As Jordan Spieth prepares for the first round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass he is aware, from past experience, that the course has the capacity to bite.
"I don't have a great history the last few years here," he admitted. "But I've also played the course really well before and had a chance to win. I love this place. I love the golf course."
The stats explain his confusion. On debut in 2014 he held a share of the 54-hole lead prior to finishing fourth and in his three subsequent visits he has failed to break 70 and missed the cut every time.
"If you're not on you game there's a lot of small areas," Spieth said. "Small areas to hit your tee shots, small areas to hit your second shots, and you've really got to think through the place and let it come to you.
"This is not a place to go out and try and force birdies. I think that's kind of where I've gone the last few years and that's got me in trouble. I'll kind of approach it from a more patient viewpoint this year.
"I need Augusta patience where, if I'm out of position, the plan is to make my par and move on. I haven't approached this week like I approach major championship calibre golf and this golf course and this tournament are major championship calibre."
Spieth hasn't had a win since last July's Open Championship, but was third in both the Masters and the Houston Open on his last two individual outings. Strong play for some, frustration for the world number four.
"I put a lot of time into the Masters and then took time off afterwards," he said. "I wanted to really start working hard last week yet we didn't have great weather in Dallas. It stormed like three or four of the days of the week, so got kind of a bit of rest and work. Coming in here, I kind of feel like I'm free-wheeling."
Spieth is 16/1 to win the tournament outright, 10/1 to finish Top American and 10/11 to come out best in a 72-hole match against Justin Thomas.
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