SAN FRANCISCO — It became a talking point as soon as he lifted the Claret Jug in victory three years ago at Royal Birkdale.
It remains one today for Jordan Spieth: completing golf’s career Grand Slam, with victories in all four major championships.
The PGA is the only tournament separating Spieth from the lofty club of players who have accomplished the feat.
“It’s something that I really want. It’s probably the No. 1 goal in the game of golf for me right now is to try and capture that,” Spieth said Tuesday after a practice round at TPC Harding Park, where the PGA Championship begins Thursday. “I’d love to be able to hold all four trophies, and this is the one that comes in the way right now.”
Of course, Spieth, 27, could use a victory anywhere.
The most recent of his 11 PGA Tour titles came at The Open in 2017, when he added to past victories in the Masters and U.S. Open, leaving only the PGA to complete the career slam.
Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won each of the four majors, with Nicklaus and Woods doing so three times each. Spieth would love to become the sixth to complete the feat this week.
Most would have had a hard time believing that he would go this long without another major, let alone a victory of any kind.
“If you told me that, I’d probably say that guy is kind of a jerk and I’d walk the other way, but here we are, and I hope to end that as soon as possible,” Spieth said.
When Spieth won The Open, he was ranked second in the world. Two years earlier, he had won five times, including the Masters and U.S. Open.
Now Spieth is ranked 62nd in the world. He has had just three top-3 finishes the past three seasons. His most recent top-5 finish was at the PGA Championship last year, when it was played in May.
“I almost feel at times like the game is testing me a little bit right now because I feel really good about the progress I’ve been making, and then it seems like I’ll really have one brewing, and then I’ll get where I used to hit a tree and go in the fairway, it’ll hit a tree and go off the cart path out of bounds, like it did during my most recent round,” Spieth said. “It just feels like I kind of here or there am taking some punches right now as I’m really progressing in the right direction.
“I feel like you can look at it a couple ways. You can get really upset and complain about it, which I’ve done, and that’s not helpful, or you can look at it like: Hey, this is part of the game testing you, and the better you handle these situations, the faster you progress forward.”
As for the career Grand Slam, Spieth said it doesn’t add any pressure.
“It didn’t really last year, and I had a chance coming in,” he said of the PGA at Bethpage. “That was probably my best chance to win so far, and it really didn’t have much extra effect on top of what major championships already add when you’re stepping on the tee Saturday and Sunday when you’re in contention.”