If Masters champion Jordan Spieth was asked to scribble down a list of his hallowed golf courses, Augusta National Golf Club would be at the top of his list.
And Chambers Bay ... well, would not.
Spieth first saw Chambers Bay at the 2010 U.S. Amateur. On the second day of stroke play, when USGA officials were still trying to get a handle of the course’s ultra-baked conditions during a warm August, the Dallas native shot an 11-over-par 83, and quietly bowed out of the championship as a 17-year-old.
Needless to say, the almost-unfair playing conditions left Spieth a bit chafed.
“The course was extremely difficult,” Spieth said during his press conference at The Players Championship on Wednesday. “I shot like 39-44 ... on it. The back nine was borderline unplayable for me at the time, given the length and lack of spin and height that I hit the ball.”
Spieth returned to play Chambers Bay under softer conditions in Augusta of 2013 - two weeks after his memorable first PGA Tour victory at the John Deere Classic - during caddie Michael Greller’s wedding weekend. He shot even-par 72 from the tips.
“The (course) changes had already been made to a few of the holes,” Spieth said. “I thought they were well done. I thought they were necessary, and well done.
Greller, who first started caddying as a schoolteacher at Chambers Bay, has already returned this spring to get a peek at the course after the changes.
“I think having Michael know it so well is an advantage. ... (He) has been out there walking it,” Spieth said. “He’s been walking with caddies; he’s been walking with a lot of people that know the course very well.
“He’s already got a yardage book and marked some numbers down. So that’s about as experienced as we can be over the field.
“I’m excited. It’s such a beautiful place. Everyone’s really going to enjoy the scenery.”