World No. 1 Spieth out to win Singapore Open on his debut
Spieth shows off an old head as he targets a win on his Singapore debut
He shifted in his seat, smiled, then shifted again.
World No. 1 Jordan Spieth spoke into the microphone, attempting to address the media at the Sentosa Golf Club yesterday, but the speakers stayed silent.
Looking perplexed, the 22-year-old shifted in his seat again - the only sign of discomfort he exhibited the entire time he faced the huge horde assembled ahead of the SMBC Singapore Open, which tees off tomorrow at the Serapong course.
Microphone issue sorted, the Texan, who three years ago was a promising youngster starting his first full year as a pro, held court.
Only five months ago, he ascended the highest perch in golf's world order, but already, Spieth spoke with the stoicism of a seasoned heavyweight.
"I don't think the label of No. 1 means anything extremely significant over being in the top few (in the rankings) and continuing to contend at major championships," he said, revealing that the US Masters was his favourite tournament.
But of course it is.
Spieth, the heavy favourite to win the Singapore Open on his debut, finished second at the famed Augusta National in 2014, moving for the first time into the top 10 in the world rankings.
He won the Green Jacket the following year, equalling Tiger Woods' 18-under winning record for the tournament set in 1997.
He also won last year's US Open, becoming the first player since Tiger in 2002 to achieve back-to-back victories at the two Majors.
Very quickly, Spieth discovered a whole new world at the top.
"Certainly after last season, people are more interested in what you're doing, day to day, each shot you hit.
"It actually puts into perspective just how special what Tiger Woods has done," said the young gun.
"Year in and year out for decades, he and Phil (Mickelson), guys who've had the spotlight on them in everything they do, questions asked on every bad shot they hit, every bad week they had, to be able to bounce back and play the way they did, it's pretty special."
Spieth finished tied for fifth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week, well behind winner Rickie Fowler, and admitted to being fatigued.
But being bested is not something he is going to put up with.
"I would argue that Rickie Fowler is the hottest name in golf right now... he beat all of us last week, so he's the best player right now, that's how I look at it," said Spieth.
"The rankings look at a two-year cycle, (but) for me, I was beaten by four guys last week. I need to get better, that's kind of my drive.
"I'm not satisfied if I don't have my best stuff from week to week - that's not going to happen - but it still leaves me wanting more."
Spieth is looking to take a leaf out of the Tiger manual - instead of fearing a fall off his perch, he is keeping his eye on the horizon.
"I'm more looking at long-term, I feel like things are going to change over the course of 20 years and, as long as I can keep myself healthy and playing at a high level, stay up near the top - hopefully at the top - it's a challenge," he said.
And that hold on golf's perch starts once again tomorrow at the Serapong course.
Sentosa Golf Club's president Low Teo Ping told The New Paper that there is already speculation that Spieth will shoot between 12 under and 20 under here, but the American is taking it all in his stride.
"Yeah, the goal is definitely to win this week," he said, with more assuredness than pride.
"If my body's tired, my body's been tired before... but there'll be no problem in picking myself up for this week."
Youth then shone through.
"I'm always excited for a tournament round. I've never once teed it up where I felt like I wanted the round to end," claimed Spieth.
"And I wouldn't trade it (being number one) for anything else."
For me, I was beaten by four guys last week. I need to get better, that’s kind of my drive. I’m not satisfied if I don’t have my best stuff from week to week — that’s not going to happen — but it still leaves me wanting more.
— World No. 1 Jordan Spieth
BY THE NUMBERS
3 Australia's Adam Scott is the only player with a hat-trick of Singapore Open victories with his 2010, 2006 and 2005 titles. Since the tournament's inception in 1961, there have been four other players with two wins - Australia's Frank Phillips (1961, 1965), Filipino Ben Arda (1967, 1973) and Taiwan's Hsieh Yung-yo (1968, 1970) and Lu Chien-soon (1983, 1989).