Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#TECH 24

WorldRemit: Helping migrant workers send money back home

Read more

FOCUS

The challenges awaiting the new leader of South Africa's ANC

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Bangladeshi PM calls violence in Myanmar 'unacceptable'

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Read more

ENCORE!

Rhiannon Giddens strikes out on her 'Freedom Highway'

Read more

#THE 51%

Not such a feminist paradise: Iceland struggles to deal with violence towards women

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Climate change: Half of Mexico's coffee plantations have disappeared

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The legendary Swallow Line train in France's Jura region

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Japanese FM against 'dialogue for the sake of dialogue' with Pyongyang

Read more

Jordan Spieth's unusual problem at Thanksgiving: keeping weight on

© AFP | US golfer Jordan Spieth speaks during a press conference ahead of the Australian Open, in Sydney, on November 22, 2017

SYDNEY (AFP) - 

America's Jordan Spieth returns to action at the Australian Open this week pondering an unusual problem: how to keep weight on at Thanksgiving.

Unlike many elite golfers who spend hours sweating in the gym trying to slim down, Spieth has always battled not to lose weight, a condition which forces him to constantly tinker with his swing as his body shape fluctuates.

As he prepares to defend the Australian Open title for a second time, Spieth said he has embarked on a new diet and training regime to help him bulk up for the upcoming golf season.

"Each year I lose 10 to 15 pounds throughout the year. I'm trying to figure out a way to sustain weight," the world number two told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I've done an average job of it but I'm trying. It's hard to eat as much as I need to eat, which I don't get any remorse from people I talk to about it.

"If you're competing a lot, it's mentally draining, which then makes physically draining as well. So, I'm just trying to work a little bit on it.

"I'm not really too crazy about it. I'm not turning off burgers and beer, but I'm just trying to get enough of the right stuff."

While most US professional golfers remain at home for the Thanksgiving holiday, Spieth has spent the past three years in Australia in the belief that the Australian Open, one of the world's oldest tournaments dating back to 1904, is both a perfect launch pad for the new season and also a lucky omen.

He won the Masters and the US Open in 2015 after winning his first Australian Open at the end of 2014, shooting a final round course-record 63 which he credits for giving him the self-belief to succeed at the majors.

- Day U-turn on Olympics -

This year, Spieth followed up his second Australian Open victory in late 2016 by winning the British Open for the first time.

"I saw what it did after 2014, to be able to travel across the globe and see that your game travels and then to get to kind of a world-class field at this point in the year," the 24-year-old said.

"It's a great time of the year to gear things back up in a fantastic event that I've had success at and seen it propel into the next season."

Spieth is the clear favourite to again get his name engraved on the Stonehaven Cup this week, with Australia's Jason Day looming as his biggest threat.

Day beat Spieth in a final-round duel to win the 2015 PGA Championship and said he was relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with the Texan.

"I would love to play with Spieth on Sunday, last group, that would be the greatest thing," Day said.

"This course does suit up well for him and I think it does for me as well, as long as I'm driving it straight, then I've got the same opportunity as he does."

Like Spieth, Day is hoping the Australian Open, starting on Thursday at the Australian Golf Club in suburban Sydney, will be a springboard to bigger things in the new year.

Day slipped to 12th in the world rankings after losing his 51-week reign as world number one in February to Dustin Johnston.

While Day has won 10 times on the PGA Tour, the 30-year-old Australian has never won his national championship and his only professional win in his homeland was at the 2013 World Cup of golf when he teamed up with Adam Scott.

Day turned down the opportunity to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, saying he was fearful of the Zika virus, but said he wants to compete at the next Olympics at Tokyo in 2012.

"Japan's one of my favourite countries to ever visit, so if I have the opportunity to get on the team, I'm getting my plane ticket straight away. I'm looking forward to playing," Day said.

© 2017 AFP