The PGA Tour players consider the Players Championship the fifth major even if it isn’t recognized as such. In fact, for three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, the Players Championship is harder to win than other majors.
Speaking at TPC Sawgrass in preparation for the Players Championship, Spieth let it be known to that winning this tournament is as hard as any other in golf.
“We look at this tournament up there in about equal value with the major championships,” Spieth said. “The only thing that holds it away from being a major is simply people jotting down how many majors people won.
“I mean, it is one of the toughest tests in golf, with potentially the best field in golf. I think it is the best golf in all of golf. If you win here, you can win anywhere else. There is no added thing that any other tournament brings that this tournament doesn’t have.
“Therefore, guys like Rickie (Fowler), who kind of catches some slack for having not won a major yet, essentially he’s won what’s harder to win than a major: The Players.”
Spieth was a busy man Tuesday making the media rounds. In addition to his press conference at the TPC Sawgrass, he also spoke via video conference with assembled media in the Hartford, Conn. area as the winner of last season’s Travelers Championship. Spieth talked about his win at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands last season, punctuated by holing out from a sand wedge in a playoff, and for his game this year.
Spieth, who has 11 professional wins before the age of 25, has yet to win this season. That is in stark contrast to some of his rivals in Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm, both of whom have two wins this season. Rory McIlroy also has a victory on the PGA Tour this season, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Spieth is feeling the heat as he enters the Players.
“I went through a lot at beginning of the year, sick to start the year, and I gave myself some leeway,” Speith said. “I feel like I am on the right path, everything is there tee to green, around greens, everything is good as it has ever been.”
“I believe it is coming; I am on the right path now.”
Spieth has only played one tournament since his run at the Masters, which included a final round 64. He played two weeks ago in the team event Zurich Classic and didn’t make the cut after finishing 17 and 18 on Friday in disastrous fashion.
Spieth plans on a busy May and June leading up to the U.S. Open and then a week later coming to the Travelers in Connecticut.
“A lot of it comes down to trying to peak for major championships,” Spieth added. “In the meantime, I have certain goals. Try and win a tournament before I get into Augusta. Same at U.S. Open. Just, trying to peak for those weeks, and grinding, if I can give myself a chance to win, that’s the best practice for a major.
It worked well for him last year.
Spieth did not take the week off after the U.S. Open at Erin Hills and made his first appearance at the TPC River Highlands, in Cromwell, Connecticut. He went to win that tournament in a playoff with perhaps the shot of the year on the PGA Tour.
Spieth then took nearly a month off and went to Royal Birkdale and won the British Open in his next start.
“I was running off a confidence high, into a nice break, and still had great vibes,” Spieth said. “I had adversity with Travelers…without Travelers (victory), it’s a different situation at Birkdale.”
Spieth has a big late spring ahead, and it starts this week at TPC Sawgrass. The injuries and illness of the early season are behind him, and he is aiming to join the world’s best in the win column some point very soon.
“I would like to get in the winner’s circle, take a breath and play with house money,” Spieth said. “I am going to be patient with it.”