Golf

Jordan Spieth under Tom Watson's Ryder Cup spotlight

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Watson will play at the RBC Heritage alongside potential Ryder Cup debutant Jordan Spieth (©GettyImages)
Watson will play at the RBC Heritage alongside potential Ryder Cup debutant Jordan Spieth (©GettyImages).

Jordan Spieth will get the chance to put the immediate disappointment of failing to see out a three-shot lead at the Masters by trying to impress American Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson this week when the two tee it up together at Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage. 

Spieth, just 20 years old, could have become the youngest ever player to win a Green Jacket last Sunday after he lead by three strokes with 11 holes to play at Augusta. 

However, a string of three bogeys in five holes allowed 2012 champion Bubba Watson to steal in to claim his second Masters title in three years. 

Now Spieth - who admitted he was stung by his failure to see out the tournament - has the chance to stake his claim for a place at Gleneagles as a Ryder Cup debutant after he was paired with the veteran Watson for the tournament's opening rounds in South Carolina. 

“Any time you get a chance to play with those kinds of guys, it really is a humbling experience for me,” Spieth told PGATour.com, who was happy to have achieved one of his goals of contending in a major this year - which at his age, shows the self belief he has in his own game.

“Hopefully I can talk to both of them about different things, whether it's the Masters from last week and them in major championships and how they handled certain things after, or whether it's just about the round and going forward.”

Spieth will be closely under the spot light of both captain and vice captain of the US team, with Davis Love III - the losing captain at Medinah last time out - also paired alongside him. 

With Europe having won five of the last six matches on either side of the Atlantic, America are hungry for revenge - especially with the last two matches in Chicago and at Celtic Manor being decided by a single point. 

The USGA bringing in Watson to captain their side is a sign of how serious they are about reclaiming it, and with Spieth displaying the same type of form that saw him rise from 813th in the world to 22nd last year (he's now ninth in the Official Golf Rankings), the 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year could have a huge part to play in Scotland this autumn. 

Watson said: "I like the way he’s played the game.

“He's got a passion and, I have to laugh, sometimes he gets up there and he hits a bad shot, and says ‘That's real close,’ when it’s about 40 yards off the line. That's exactly what I would say just muttering to yourself.

“He makes me relive some of the memories that I had when I was his age playing the game out here.”

Spieth could be in no better company coming off the back of his disappointment last weekend, with Watson mixing his share of success and heartache in the sought after major championships. 

At Turnberry in 2009, the eight-time major winner narrowly missed out on becoming the oldest man to ever win one after he lead heading to the final hole. He could only manage a bogey though, meaning he and compatriot Stewart Cink were tied, the latter prevailing in a three-hole playoff as the strain of 72 holes in four days began to take its toll on Watson. 

Spieth, who's already won on the Tour, will now look to build on his tied-second finish in Georgia to secure his place on the plane to Gleneagles.  

The RBC Heritage starts on Thursday with Europe's Graeme McDowell looking to defend the title he won 12 months ago. 

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Topics:
Graeme McDowell
Ryder Cup
Golf
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