PALM HARBOR (FOX 13) - The galleries are a lot larger for Jordan Spieth his third time around at Valspar Championship -- and rightfully so. The defending champ arrives as the player to beat and definitely on the radar this time, although a confident Spieth challenges that statement.
"I'd like to think I wasn't necessarily under the radar last season at this. I'd like to think my couple of years on tour were solid before last season, but certainly we stepped up our game."
Valspar springboarded Spieth's career, who had won just once on tour prior to coming to Tampa Bay. What followed was storybook season: A real Cinderella story that won the Masters at the age of 22. Only Tiger Woods was a younger champion.
Spieth went on the take the U.S. Open and ended up carding seven PGA wins on his way to the world's number-one ranking and it began right here at Innisbrook.
"It's a different feeling than certainly past couple years. It's a good feeling. Just builds more and more confidence. I feel like, instead of trying to get into contention and then test out how to close, now we have a formula to be able to close out tournaments.
"Anytime you come to a place where you've won, you feel, very, very, very comfortable because it's already happened and you can visualize it."
Spieth isn't short on confidence, but admits being a member of the green jacket club is still sinking in -- a jacket that he brings with him from tour to tour.
"Anytime like I have the jacket with me and so I go in the closet to grab something I see the jacket or I see even the garment bag that says Masters Champion 2015, something like that. It's just like, That's mine. Oh, shoot, I got to give that back. Oh, wait, let's try to get this back in our hands, you know."
The road to Augusta once again comes through Tampa Bay, and for Spieth, he's looking for a repeat.