Jordan Spieth’s main goal is to stay ahead of Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

World number one Jordan Spieth’s stellar year would be capped with victory in the multi-million dollar FedEx Cup but he admits his main focus is ensuring he stays ahead of Rory McIlroy.

The 22-year-old American won the first two majors of the year, contended in the other two, and has recorded two other victories.

That puts him well ahead of the field as the season enters its final four events, which culminate with the Tour Championship at East Lake with a 10million US dollars (£6.45million) prize on offer to the eventual champion.

He has emerged as the true challenger to McIlroy, who has four majors to his name, and proved that by overtaking the Holywood man as world number one after the US PGA Championship.

Spieth has every intention of keeping McIlroy at bay and he knows the only way to do that is to keep on winning.

“The only way I think about going about it is just focusing on this week,” Spieth said ahead of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey.

“If you win each week you’re going to stay number one and in my mind the goal is to approach each tournament to try to win and then try and keep this position for hopefully years.

“But again, it can change in two weeks’ time, so I’m aware of that. And that bit of fear on the back end of it is enough to get me going and to keep working hard.”

After making his major breakthrough this year, the season-ending finale, where money appears to be the greatest motivator, may seem something of an anti-climax for Spieth.

He admits it was not on his list of priorities and cannot possibly compare to the sport’s premier events but that does not mean he is not taking it seriously.

“I put winning the FedExCup below a major championship. I don’t think anybody holds it to the same level,” he added.

“There’s no doubt about it. It’s something I’d love to win some day.”

“The names on that trophy are no fluke and so it’s something that hopefully I get a lot of chances at. This will be my third chance.”

Golf’s newest major winner Jason Day, who triumphed at Whistling Straits a fortnight ago, withdrew from the pre-tournament pro-am as a precaution to rest a back problem.

“Jason tweaked his back moving an item under his motor coach last night,” said Cornel Driessen, Day’s physiotherapist and trainer.

Day is second in the FedEx Cup standings and tees off with Spieth and Bubba Watson.