Jordan Spieth has hailed his career-long Australian mentor as “the best coach in the world” as the 21-year-old looks to pen another chapter in sport’s record books.
Spieth tees off at St Andrews on Thursday bidding to join the legendary Ben Hogan as only the second player ever to win golf’s first three major championships of the year.
“It would be amazing. It would be something I’d never forget,” Spieth said on Wednesday.
“I’ve watched The Open Championships here at St Andrews and I don’t think there’s anything more special in golf than playing an Open Championship at the home of golf.
“I’m extremely excited. It would mean the world to me to try and win this championship and to do it here would be even more special.”
But the American prodigy admits he wouldn’t be shooting for golf’s grand slam if it wasn’t for Cameron McCormick.
Now 42, McCormick turned to coaching after the 1997 Texas Tech graduate’s own professional career floundered.
He discovered Spieth at 12 after moving to Dallas.
A decade on and Spieth says he wouldn’t trade McCormick for a Butch Harmon or David Leadbetter or anyone else in the world.
“He’s, I believe, the best coach in the world and he works as hard as anybody or harder and I have full and complete trust. I wouldn’t be here without him,” said the reigning Australian Open, US Masters and US Open champion.
Spieth’s extraordinary mental strength under intense major pressure has been likened to Tiger Woods’ in his pomp.
The world No.2 says growing up playing one-on-one sport with his bigger, older brother no doubt helped, but he also credits McCormick for his influence on that part of his game.
“I would also draw it to Cameron and his `aim small, miss small’ philosophy, where the more pressure you feel in the heat of the moment, the smaller of a target that you can pick,” Spieth said.
“Your misses are going to be smaller. It’s easy for your mind to just see a fairway and have your mind wander to how can I just hit this fairway.
“What comes to my mind is `how can I zero in even more and more and more?’
“It’s worked out tremendously. That’s Cameron’s mental approach, and it works for me.”
Spieth admits it’s impossible to block out what’s at stake at St Andrews this week.
“I like to study the history of golf and I think it’s extremely special what this year has brought to our team and to have a chance to do what only one other person in the history of golf has done doesn’t come around very often,” he said.
“I’m sure embracing that opportunity but by the time I start on Thursday, it won’t be in my head.
“It’ll be about how can I bring this Open Championship down to just another event, get out there and try and get myself into contention.”