What I'll Remember About 2013: Spieth's refreshing humility, undeniable greatness
Spieth wins John Deere ClassicWatch highlights from Jordan Spieth's first PGA TOUR victory at the 2013 John Deere Classic.November 25, 2013
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
PGATOUR.COM asked its staffers and writers what they will remember about the 2013 season. For the archived list of essays and a complete review of the season, click here.
Jordan Spieth spoke humbly in the days before his first PGA TOUR event as a professional. Sure, he'd had a sterling amateur resume, but he was at the bottom of pro golf's meritocracy when he arrived at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. He had no status, nowhere to call home. His first starts would come only from the kindness of tournament directors.
“I haven’t done anything yet,” he said as he walked Torrey Pines' back nine late on a Tuesday afternoon. “I have to prove myself.”
It was refreshing humility, and one reason why months later he was so popular with his veteran teammates at The Presidents Cup.
Spieth is the only player other than Tiger Woods to win multiple U.S. Junior titles. He represented the United States at the Walker Cup before he ever set foot on a college campus. And he twice contended in a TOUR event while in high school. But he knew none of that mattered now.
His pro debut passed quietly. There was no introductory news conference. Rounds of 72-73 left him two shots outside the cut line. It was hardly a harbinger. He won the John Deere Classic, tied for the TOUR lead in top-10s (nine) and became the youngest player to qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and represent the United States in The Presidents Cup.
I first saw Spieth play when he was 14 years old. Two things always stood out: his maturity and knack for scoring. He’s always found ways to get the ball in the hole quickly and sometimes creatively. There was the eagle-2 at Riviera’s par-4 15th to help Texas clinch the 2012 NCAA Championship or the bunker shot that got him into the playoff at the John Deere. The par that extended his Wyndham Championship playoff with Patrick Reed was another perfect example.
He had to lay up on the par-4 18th after hitting his tee shot into pine straw left of the fairway. His 126-yard third shot sailed 26 feet past the hole. He sank the putt, though. Spieth was defeated on the next hole, but you get the point.
He was a good interview even as a high school freshman. I remember a photo shoot I attended with Spieth a few years ago. The day before the shoot, Spieth not only had contended at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, but had attended his high school’s graduation night festivities. He was understandably exhausted, but also enjoyable to work with.
Spieth may have started 2013 with no status and small expectations. Things will be quite different in his second season. He’s the reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, and one of the world’s top 25 players. Something tells me he’ll be able to handle it, though.