The secret of Jordan Spieth's success

— -- This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's August 18 College Football Preview Issue. Subscribe today!

Two majors and a fistful of records in hand, Jordan Spieth will step to the first tee at the PGA Championship (Aug. 13-16) trying to become the third player ever to win three majors in the same year. Can he do it? We asked the 22-year-old to explain his sudden supremacy -- then put his self-analysis to the metric test.

SVP: You seem to have your very best when your very best is required. What exactly do you attribute that to?

JS: It seems like whenever the moment gets bigger and my heart is beating faster, I go away from mechanics and I turn to, "How do I calm my heart rate down?" And the way that I do that is by trying to zero in on a target -- to aim small, miss small. For me, that actually helps my swing. It helps my putting stroke. It helps everything in my game. It's easier for me to think less about mechanics and more about the mental side, controlling my emotions and really picking a specific target instead of worrying about how my swing looks.

SVP: You talk very much in "we" terms -- with your caddie, Michael Greller, being the other part of your team. Does he help you to find calm on the course and to tune out the noise?

JS: Yeah, I think so. After the 17th hole at the U.S. Open is a good example. I had just made double bogey to essentially go from winning the tournament to having a chance to lose. I did a good job of calming myself down, but Michael was behind me saying, "It's OK. It's OK. We still have a lead. You're gonna hit two solid shots up there and have a putt for eagle." And, you know, that kind of voice really helps me stay focused on the goal at hand, which is the next shot.

SVP: What did you learn about yourself through the process of winning at Chambers Bay? The Masters was more comfortable, but the U.S. Open was a bit more like a bar fight.

JS: I learned that the winning formula I thought I had at Augusta is actually a winning formula for all majors. It's the preparation that goes into it and then the mental strategy on the weekend. I try to avoid big numbers and seem to do that well. I think it's based on just understanding the golf course, mapping it out ahead of time and knowing where you can miss. That extra patience level that I didn't have until this year can help close the deal.