Jordan Spieth plays down gutter talk as Rory McIlroy warms up for Masters

Jordan Spieth has said he did not deliberately hit his ball on to the ­clubhouse roof during the third round of the Texas Open.

Clips of Spieth went viral after events in San Antonio on Saturday afternoon. The Texan found the side of a ditch with his second shot to the par-five 18th. From there, he hit away from the hole and into ­guttering on the clubhouse; it was assumed he did it on purpose after he received a free drop. Rather than make the most of his freakish scenario, he three-putted the hole for a double bogey seven.

Speaking after round four, the 2015 Masters champion answered: “No, I didn’t,” when asked whether he had aimed for the roof. He added: “I should have just hit it left-handed out into the fairway.

“I asked the rules official, he told me there’s no out of bounds and that if you could get it up there and you know where it is, then you drop it by the scoreboard, which is better than if I were to hit it lefty up towards the fairway.

So I tried, it didn’t come out very good and sure enough I was left with the same kind of situation on the next shot.

“If I didn’t three-putt, I maybe felt like I would have saved a shot, but ultimately I could have just re-teed and made a better score. Yeah, it looks weird. I actually played a really, really solid tee-to-green golf course this week and of course a weird hole makes it look all crazy.”

Rory McIlroy heads to the Masters feeling better about his game. A win at Augusta would give him the career grand slam. Photograph: Brennan Asplen/Getty Images

The 30-year-old will head to the Masters in decent spirits after signing off with a 69 for a share of 10th. Rory McIlroy is in even finer fettle. The Northern Irishman made a Sunday 66, his lowest score of the week by three, to take third place. His fourth round included six birdies and was bogey free. Next stop, Georgia.

“I’m in a better place than I was a few weeks ago,” said McIlroy. “Through the Florida swing there was just a lot of volatility in my game, some good, some bad, quite a few big numbers, so I was just trying to tidy that up.

I’m always going to be able to hit good shots, it’s just how bad the bad ones are, and this week the bad ones were still in play and not too bad.”

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McIlroy said his mental approach will be key as he seeks a first Masters title. “Control of my emotions and my thoughts,” he said of his prime aim.

“If I can control those, it makes the physical control of everything a lot easier and a lot more simple. To me next week is all about discipline.”


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