‘Superhero’ Spieth hints at Europe after dream year

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Jordan Spieth of the US tees off during the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai on Friday. AFP PHOTO

Jordan Spieth of the US tees off during the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai on Friday. AFP PHOTO

SHANGHAI: Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) his rise to golf greatness in 2015 had been beyond his “wildest dreams” and hinted he could join the European Tour one day.

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Spieth came to Shanghai a year ago for the WGC-HSBC Champions with just one professional win. He now has eight including two majors in an astonishing run during which he briefly rose to become the world’s number one.

Spieth, currently ranked second in the world, said he was amazed to be greeted on arrival at the mega-city’s Pudong Airport for this year’s edition, which begins Thursday, by the sight of giant posters caricaturing him as a superhero alongside Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson.

“They had it in the baggage claim,” Spieth said at a news conference at Sheshan Golf Club.

“It was me, Rory [McIlroy] and Bubba [Watson] and Bubba was ‘The Magician’ and Rory was ‘Fire’ — I’m not sure exactly [McIlroy was actually ‘The Power’]— I was ‘Ice Man’ or something,” he laughed.

“It’s really cool to see golf have recognition and fans around the world — it’s a dream come true for me, it really is.

“And today to have young juniors walking in our [pro-am] group for 12 holes in the pouring rain, it’s just something that I pro-bably didn’t even see in my wildest dreams.”

Spieth started his amazing run of success last year with a win at the Australian Open in Sydney in November and backed that up with a massive 10-stroke victory over Sweden’s Henrik Stenson at the Hero World Challenge in Florida.

He went on to win the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship, The Masters, the US Open, the John Deere Classic and the season-ending Tour Championship.

Love traveling
He will return to Australia to defend his Open title later this month and said that he would continue globe-trotting in his quest for further success.

And that means he could dabble with European Tour membership in the future, something that fellow American Patrick Reed has done this year.

“I love traveling across the world to play golf. I think it’s cool to see the different golf courses, the different fans, the knowledge of the sport across the globe,” said the 22-year-old Spieth.

“I do want to play more golf in Europe. I do enjoy coming over to Asia as well, and I love my time in Australia. Who knows? This sport can take you anywhere.

“I’m not sure of the specifics of The European Tour, but I know that I do play at least eight or nine events a year that count towards that schedule.

“It sure would be something interesting to maybe look at in the future. I’m certainly busy enough as it is right now, so it’s not something I’m currently looking at, but you never know, down the road.”

Spieth tees off Thursday in the $8.5 million World Golf Championships event alongside defending champion and world number four Watson and seventh-ranked Stenson.

The star-studded 78-man field also contains top-10 players Rory McIlroy (third), Rickie Fowler (fifth) and Dustin Johnson (eighth) and 36 of the world’s top 50.

World number one and US PGA Champion Jason Day of Australia is skipping it, however, to be at home with his wife who is expecting their second child imminently.

AFP

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