Former champion Jordan Spieth has had to break with his traditional pre-tournament house-share, which he says has given him an old-school feel to Open week.
Since 2016 Spieth and his good friends Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner have all usually stayed in the same property with their wives, partners and a personal chef.
Together they have created an American college ‘frat’ house vibe with backyard baseball games, football, movie nights and eating food from home, and it has certainly been good for Spieth, who won the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale just a year after their first started rooming together.
Coronavirus protocols – stricter than those of United States-based tournaments – this week mean players are now restricted to a four-person bubble which can only be selected from a caddie, coach, manager, medical support, translator or a single family member.
While it has broken up the usual happy house prior to the only major outside of America, Spieth is trying to not let that affect his preparation.
“We normally have five or six of us in a house but obviously we can’t do that this year so everyone is with their own teams,” he told the PA news agency at Royal St George’s.
“It’s almost like the good old days. The first few Open championships we’d stay with just our team, play cards and have food delivered – it’s fun in some ways.
“This is the way it is this week, similar to the way to we did it the first few years.”
It does have other drawbacks, however, although none that cannot be overcome by a player whose estimated career winnings stand at more than £33million – not including endorsements and sponsorship deals.
“Financially it is nice when you are sharing with five or six guys in a big house and you have one chef for everyone,” he added.
“It makes it a really easy week. In that sense it is a little bit different.”
Since winning the Claret Jug four years ago, Spieth has managed ninth and 20th-place finishes.
After just one top-10 finish (third at the 2019 US PGA) in eight majors, he rediscovered some form to post third place at the Masters in April.
He could not maintain that form into the next two majors, finishing 30th and 19th at the US PGA and US Open respectively, but his performances outside golf’s premier events have suggested he is on the cusp of a return.
Since February he has registered one victory and six top 10s in 10 regular tour events and is feeling more confident as he returns to links golf.
“I love coming over here,” he said. “Even in the years I haven’t been in form, I seem to play well at Opens.
“I feel like I am coming in in better form than I have in previous years, coming in off a few weeks off, so hopefully there is very little to no rust.
“But I think the biggest thing coming over here is getting used to the speed of the greens; it’s slower – you have to make the adjustment and we have done a pretty good job over the years so we’ll get to work over the next day and a half.”