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Jordan Spieth admits PGA Championship is toughest of golf's majors for him

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What used to be golf’s final major of the season is moving to may in two years at Bethpage Black on Long Island in 2019. USA TODAY Sports

CHARLOTTE – Jordan Spieth never advanced from the doorstep of history this week in the 99th edition of the PGA Championship.

The world No. 2, who was trying to become the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam, signed for another ho-hum round Saturday at Quail Hollow. Spieth shot an even-par 71 in the third round on a hot, humid day and with previous rounds of 72-73, stands at 3 over through 54 holes and well behind the leaders.

From the get-go, Spieth has been out of sorts at Quail Hollow. When his iron play was spot on, his putter was awry. When his driving was strong, his iron play was weak. He never got all three going at the same time, never got any momentum on a course that was extremely long and extremely hard.

The winner of the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and the British Open last month remained forthright, however, and following the round told the assembled reporters that the PGA Championship is the hardest major for him to win. Thus, the career Grand Slam is not a given even for the 24-year-old, who, barring injury, will have about 20 more cracks at it.

“The PGA Championship, I think, is going to be the toughest for me. If we look historically back on my career, I think I will play this tournament worse than the other three majors just in the way that it’s set up,” Spieth said. “I feel like my game truly suits the other three majors maybe more than a PGA Championship. But I believe we can play anywhere and can win anywhere.

“It’s just a matter of having everything in sync at the right time.”

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Among the 11 players who won three of the four majors, the PGA proved elusive for Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson. Palmer, who won seven majors, finished runner-up twice in the PGA and had four other top-10s; Watson, a winner of eight majors, lost in a playoff to John Mahaffey in the 1978 PGA Championship and had eight other top-10s.

Spieth’s best finish in his previous four PGA Championships came in 2015 when he got outdueled by Jason Day and finished second. He missed the cut in the first two he played and tied for 13th last year.

But Spieth’s glass remains more than half full when it comes to the PGA, no matter what he shoots in Sunday’s final round.

“I didn’t have it written in a diary from when I was young that I need to win a career Grand Slam as the youngest ever. That wasn’t the goal,” he said. “The goal was to try and win them all. The goal was to try and get on the PGA Tour and then from there see what happens. I have a lot of opportunities.”

After a week home in Dallas, Spieth starts a grueling stretch to complete the year. He will play in all four FedExCup Playoffs events and then the Presidents Cup in a six-week span.

With that in mind, Spieth isn’t just going to go through the motions in the final round of the PGA. He found something Saturday in the third round that has him confident once again with his putting stroke. And he’ll hope to find something that will aid him going forward in the final round.

“Obviously any week you don’t have a chance to win, you’ve fallen short of where you would like to be,” Spieth said. “Disappointing would have been going home after two days. I think I saw some highlights today.

“This is the start of the fourth quarter. At the U.S. Open on Sunday, I was out of it, but I gathered a little something off that Sunday round that led to two wins in two tournaments including a major. Just one round like that can do that. That’s what I’m looking to do here.”

GALLERY: This week at the PGA Championship

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