Masters champ Jordan Spieth ready for majors-like homecoming

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jordan Spieth occasionally pulls that green jacket out of his closet and holds it like the great trophy that it is.

Back home in North Texas, Spieth will be introduced in consecutive weeks as the Masters champion to crowds filled with family and friends.

"It's where it really starts to hit me kind of what it means," Spieth said.

Spieth tees off Thursday at historic Colonial, and then next week at the Byron Nelson Championship where the Dallas native twice made the cut as a teenage amateur, even missing his high school graduation while playing a weekend round.

"I focus as if they're major championships," he said. "There's nothing better than playing well in front of your hometown family and friends."

His record victory at the Masters last month wrapped up an incredible stretch on the course, and led to the grind of responsibilities and appearances that come with winning at Augusta.

In his three tournaments leading up to the Masters, he won the Valspar Championship in a playoff and had consecutive runner-up finishes in his home state. He was four strokes behind fellow Texan Jimmy Walker at the Valero Texas Open, then fell in a three-man playoff at Houston.

Now comes another Texas two-step following some extra time off after missing the cut at The Players Championship two weeks ago in his last tournament. And the 21-year-old Spieth said his energy is up again just in time for a green-tinted homecoming.

"I feel like I got my feet under me this past week," he said. "I'm excited for these two weeks, and this is going to be a really fun stretch."

Spieth tied for 14th at Colonial last year, when Adam Scott won in a three-hole playoff against Jason Dufner to cap his first week as the No. 1-ranked player in the world.

Scott hasn't won since, with only one top-10 finish in eight PGA Tour events this season, and has slipped to No. 11 in the world. He tied for 38th at both the Masters and Players Championship.

"I've just had too many changes, I think, this year," said Scott, who while becoming a first-time father also made some switches with equipment and his putting. "I feel like I'm playing well. I certainly haven't put any numbers on the board, and that's really what it's down to. I've just got to really grind it out and get the most out of it, where as I feel this year I've really gotten the least out of my game."

Ranked No. 2, Spieth is the only of the world's top 10 in the 122-player field at Hogan's Alley, where the winter gets a plaid jacket.

Eleven former Colonial champions are playing this week, even after past winners Tom Watson and Tom Purtzer both withdrew Monday.

There is also Colonial member Ryan Palmer, whose caddie is fellow member and four-time club champion James Edmondson. Palmer matched the course record of 9-under 61 in a practice round last week, when he missed short putts on the last two holes.

Every time Palmer plays at Colonial, he glances at the names on the Wall of Champions by the No. 1 tee — including the likes of Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Lee Trevino.

"You look at it and you see the names, and I couldn't explain what it would be like," said Palmer, whose tie for fifth last year matched his 2012 finish. "Obviously what it would mean for me, but what it would mean for me for the members here. ... That would mean more to me to give them that type of finish here on Sunday."

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