Sentry Tournament of Champions: Jordan Spieth on Open nerves and marriage proposal

Spieth confirmed he and Annie Verrett are engaged ahead of the opening PGA Tour event of the New Year – the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

The Texas-born couple hinted they were engaged when a twitter photo appeared on Christmas Eve and with Verrett proudly sporting an engagement ring on his finger.

But when asked what was more difficult trying to or getting down on one knee to ask Verrett to be his wife, the world No. 2 did not hesitate in singling out dealing with Royal Birkdale’s inward half.

“I was probably most nervous at the British,” he said smiling.

“I was pretty confident this past winter. But yeah, it was a good off-season. I forget how I felt the back nine of Chambers (Winning 2015 U.S. Open) but the British is still fresh, engagement is still fresh. I’ll probably at some point end up forgetting (nerves) at the British, but I won’t probably forget the engagement.”

But while Spieth managed to fight back from a wild drive right off the 13th tee and deny fellow American Matt Kuchar to the oldest trophy in the Majors, it was not all smooth sailing in the build-up to proposing as Spieth revealed he was battling an illness and considered delaying the big moment.

“Fortunately I had a backup plan,” he said.

“But I woke up and felt good that day and went through with it.  My brother, Steven, who was playing basketball overseas, was home for the holidays, and Annie’s sister was in town.

“So we had our families there afterward, and it was a great night.”

And ahead of teeing-up in the ‘winner’s only’ event in Hawaii Speith looked back on his Royal Birkdale triumph declaring victory along the shoreline just to the south of Southport did ‘wonders’ for the now 24-year old American’s golfing stature.

“The Open Championship just did wonders for me, individually, not only my view of myself but being the man in the arena,” he said.

“I’m the one out there putting it on the line every week. I’m going to fail and learn, I’m going to succeed. But I’m the one in the arena.

“In general, there are going to be critics and people who disagree with the way you do things but I think I’m in a great place and starting 2018.

“I’m ready for anything. I’m ready for failure, success and everything in between.”

With three major victories and a couple of other close calls under his belt, Spieth knows he will face stiff competition in 2018 from fellow 20-somethings like compatriot Justin Thomas, the defending champion this week at Kapalua.

“The unknowns are very exciting right now with the amount of depth and talent at a younger age, mixed with guys in their 30s, number one in the world DJ (Dustin Johnson),” said Spieth.

“Obviously the major question, what’s it going to be like with Tiger coming back,” he added in reference to 14-times major champion Woods, who hopes to play a full schedule after a back fusion operation last April.

“It’s a pretty special time to be a part of professional golf.”

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