Spieth stands on the brink of history. On Sunday evening, he could be the youngest golfer ever to complete a grand slam of major titles. Timing is everything; Spieth only completed the third element of that haul, at the Open Championship, less than three weeks ago. The 24-year-old’s euphoria after Royal Birkdale has not yet subsided.
“I just don’t feel it. It’s not a burning desire to have to be the youngest to do something and that would be the only reason there would be added expectations. If I don’t win this in the next 10 years, maybe there’s added pressure then and hopefully we don’t have to have this conversation in 10 years. If we do, then it might be a different.
“But it was only weeks ago that I was able to get the third leg, and that’s so fresh in my mind. I’m so happy about that, that I can’t add pressure to this week. I’m here so I’m going to go ahead and try but I believe I’m going to have plenty of chances. I’m young enough and I believe in my abilities that it will happen at some point.
“I’m free-rolling and it feels good. I’m about as free and relaxed at a major as I think I’ve ever felt. Maybe since Chambers Bay, arriving at Chambers Bay after the  Masters. It was almost like ‘I’ve accomplished something so great this year that anything else that happens, I can accept.’ That takes that pressure, that expectation away.” And at Chambers Bay? Spieth won the US Open.
Nonetheless, the theory a long, soft venue plays perfectly into McIlroy’s hands, with Spieth’s inexperience here counting against him, is offset by two things. The first is Spieth’s ability to rapidly decode golf courses, which has a solid basis in history with Augusta National and St Andrews, two such places he has done exactly that. The second came when the Texan offered a fresh view on what precise skills will be required over the coming days.
“There is sub air here in 15-month old greens,” Spieth explained. “My drives are sticking, everyone’s are sticking. They stop where they land. I’m hitting two extra clubs into greens.
“But the greens aren’t like the fairways. The greens are firm and they are grainy. You can land balls within three paces of each other and end up 40ft apart. You have to have unbelievable distance control out there to get the ball close to pins. So it’s going to be a challenge to have close birdie putts.”
McIlroy showed his power during a practice session on Wednesdayin which he continually drove balls out of a driving range measuring 350yds. It is undoubtedly the duel most golf fans would cherish on Sunday; Spieth versus McIlroy, a battle which has been sadly missing from the denouement of recent majors.
He won this tournament by eight shots. Obviously that doesn’t come from playing too safe. Even when he had the lead, he kept his foot on the gas pedal. He’s done that for dozens of worldwide victories. If you’re matched up on Sunday, and you get to choose somebody, you obviously want to be able to play against somebody like Rory who has four major championships and is one of the most accomplished players in this field. But he is one to fear in that position because of what he’s capable of doing and how he’s going to do it.”
It was a sad counterpoint that Woods, who won this championship four times, was subject to a court hearing for a driving under the influence charge as Spieth et al completed final preparations. Community service and a rehabilitation programme beckon for Woods. Meanwhile his sport moves on apace, with Spieth in the vanguard.