FROM THE ARCHIVES: Vol. XLIV, No. 6 (May 2014) – “Can Jordan Spieth Be the Next ‘Tiger’?”

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Jordan Spieth grew up in Dallas, Texas and his dream as a young boy was to be a professional golfer.  He attended the University of Texas on a golf scholarship.  In 2012 he earned a spot to play in the U.S. Open as an amateur.  Spieth was the low amateur in the U.S. Open and finished tied for 21st overall.  Spieth was still an amateur, but he was quickly making a name for himself.

People still did not know the name “Jordan Spieth” after this tournament since he was still an amateur and had not made a big name for himself.  However many people would know the name after the 2013 John Deere Classic.  The challenge for many players to earn their PGA Tour card is a long and challenging road.  Many do not even get to this goal until their late 20s.  One way for players to earn their tour card is to win a PGA Tour event.  Spieth earned a special exemption to play in the John Deere Classic.  On the 72nd hole of this tournament Spieth holed out from a greenside bunker to force a playoff.  He eventually won the playoff becoming the 4th youngest player to ever win a tour event.  Spieth had earned his tour card and began his journey to become the next big player.

Many young golfers are great for a short period of time and gain a lot of attention just for it to wither away as they do not continue to impress.  The last player to come up at such an early age and be “the best” was Tiger Woods.  Golf is not going to have Tiger for that much longer especially with the nagging injuries he has.  Golf needs a new “Tiger”.  Many people though Rory McIlroy was going to be the next big name but he has not impressed lately.

Spieth is the next “Tiger.”  Spieth won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2009 and 2011 becoming the second person to win two titles. The other was Tiger.  Spieth’s accolades do not stop there.  He was named the PGA Tour Rookie of the year.  Spieth began the 2013 season 810th in the world with no status, and he finished with his PGA Tour card and 22nd in the world.

Spieth faced his first major of the 2014 season when he traveled to Augusta National to play in the Masters.  I heard no one even mention Spieth before the tournament, but I had a gut feeling about the kid (I picked him to win it).  Spieth made his name known worldwide after the Masters. Spieth was tied for the lead at the biggest tournament in golf going into the last day.  He came out strong, but Augusta got the best of him and he ended up tying for second.  Still a remarkable feat because he is the youngest player to ever come in second of the Masters.

Do not forget that Spieth is still 20.  Spieth has cracked the top 10 in the world in golf and is not even 21 yet.  Spieth has a shot to be the next big player in golf.  I do not see anything holding this kid back from becoming the next “Tiger”.  Spieth’s record speaks for itself when this question comes up.  For Spieth to be the best he has to win his first major championship and become close to the being the number 1 player in the world. He has to win this major championship in dramatic fashion just as Tiger did. Tiger achieved this at 23.

Spieth has a legitimate shot to achieve this if he continues to play the way he is now.  The most impressive part to me about Spieth is his swagger he plays with.  Spieth is as cool as the other side of the pillow when he is on the course.  Spieth will become the next big player in golf for the years to come as long as he can get his first major out of the way.  The record is there, the talent is there, and he has the head of an experienced tour player.