IRVING, Texas -- Following a second-round 68 on Friday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Jordan Spieth reflects on his play with Fred Albers from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
Spieth, the 19-year-old from Dallas playing for the first time as a pro in his hometown event, is 3 under through two rounds.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- If he makes the cut this week, Jordan Spieth will finally get a paycheck at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
The 19-year-old Spieth, in his first season as a pro, is making his third appearance in his hometown event. As a 16-year-old in 2010, he opened with three rounds in the 60s and eventually finished tied for 16th. The next year, he finished tied for 32nd.
But as an amateur, he couldn't accept the money that came with those two results, thus leaving $129,442.85 on the table.
"You can look at the magazine or the newspaper the day after and see what everyone else that tied with you made, and it shows a big fat zero next to your name," Spieth said Wednesday. "So it's nice to be able to, you know, get money for playing golf."
Just like his previous appearances here, Spieth is playing on a sponsor's exemption, this time as a Special Temporary Member. That means he has unlimited sponsor's exemptions for the rest of the year in hopes of earning his PGA TOUR card for the 2013-14 season. He's well on his way, having earned $699,472 in nine starts.
And unlike his previous two starts here, he's no longer living at home. He now has an apartment in Dallas -- "a cool spot downtown" -- and has a roommate, former University of Texas teammate Alex Moon.
But something that hasn't changed is his desire to play well in this event. He's played the TPC Four Seasons Resort course quite often and his previous results indicate he should be in for a productive week.
"I've thought about this event from the beginning of the year, and I think about it leading up to it, how can I prepare for the Nelson," Spieth said.
"I wouldn't consider it a fifth major because I don't know if I'm going to play in any majors this year, but it's definitely special. It's dear to my heart... If I were to choose one to win as soon as I can, it would be this one right now."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Jordan Spieth had never played more than two weeks in a row before this year.
But after gaining Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR -- which will allow him unlimited sponsor exemptions the remainder of this season -- he'll play as many as he can.
"The hardest part is just adapting to the travel and off course," the 19-year-old former University of Texas standout said. "I've been striking the ball well week to week, even playing four in a row, which is reassuring, because I had never done that before. I didn't know how I'd hold up."
The answer came quickly.
In six starts this season on the PGA TOUR, Spieth has a runner-up and a tie for seventh among them. He also finished in the top 7 in the two Web.com Tour events he played.
Playing for the first time since finishing seventh at the Valero Texas Open, Spieth embarks on a busy stretch. Beginning with this week's RBC Heritage, he'll play five of the next six -- unless he wins, which would get him into THE PLAYERS Championship.
"A good year for me would have been playing well to start the year, and on the Web.com Tour, and continuing to play on the Web.com Tour the entire year," Spieth said. "A great year would have been somehow within seven starts earning enough to do what I guess seven other people have done in the past, Bud Cauley being the most recent and earning PGA TOUR status that way."
Now with unlimited exemptions, Spieth has a chance to do that.
"It is different and it's difficult," he said. "A lot of these courses I've just watched on TV."
Jordan Spieth struggled on TPC San Antonio's green complexes Friday. (Dykes/Getty Images)
By Tim Price, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN ANTONIO -- It’s not often that a PGA TOUR pro feels like a weekend player, but Jordan Spieth went through it Friday when he shot a 4-over 76 at TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks Course and missed the cut by two shots.
“I just feel like my little sister could have putted for me and shot a better round,” Spieth said. “I made everything on the practice green. And then I got out there and missed a couple early and I was never able to settle down.”
It’s oft the plight of the weekend golfer; hit everything well on the practice range and get out to the course only to rake it around.
Spieth, the 19-year-old who is playing his way onto the TOUR after leaving the national champion Texas Longhorns after one year, counted 36 putts in his round. TOUR stats counted 30, yet Spieth doesn’t sound like numbers would make him feel better.
“You don’t see a round coming when you’re hitting 15 greens and you have seven looks at birdie,” Spieth said. “Most people look at that as a 2-under or 3-under round, especially on a difficult course like this.”
He missed a five-foot birdie putt on No. 2, missed from inside 10 feet at No. 3, missed a six-footer on the fifth and the damage was done. He sank no putts past four feet all day, and in the first round Thursday he had 25 putts and made six putts past four feet including a 28-footer.
Spieth played in the group with top-10 players Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar, and he saw McIlroy rally to get within three shots of the lead with a 67 and saw Kuchar rally back from the danger of missing the cut (he was 3-over and a stroke past the cut line) by saving some crucial pars and adding two birdies on the back nine.
“Matt was in a lot of really hard positions and he made his seven- to eight-foot par putts,” Spieth said. “I had seven putts for birdie inside 10 feet and made zero. Even the (player who’s) ranked last on TOUR makes two or three of those.”
Jordan Spieth earned Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the season after tying for seventh in Tampa two weeks ago.
Now he's looking to take it a step further in San Antonio.
Should Spieth go on to win, he would lock up his TOUR card for the next two years -- and the FedExCup points he's accrued so far would be applied retroactively, making him eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs later this year.
In the meantime, however, Spieth continues to sit on the non-member FedExCup Points list, which means his points will be used toward 2013-14 membership.
This is a change from a few years ago when Arjun Atwal won the Wyndham Championship in 2010 as a non-member but not eligible for the Playoffs.
The same happened to Graeme McDowell when he won the U.S. Open earlier that summer.
So far, Spieth has two top 10s in five starts -- a runner-up in Puerto Rico and the aforementioned tie for seventh in Tampa. (He's also recorded a couple of top-7 finishes in two starts on the Web.com Tour.)
Of course if Spieth goes on to win, that would take care of everything.
Dallas native Jordan Spieth is making an impression quickly on the PGA TOUR. (Cohen/Getty Images)
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HUMBLE, Texas – There’s something about Jordan Spieth.
Maybe it’s his game. Maybe it’s the smile. Maybe it’s the way he manages to wrap a room of reporters around his little finger with a combination of honesty and excitement.
Maybe it’s a combination of all the above.
You don’t have to spend more than a few minutes with the Dallas native to know he’s going places. At 19, he’s one of those kids who knows what he wants and is tantalizingly close to making it happen.
Think, oh, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Or, when it comes to golf, Ben Crenshaw or Justin Leonard back in the day.
We say that because Spieth was born in 1993. And here he is, just a few months removed from his three semesters at the University of Texas and he’s already played well enough – he’s made more than $500,000 – to join the PGA TOUR on a Special Temporary Membership. And at his rate, the 'temporary' might be fleeting.
“It’s clear as a bell to me,’’ said Crenshaw, who left Texas for the TOUR after six semesters back in 1973. “He gives you a look I’ve never seen before. It’s like a mean look, but not really mean. It’s a look of I-know-where-I’m-going.
“It’s not cocky. It’s confident. It’s wonderful to watch what he’s doing.’’
People said the same thing about Crenshaw, who won his official debut as a PGA TOUR member at the 1973 San Antonio Texas Open. And like Crenshaw, Spieth had gotten a lot of opportunities to play professional events, including the U.S. Open, as an amateur.
In January, Spieth was going to test the waters on the Web.com Tour and eventually – he hoped – get enough starts through sponsor exemptions on the PGA TOUR to earn his 2014 card. After a T7 at the Tampa Bay Championship and a runner-up finish at the Puerto Rico Open, he’s well on his way to that card, just maybe a 2013 card.
“I still haven't earned my card for next year, that's still first and foremost on my mind,’’ said Spieth, whose earnings are already more than the 150th spot on the 2012 money list. "With the change in the schedule, the shortening of the schedule, there's no set amount of money that I know I'm going to have to make.
“So, you know, I have other goals that have now come up for this year, but that's still first and foremost, and I'm not going to relax. Even if I know that I accomplished that, there's still a long way to go to -- you still want move up in the world ranking, get in all the top events.’’
The next step comes at this week’s Shell Houston Open and on one of the few TOUR courses he has played before. He was 14 back then and playing in the HP Junior Invitational and not ready for the Redstone layout.
“It was too much of a golf course for me back then,’’ said Spieth, who tied for 16th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship as a 16-year-old amateur. “I was 14, I couldn't reach three or four of the par 4s in two. But it was an unbelievable track. I've only heard about the course during this tournament and how it's in the best shape, you know, of any course I play all year, you know, except possibly Augusta.’’
Which brings us to another little possibility. If – yes if – Spieth would win this week, he could find himself playing at Augusta National in two weeks. He’s trying not to go there in conversation, but he did get a look at the course last year when the Texas team watched Monday’s practice rounds.
“It was pretty much like walking into a video game,’’ he said. “It's pretty much how it feels like here, too.‘’
Like so many other young athletes, he’s showing there are no limits when you’ve got talent.
“It’s interesting,’’ he said. “Even watching NCAA basketball, these guys are unbelievable sophomores are my age, my grade, so, seeing -- yeah. It's cool to see the younger generation. I'm always rooting for everyone I can there.
“In golf, I mean, you can definitely single out all the young great golfers to one guy, in the game of golf, in the way that it's grown, but as far as -- I'm a sports fanatic, so I follow all sports. I'm big fans of the guys, the Bryce Harpers, my age, and, you know, guys in the NFL, rookie quarterbacks, Russell Wilson is probably my size. I'm not sure if I stood next to him he would eat me, but still ..."
He drew a laugh from the room.
Like Crenshaw said. Not cocky, just confident. And taking dead aim.
Jordan Spieth has three top 25s on the PGA TOUR this season, which earned him Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the 2013 season. Today, the 19-year-old former Texas Longhorn joins fans on a PGA TOUR Google+ Hangout to answer questions live from the Shell Houston Open.
You can watch the live video chat starting at 12:30pm ET right here on the TOUR Report or the PGA TOUR G+ page.
Have a question for Jordan about his golf game or goals for the season? Post your question in the comments below, and we'll ask as many as we can.
Jordan Spieth is now allowed an unlimited number of sponsor exemptions. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
Jordan Spieth has officially joined the PGA TOUR as a special temporary member for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Spieth earned this status following his T7 finish at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, which pushed his season earnings to $521,839. That mark pushed him over the amount earned by No. 150 on last season’s money list ($474,295), making him eligible for his current status.
With this move, Spieth is eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions the remainder of this season as he attempts to earn his 2013-14 PGA TOUR card via the Non-member Money List or Non-member FedExCup Points List.
Spieth burst onto the TOUR radar in 2010 when he was tied for seventh after 54 holes of the HP Byron Nelson Championship before finishing T16. He made four cuts in six starts in 2011-2012 as an amateur, highlighted by a tie for 21st, and low amateur honors, at the 2012 U.S. Open.
The 19-year-old turned pro in December and started his pro career on the PGA TOUR with a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. He then tied for 22nd at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and was a runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com before earning status at Innisbrook.
Spieth has also made two starts on the Web.com Tour finishing tied for seventh at the Panma Claro Championship and tied for fourth at the Colombia Championship. He currently ranks 10th on the Web.com Tour money list.
His top-10 finish in Tampa Bay netted him an exemption into next week’s Shell Houston Open in his home state of Texas.
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Jordan Spieth can go home and catch his breath now. And start making plans for an extended PGA TOUR stay.
With his tie for seventh at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, Spieth now has the option to join the TOUR as a special temporary member for the rest of the season. If he does so, the 19-year-old Spieth would be the youngest to achieve that status by cashing in his sponsor exemptions.
“I’m just extremely happy,” he said after Sunday’s 1-under-par 70. “It’s nice to actually have a schedule to plot out and know where I’m going to be a couple of weeks in advance.”
After last week’s runner-up finish at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com, Spieth came to Innisbrook Resort needing just $101,295 to bring his earnings equal to No. 150 on last year’s money list. He cleared that hurdle with more than $47,000 to spare.
Not that there weren’t some nervous moments. Knocked back by bogeys at Nos. 12 and 13, Spieth stood in a tie for 14th as he entered the Copperhead layout’s closing three-hole “Snake Pit.”
“The only time I felt nervous was those last few holes, just trying to get a birdie,” he said.
It finally came at the par-3 17th, and not by the conventional manner. From greenside rough, the Texan’s high flop shot touched down on the putting surface and ran into the hole as a huge roar went up.
“That was one of the coolest shots I’ve ever hit,” Spieth said. “That’s as loud as it gets here -- makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.”
Spieth still had to work his way through No. 18, with its tight fairway and a spine down the middle of its green. After his approach shot landed in a greenside bunker, he blasted to 6 feet and drained the putt.
“I was nervous over that putt,” he said, “but I took it back smooth and it went in the hole.”
It capped a magical four-week odyssey for Spieth, who began his journey with a trip to Panama and his eye on earning Web.com Tour status. After top-10 finishes there and in Colombia, he took an exemption to Puerto Rico – a move that changed his course.
“I’m very fortunate to have made the right decision down there in Bogotá,” he said.
By way of comparison, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa parlayed special temporary status into 18 starts last season. Spieth already has starts lined up at the Shell Houston Open (thanks to his top 10 at Innisbrook) and Valero Texas Open, along with the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May.