China (WGC-HSBC Champions), Australia (Australian Open), the Bahamas ( Hero World Challenge), Hawaii (Hyundai Tournament of Champions) and last week's Abu Dhabi event.

Assuming he qualifies for the Olympic Games in Rio in August, it is projected that he will log more than 200,000km in an 11-month stretch across every continent except Africa and Antarctica.

Spieth had admitted to being weary after his final round on Sunday, telling Golf Channel: "We are kind of beat up mentally. Physically, we're not 100 per cent right now.

"It shows in certain places, and this week, the first day I was here, I was striping it (hitting the ball a long way) and since then, I was just a little weak."

The demands from tournament sponsors - offering millions in appearance fees - is understandable.

He shot to international stardom last season on the back of two Major wins at the Masters and US Open. He added three more titles en route to becoming the planet's top-ranked golfer and banked in more than US$12 million - a PGA Tour single-season record.

HOPING TO PLAY TOURIST TOO

Just driving from the airport to the hotel, seeing the city, it looks like an amazing place. I really hope I get to see some of the city while I am here.

JORDAN SPIETH, on his first impressions of Singapore.

He has already begun 2016 in spectacular fashion by posting a 30-under winning score and romping to an eight-shot victory at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.

His body's energy levels might have dropped but his confidence remains sky high as he seeks a debut triumph at the Singapore Open.

He said: "I am really excited to be here and play this tournament for the first time."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'Tired Spieth still eyes title'. Print Edition | Subscribe