Spieth inspired by commitment of Fed, Djokovic

Tennis stars' hunger and consistency fire up world No. 1's desire to dominate golf too

PACIFIC PALISADES (California) • Jordan Spieth wants to emulate the relentless drive of tennis icons Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as he aims to cement his place at the pinnacle of world golf.

After a dominant 2015, which saw him seal back-to-back Major victories at the Masters and US Open before a fourth-placed finish at the British Open and a second at the PGA Championship, the American has already won his first tournament this year.

The 22-year-old Texan will be chasing his second victory of 2016 when he tees off today in the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in the wealthy Los Angeles enclave of Pacific Palisades.


Almost like a mountaineer about to plant a flag on a peak, Jordan Spieth pulls the pin flag on the 18th hole during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Feb 13. He will be looking for his second victory of 2016 when he tees off today in the Northern Trust Open. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WORTH EMULATING

When they were No. 1, it seemed like that almost fuelled them to want to work even harder, which you don't necessarily see everywhere...

JORDAN SPIETH, acknowledging the dedication of the two tennis stars.

On Tuesday, the world No. 1 said the enduring hunger and consistency of Federer, Djokovic and other leading lights of men's tennis had inspired his own career path.

"It's really amazing how anywhere from two to five tennis players at a time can just completely carry the sport," Spieth said.

"It's bizarre. It seems like you've got three of the top four ranked players always in the semi-finals.

"You can certainly take a lot from those guys and understanding that, even when they were No. 1, it seemed like that almost fuelled them to want to work even harder, which you don't necessarily see everywhere across the board in life.

"I mean, a lot of times you get to the top of where you want to be and it's just kind of like a deep breath out. These guys were just starting their breath. It's pretty cool. Federer just handles himself with complete class.

"Djokovic (has done it) with his fire and just absolute crazy athletic display he's been showing over the last decade."

Spieth is relishing the opportunity to play at Riviera this week, a course he has played on nearly 30 times over the course of five tournaments in the past.

"It's one of my favourites in the entire world. I was out yesterday and it's just in spectacular shape," he said.

Last year, he narrowly missed a play-off on the final Sunday, eventually settling for a share of fourth.

Since then, he has registered six victories and established himself at the head of an exciting new generation of golfers ruling the game.

Spieth attributed his success to a general improvement in consistency and experience.

"It's all (become) a bit more consistent," he said. "My confidence in my entire game, when pressure comes on, I can now really relate and look back to a lot of key moments where I've hit shots in the past when the pressure has been on where I felt like I did what I wanted to do.

"That on its own is kind of a priceless experience that I can then get up and do it again... whether it's driving it or striking an iron shot, that's definitely improved when the pressure is on."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'SPIETH INSPIRED BY COMMITMENT OF FED, DJOKOVIC'. Print Edition | Subscribe