Spieth eyeing career Grand Slam at PGA Championship

Jordan Spieth is eyeing the career Grand SlamJordan Spieth has a chance to accomplish something only Tiger Woods has done: win all four major tournaments by the age of 24. Spieth set himself up for the milestone by winning the British Open in July, having already won the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2015, and he can complete the Grand Slam with a PGA Championship win at Quail Hollow.

Only five people have achieved a career Grand Slam since the Masters Tournament began in 1934, and only two of them—Woods and Jack Nicklaus—have done so before turning 30. Nicklaus was 26 when he won the 1966 British Open to complete the feat, and Woods bested that by two years in 2000 as part of a stretch from the 1999 PGA Championship to the 2002 U.S. Open when he won seven of 11 majors.

Spieth’s recent performance has not been nearly as dominant, but he is second on the 2017 PGA money list with nearly $7 million from three wins and seven top-10 finishes. His three major tournament victories since 2015 are two more than any other golfer, and he leads the tour in birdies per round. He isn’t the most powerful or accurate with his driver, but he’s able to reach the green in regulation with consistency and his putting is among the best in the sport.

But Spieth isn’t the favourite to win the weekend at Quail Hollow, which has proved to be a very kind course to Rory McIlroy. A career Grand Slam has eluded McIlroy due to his inability to win the Masters, but his record at Quail Hollow suggests he could be on his way to a third PGA Championship. McIlroy’s first tour victory happened at Quail Hollow in 2010, and he lost in a playoff there two years later before winning again in 2015. He seems to especially enjoy playing the course’s longer holes, scoring incredibly well on the three par 5s.

Quail Hollow’s overall length, along with the rain in the forecast for all four days of the tournament, will benefit the bigger hitters like McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka. The rain should also slow the greens down enough to make them more forgiving. Spieth will have an uphill battle to make history, but winning a major was never supposed to be easy.