San Antonio, Texas: Jordan Spieth enters the Texas Open off a victory at the Valspar Championship two weeks ago and a chance to better his 2014 runner-up Masters debut only two weeks away.
Spieth shared second with Jonas Blixt at Augusta National last year while Bubba Watson won his second green jacket in three tries, but the 21-year-old Texan feels like he`s in a better position entering this year`s Masters than in 2014.
"All-in-all very confident about where I`m at going in," Spieth said Wednesday. "I feel better going in than I did last year. Last year at this point I`d actually had a really good season. I had a couple of chances to close tournaments out early in the year, even a World Golf Championship, and didn`t quite get there.
"But this year I feel a little better having closed that tournament out. I also missed the cut in Houston last year, so I went in with some questions, I guess, right off an early finish.
"But hopefully this year I can play eight tournament rounds prior to arriving on the grounds. My swing feels better. Putting stroke is getting there. I putted well the last two weeks. But that`s just going to be a whole other thing once you get on those slick greens."
Spieth has started looking ahead to his career goals after wins in the past four months at the Australian Open, Hero World Challenge and Valspar.
And not surprisingly, right now top-ranked Rory McIlroy is the target as he prepares to seek a third consecutive major triumph at the Masters, where he can complete a career grand slam.
"I would like to at some point be the number one ranked player in the world. That`s the pinnacle of golf," Spieth said. "I`d like to win at least one major championship, try to get one before we look forward from there.
"But ultimately I`d like to be one of the best players to ever play the game. I don`t think that`s a conceited statement. I think it`s just something that I`ve always wanted to be since I was a kid and I`m really lucky that I do have a chance to do it."Making his final tuneup ahead of the Masters this week is reigning US Open champion Martin Kaymer of Germany. It`s the second time he arrives at Augusta as a major champion, having won the 2010 PGA Championship before missing the cut for the fourth try in a row in the 2011 Masters.
"The course and me, we had a little bit of up-and-downs in our relationship," Kaymer said. "And then we`re getting to know each other very well now. We`re becoming friends."
Kaymer was 44th in 2012, 35th in 2013 and 31st last year in the only major where he has yet to crack the top-10.
"The last two or three years I played really well, but my putting let me down a little bit. So every year, especially this year, I get there with a very positive attitude," Kaymer said. "I proved to myself the last couple of years that I can play the golf course. It`s just a matter of making a few putts here and there.
"I`m looking forward to it. It`s exciting. You know you can be successful there."
Steven Bowditch has that feeling this week as the defending Texas Open champion. He was among three Australians to win in Texas last year, where conditions resemble some courses from Down Under. Aussie Matt Jones defends his Houston Open crown next week and Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, will defend the Colonial crown in May at Fort Worth.
"It`s obviously a wonderful experience to be able to come back," Bowditch said. "This is the first time defending a PGA Tour event. It`s a great experience and a great feeling. Just trying to get some good vibes back in the game, special spirit. It`s good."