SHANGHAI—Double major-winner Jordan Spieth said Tuesday that it was too early to talk of a new era in the game despite a year when he led the charge of the young guns.
The 22-year-old won the season’s first two majors, the US Masters and the US Open, and had a series of titanic battles against 28-year-old Jason Day of Australia, who finally turned the tables on Spieth to lift the US PGA Championship in August.
Spieth went on to win the FedEx Cup and another young American Rickie Fowler, 26, had a breakthrough season in which he won three times including the prestigious $10 million Players’ Championship at Sawgrass and rose into the world’s top five.
“It’s a bit premature to say that it’s our era,” Spieth told AFP after he had indulged in some Chinese drumming alongside Fowler, Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson to launch this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.
“But I believe that we made a step in the right direction and if we can ride with that it’ll be significant,” the young Texan added.
Three-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who is only 26 himself, had a season interrupted by a football-related injury but still heads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings and completes a youthful top three in the rankings with Day and Spieth.
Spieth said McIlroy was still the one they were chasing, and if it was anyone’s era now it was the Northern Irishman’s.
- McIlroy tummy bug -
“For Rory it’s different because he’s been consistent for quite a few years now. Jason and I have played solid golf, but to create an era you need to do it for a decade,” said Spieth.
“We have the potential to do it. But this was the first year of it. Unless we keep our heads down and work, and it drives us, and we get the luck... there’s lot of factors in order to create it.” AFP
McIlroy skipped the launch event on the roof of Shanghai’s Peninsula hotel overlooking the Huangpu river after suffering from a stomach bug after practice Tuesday.
“Rory just needs a rest and he’ll be back for the pro-am tomorrow,” McIlroy’s manager Sean O’Flaherty told AFP. “He’s picked up a tummy bug but it’s nothing to worry about.
“He’s gunning to win this week,” added O’Flaherty.
While McIlroy took to his sick bed as a precaution, there were almost two other casualties among the world’s top 10 when Fowler and Stenson were almost speared by a drumstick that snapped and barrelled towards them as the Chinese drummers went through their paces.
The broken piece thumped into the sponsor’s board just beside Stenson’s head, but the Swede took it in good humour.
“I’ve got my full team of lawyers working on it. Expect HSBC to be closed down tomorrow,” the world number seven joked afterwards.
“I just saw it out of the corner of my eye, Rickie flinched and then it hit the board and landed beside me,” he explained.
“It was sharp, like when you split a broomstick. So it could have been a very exciting start to the week.”
The WGC-HSBC Champions begins on Thursday at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai.
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