19-year-old Spieth focuses on British Open

PGA Tour pro Jordan Spieth reacts to chipping in for a key birdie at the John Deere Classic.
PGA Tour pro Jordan Spieth reacts to chipping in for a key birdie at the John Deere Classic. (TODD MIZENER / The Dispatch)
Posted: July 18, 2013

GULLANE, Scotland - Jordan Spieth has a problem that would be a major irritation to most teenagers.

His cellphone keeps cutting out since he arrived in Scotland.

"Honestly, my service plan is not working too hot over here," Spieth said Tuesday, strolling slowly toward the lunch tent at Muirfield.

But Spieth isn't like most teens.

This past weekend, the 19-year-old from Texas became the youngest PGA Tour winner in 82 years.

Within hours, he was on a charter flight across the Atlantic, where he'll play in his first British Open beginning Thursday.

And, thanks to that spotty phone service, he hasn't been able to spend too much time dwelling on his grueling, landmark victory in the John Deere Classic.

That's not a bad thing, either.

"It's interesting not being able to watch any of it, to not be able to see some of the responses I would normally want to see afterward," Spieth said.

"I can refocus, think of it as just another week. I can reflect on [the John Deere win] more after this week. But today, I had to turn my attention here because it's one of the biggest weeks of the year."

Seems as though he'll handle the pressure just fine.

Spieth turned pro after just one season at the University of Texas, intent on earning his Tour card even though he didn't have status on any circuit.

Instead, Spieth has already played in 16 tournaments, finishing in the top 10 five times before his breakthrough victory in America's heartland.

It didn't come easy.

He needed what will surely be remembered as one of the shots of the year - holing out from a greenside bunker on the 72d hole for a birdie that pushed him into a three-man playoff.

Then, on the fifth extra hole, Spieth finally finished off David Heard and Zach Johnson.

The most immediate benefit was earning a spot at Muirfield.

Tiger talks

Tiger Woods said his ailing left elbow is fine, and insists there's no loss of confidence despite the longest stretch of his career without a major title.

The last of his 14 major championships came more than five years ago at the 2008 U.S. Open.

The biggest question mark for Woods is his elbow.

This will be his first tournament since he strained it last month at the U.S. Open.

Woods said it was a good decision to take some time off - especially getting ready to play on the hard ground at Muirfield.

"I needed to have this thing set and healed, and everything is good to go," Woods said.

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