Early leader Kevin Kisner’s key Open prep? Soccer with Spieth and Dufner

July 23, 2018

Kevin Kisner’s British Open is off to a phenomenal start. The Aiken, S.C., native got out hot and early Thursday morning at Carnoustie, requiring just 22 putts to get around the legendary venue in five-under 66 that included four birdies and an eagle.

“If I have 22 putts the next three days, I bet I’ll have a pretty good shot,” Kisner said after the round.

They key to putting his best foot forward?

Kisner suggested it may have been a spot of backyard soccer with his neighbors. The tournament’s early leader, who is reportedly staying in a rental house near Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker, feels at ease with the high-powered group.

“It’s not intimidating at all. They’re all great people. That’s the best part about it,” Kisner said. “I mean, we’re out there playing soccer at night and hanging out. Everybody is just really chill, and it’s a lot of fun to be around those guys. There’s a lot of great players. It’s really cool just to hear what they have to say. Everybody’s sitting around at night scratching their head on what club to hit off of every tee.”

Kevin Kisner, British Open 2018
Kevin Kisner has been enjoying his time in Scotland both on and off the course.
Getty Images

When it comes to the soccer — and the trash talk — Kisner’s not taking it easy on his competition.

“I just try to smash Duf in the face. He’s all-time goalie,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to watch how athletic a lot of those guys are — except Duf, really. No, I’m just kidding. Duf is athletic too.”

As for the defending British Open champion? “I spent a lot of time with Jordan and the Claret Jug,” Kisner mused. “He gave it back on Monday. It would be cool to return the favor and let him look at it a little bit.”

Spieth is “absolutely” a talented footballer, Kisner said — “until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we’ve got to go knock on neighbors’ doors for the soccer ball.”