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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Spieth expects tough test at Ryder Cup

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Drama is almost guaranteed at a Ryder Cup. Just don’t expect there to be a barrage of birdies at Le Golf National this week.

Jordan Spieth says the venue for this year’s Ryder Cup is “one of the more difficult golf courses that we’ll play all year” and that “it may not be as exciting for the fans that are there watching.”

“I don’t think you’ll go anywhere else where you’ll see as many fist-pump pars as you’ll see this week,” Spieth said after a practice session two days before the start of the competition.

Le Golf National hosts the French Open every year on the European Tour. A total of 7-under 277 won it for Sweden’s Alex Noren in July, the lowest winning score to par on tour this season.

Spieth went the entire PGA Tour season without a victory, and he was the only American on the Ryder Cup team who failed to reach the Tour Championship but a U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup would still make this year feel like a success.

“I think if I came out and played really solid golf this week, I would feel like I accomplished a lot this year,” Spieth said. “I would feel like I went to places where I needed to build back up and learn a lot from my own game, and the Ryder Cup is a situation where you’re playing almost every hole with the same feel as you get on a major championship Sunday in contention.”

Spieth lost a share of the 54-hole lead at the British Open. He was on the verge of a record comeback at the Masters until he made bogey on the 18th hole for a 64 and settled for third place. Those were the lone highlights.

He struggled with his putting for the first half of the year and never really caught up. He thought his game was rounding into form until he played poorly at the BMW Championship and wound up 31st in the FedEx Cup.

“I just ran out of gas there,” Spieth said. “I should have taken more breaks in the playoffs this year, and I went something like 26 or 28 days from before New York through that Saturday afternoon of BMW, at least six-hour days on the course and gym.”

He took a week away from golf and then began slowly working his way back during the Tour Championship.

“I was able to get that rest, look back on the progression that was being made and continue that going forward,” he said. “I don’t wish that it happened considering it was the end of season. If it was the middle of the season, I would have looked at it like a blessing in disguise. But I certainly wish I was at East Lake, no question. If anything, I will not take that week for granted and work that much harder not to miss it again.”

The biennial Ryder Cup, pitting the top U.S. golfers against the best from Europe, begings Friday and runs through Sunday. The U.S. won the cup in 2016 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.

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