Spieth enjoys status of being underdog for Masters
JORDAN Spieth says he is happy to take an unexpected underdog status into the Masters in two weeks, courtesy of the hype around Tiger Woods' captivating injury comeback.
Spieth, the 2015 US Masters champion and twice runner-up at Augusta National, has not won since his dramatic British Open victory in July.
As a result the three-time major champion has slipped down the odds list for the year's first major, while Woods has firmed into outright favourite courtesy of consecutive top-five results in his past two US PGA Tour starts.
His resurgence has captured the sporting world's attention, given Woods 10 months on the sidelines last year while recovering from spinal fusion surgery.
Four-time Masters winner Woods iced his last event before Augusta with a vintage final-round charge to share fifth at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Speaking in Texas ahead of the World Golf Championships-Match Play, Spieth has found a silver lining to being out of the spotlight.
"Only a month or two ago I might have been tied for the favourite with DJ (Dustin Johnson) and now I'm not even on the board," Spieth joked.
"Man, it's nice being an underdog at Augusta. I haven't been since 2014."
The 2018 edition is one of the most anticipated Masters in history, with a host of big names finding form this year.
Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson broke a winless drought of almost five years when he claimed the WGC-Mexico Championship earlier this month.
Other winners on the US Tour this year include Bubba Watson, the 2012 and 2014 Masters champ, as well as world No.1 Johnson and big guns Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.
The potential showdown is not lost on 24-year-old Spieth.
"The storylines heading into this year's Masters are as exciting as they've been in a long time," he said.
"It's more incentive to want to be a part of that mix Sunday."
McIlroy, Spieth and Mickelson are prime candidates to complete golf's coveted career grand slam (the four major championships) this year.
Having laid down the marker with a stunning three-shot victory at the Palmer event, Northern Irishman McIlroy gets first crack as the Masters is the only major trophy he hasn't lifted.
"Even if I hadn't won last week, just to see the signs my golf game was in good shape was good enough going into Augusta," McIlroy said.
"I've had three goes at winning the slam - this will be my fourth.
"But I only get one opportunity a year at Augusta, so hopefully I put the last piece of the puzzle in there and get it done this year."