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Jordan Spieth relishing Carnoustie test ahead of The 147th Open

4:18 pm, 16th July 2018

The American, who won his third major when he triumphed by three shots at Royal Birkdale last year, was at Carnoustie on Monday to return the Claret Jug to R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers.

Spieth had not been out on the course when he spoke to the media, but he expects it to provide a testing challenge following the warm and dry weather in recent weeks after speaking to some of his fellow players and caddie Michael Greller.

“I haven’t played one hole yet,” Spieth said. “I talked to a couple of my friends and they said it’s extremely baked out. Michael said you might wear out your four or five irons off the tee instead of hitting three or two irons like you’re used to.

“And then you might kind of wear out your mid-irons, somewhere like six to nine irons if you play to the fat spots. I think a couple of longer hitters might take driver a little more because I don’t think the rough’s as bad. But I’m not sure what my strategy will be yet. I’m sure it will be up there with the firmest conditions I’ve ever seen.

“I love links golf, I very much enjoy coming over here. The firmest might have been the Open at Muirfield [in 2013], the weather was perfect that week and it baked out but there wasn’t much wind.

“So if we get wind with these kind of firm conditions, that would be certainly a treat.”

The 24-year-old world No 6 is hoping the weather remains fine later in the week as he is wary of the damage one spell of bad weather can do if players find themselves out on the course during it.

He added: “Hopefully we get a pretty even draw; that’s the one thing The Open can bring, you can eliminate half the field with one afternoon of bad weather Thursday or Friday, which is always disappointing to come over here and have that happen if you’re on the wrong side, obviously. Pretty nice on the right side.

“But it looks to be a normal one this year, and you’ll see guys playing this golf course very differently. You’ll see a lot of different strategies.”

One man who does want tough conditions this week is England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, who would settle for a repeat of 1999 at Carnoustie when a combination of a severe course set-up and bad weather sent scores soaring, with Paul Lawrie eventually winning after a play-off.

“In my ideal world I would love it to be like it was when they put all the fertiliser on the rough and it grew six-foot high,” said the 23-year-old.

“I’m sure I’m the only one thinking that, but then I’m the one who thought the USGA did a great job in the US Open and I loved playing Shinnecock Hills the way it was. That’s obviously just me.”

Fitzpatrick finished in a tie for 12th at Shinnecock Hills last month, where the USGA admitted it had gone “too far” with aspects of the course set-up after round three.

“When everything is on, any of the majors is a good chance to win, but for me personally it depends on how they set the courses up,” he added. “You look at Erin Hills for the US Open two years ago and I never stood a chance. I hit 80 per cent of fairways and was still minus six in strokes gained driving.

“Whereas Shinnecock I felt was right up my street. It was tight off the tee, the greens were tricky, it required good putting and I feel like it’s much more my cup of tea.”