Jordan Spieth hopes the imagination required to play bone-dry Carnoustie will bring out his best as he defends his title at the British Open this week.
After returning on Monday a replica of the Old Claret Jug — which champions are allowed to keep for 51 weeks — Spieth spoke about how his game had become bogged down by technical thoughts during his busy stretch of tournaments in May and June.
But refreshed after three weeks off — spent partly on a beach holiday in Mexico — the American three-times major champion is ready to go again and upbeat about his prospects.
“I needed a break,” Spieth told reporters on Monday. “I was kind of dragging along and playing a pretty heavy schedule and I needed to get away from the game, which I did.
“Coming to an Open championship requires a lot of feel and imagination and I think that’s what I needed a bit of in my game.
“I’d gotten very technical and very into making everything perfect instead of the way I normally play.”
Carnoustie, baked-out after a summer drought, will certainly provide a starkly different test than American players routinely face on the invariably lush and soft courses served up almost weekly on the PGA Tour.
The parched fairways should allow Spieth to play to his strength, which is precision iron play and a deft short game, and he spent last week honing his technique at home in Texas.