Spieth favours McIlroy to complete the grand slam before he does

Bernie McGuire

Jordan Spieth (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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For seven years now good friends Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have shared something in common.

That’s how long the Northern Irishman and the Texan have waited to capture the one major in their career they require to join golf’s elite Grand Slam Club.

Of course, it’s been nearly a decade since 2014 when McIlroy endeared himself to Open Championship fans by winning golf’s oldest major on the windswept Royal Liverpool course laid out along the Irish Sea.

McIlroy’s triumph was a third different win at the game’s highest level in a wonderful run of 14 consecutive major championships from capturing the 2011 US Open on Father’s Day, winning the 2012 PGA Championship and success in 2014 at Hoylake while he then made that four majors from 15 a month later in brightly emerging from near darkness to capture a second Rodman Wanamaker trophy at Valhalla in suburban Louisville, Kentucky.

And this week’s 88th hosting of The Masters will be McIlroy’s 16th showing on the Georgia golfing gem as he again desperatelty seeks to walk through the front door of that ‘Grand Slam Club’.

Unlike McIlroy, Speith owns an Augusta National member’s green jacket having been fitted into golf’s more famous items of clothing in 2015 by Bubba Watson.  What Speith doesn’t possess in a 16 tournament winning career is a Rodman Wanamaker trophy.

Spieth’s been close including his wonderful 2025 season when he won back-to-back Masters and US Open titles and then was T4 in The Open and runner-up in the PGA Championship, and when he arrives at Valhalla in some five weeks time it will be Speith’s 12th PGA Championship appearance.

While McIlroy will again very much the focus of Masters attention he was asked this week at the Valero Texas Open who he thought – Spieth or himself – a better chance to joining the Grand Slam Club

“I think from a purely preparation standpoint, he (Spieth) probably has the tougher road because the PGA site changes every year,” said McIlroy in San Antonio with good friend and colleague Art Stricklin writing for Sports Illustrated.

“But for mine, you’re coming off seven months without a major championship tournament, so it builds on its own. I would say there are pros and cons to both.”

When Spieth was approached with the same question he agreed with McIlroy and went as far as suggesting Augusta National sets-up ‘well’ for McIlroy.

“I wish Augusta was the course I need to complete the Slam with all the success I’ve had there, mine changes from year to year,” said Spieth.

“Sometimes I think it sets up really well for me, sometimes not at all.

“However, I always thought Augusta set up well for Rory with his ball flight and shot shape.  I think Augusta is a very athletic golf course where you see shots and shapes you don’t see the rest of the year. I’ve always been able to see the shapes of the greens. I see a lot of guys putting below the hole there, but that’s not my problem.

McIlroy has come close at the Masters, with four top-5 finishes including a second in 2022. But he hasn’t won a major championship of any kind since the 2014 PGA Championship, now a decade-long streak.

His preparation this year included a four-hour lesson with Butch Harmon in Las Vegas the week after the Players Championship and a two-day trip to the TaylorMade fitting center in Southern California for new irons, where he found a 4-iron that was put in play for the first time in Wednesday’s pro-am.

“When I go to Augusta, I just try to focus on the good memories and forget about the good ones,” said McIlroy.  “Also, Ben Crenshaw gave me some good advice once, just said to stay on the high line.

“If somebody says go shoot even par for four days there, you think you could do that, but if somebody says go shoot 67, you could easily shoot 75, because you start firing at pins. Good golf at Augusta feels like boring golf.”

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