Jordan Spieth admits the enormity of being crowned Open champion 12 months ago hit him like a punch “in the gut”.
The American won his third major, and his first Claret Jug, courtesy of an eventful final round in which he lost and then regained the lead with a run of birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par over his closing five holes to edge out Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar.
Spieth said the 72nd-green announcement of him becoming Champion Golfer of the Year was like being hit in the stomach – in a good way.
“When those words were spoken on the green at Birkdale, it just kind of hit me,” he said ahead of his arrival at Carnoustie for the 147th Open Championship.
“It was almost like someone had kind of punched me in the gut in the best way possible.
“Just you need to realise how special this is and embrace what it means.
“I look forward to teeing it up at Carnoustie, having those chills go through me as I step to the first tee and remember the year before, and obviously get focused and try to do it again.”
His fears were confirmed as he was forced to take a penalty for an unplayable lie, which was when things got interesting.
He spent the next 20 minutes looking for a suitable dropping area which resulted in him heading to the driving range, smashing a blind shot over the equipment trucks and into a greenside bunker from where he made a bogey.
It made for enthralling viewing, something which Spieth had to relive himself 24 hours later.
“I got home to Dallas the next day, and I couldn’t help but turn on the final round and fast-forward until the tee-shot on 13,” he added.
“I was like ‘I don’t even know exactly what happened on that tee-shot’ and then from there, after five minutes looking for the ball, I got pretty annoyed.
“For me it went by pretty quickly because it was ‘Okay, decision here, decision here, now I need to drop here, now I need…but with the coverage, with the commercials, they come back and it seems like we haven’t even moved.
“That was kind of tough to watch. I had no idea where that third shot actually landed until I watched the coverage.
“It was kind of funny, for me, as from the tee-shot to the third shot everything went faster than what it seemed when I was watching it.
“But then after the 13th hole, everything went slower to me than on TV.”
Such a recovery may not be possible this time around as Carnoustie has a sting in the tail, as 71-hole leader Jean van de Velde famously discovered when he took off his shoes and socks as he contemplated hitting his third shot out of the Barry Burn on his way to eventually losing a play-off to Paul Lawrie.
“I don’t have any memory of the ’99 Open, unfortunately.
“But 2007, I definitely do. I remember watching Sergio (Garcia) and Padraig (Harrington) going at it and I remember that 18th hole.
“That was kind of the height of me starting to fall in love with the game and travel and play.”
Know more about Sport360 Application