By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A year ago, Jordan Spieth was a couple of weeks removed from failing to reach the final stage of q-school and wrapping up the last of his final exams at the University of Texas.
For a future that was once uncertain, at least for that moment, Spieth's future now seems nothing but certain.
The 20-year-old went from zero to hero status this year, becoming the first teenager in more than 80 years to win on the PGA TOUR.
By the end of September, he'd accumulated eight other top 10s, including three runner-up finishes, locked up his card and was a captain's pick for The Presidents Cup.
"I knew I was going to turn professional," Spieth said Tuesday from the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, where he is one of 18 players in the unofficial no-cut event. "But after (finals), there was a lot to figure out; looking at schedules, writing notes to tournament directors and figuring out management and trying to see what relationships corporately I could start.
"Outside of all of that, there was maybe a little bit of fear that crept in...I'm going to need to make the most of these starts when they come, and they were a long way off."
On the final hole of regulation at the John Deere Classic in July, Spieth holed out for birdie from a greenside bunker to force a playoff with Zach Johnson and David Hearn. Five holes later, Spieth beat them both.
He finished the 2013 season eighth in FedExCup points, earned nearly $4 million and was named Rookie of the Year.
So what will Spieth do for an encore?
After playing just once in the 2013-14 season, he has had plenty of time to reflect on the year that was. Not that he has spent much time doing so.
"It's great to look back at what happened to be in this scenario and learn from the positives," Spieth said. "But all in all, I think the way to have success this year is to not dwell too much on the past.
"Each year I think going back to when I was 12 years old, I've improved. My dad always, a big thing for him was to say just try to look back at each month and see if you got a little better each month at something."
For Spieth, that will mean focusing on playing well in the majors. He has already taken care of the toughest part most 20-year-olds would be faced with -- getting in.
Last season, Spieth earned his way into the final three majors. He has already qualified for all four in 2014.
"I know what it feels like right now down the stretch at a TOUR event," he said. "I have a feeling it will be a little different kind of pressure in a major championship. Nobody knows what it's like unless you've been in it. The only way to get better is to put myself there and learn from the experiences."
He has already proven to be a fast learner.
PGATOUR.COM is unveiling its top 10 moments of the 2013 season. The videos will be introduced on weekdays for the last two weeks of November. Check back each day for our favorites from the 2013 PGA TOUR Season.
|Top 10 Moments of the 2013 PGA TOUR Season|
||Nov. 18||Garcia hits shot from a tree at Arnold Palmer Invitational|
||Nov. 19||Reed escapes from the trees to win Wyndham Championship|
||Nov. 20||Woods dominates elite field at Bridgestone Invitational|
||Nov. 21||Dufner ties majors scoring record, wins PGA Championship|
||Nov. 22||Rose's historic approach on No. 18 at Merion to secure U.S. Open|
||Nov. 25||Spieth's incredible bunker shot during John Deere playoff|
||Nov. 26||Stenson wins the FedExCup|
||Nov. 27||Furyk shoots 59 in second round of BMW Championship|
||Nov. 28||Mickelson cards final-round 66 to win The Open Championship|
||Nov. 29||Scott's putt to force a playoff at The Masters|
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Jordan Spieth will replace Brandt Snedeker in next month's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club.
Snedeker is still nursing a bruised tibia and strained ACL in his left knee after falling off a Segway at a corporate outing two weeks ago in China.
It will be Spieth's first appearance in the limited, 18-man field, which includes among others, tournament host Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell and Jason Dufner.
Spieth earned Rookie of the Year honors on the PGA TOUR this past season after a win, three runner-up finishes and six other top 10s. He finished eighth in FedExCup points and was a captain's pick for the Presidents Cup.
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Jordan Spieth took strides Thursday to make his first trip to Asia, and his first start in a World Golf Championships event, memorable.
Spieth overcame two bogeys and a double on his opening nine when he rallied with six birdies in his last 10 holes for a 4-under 68 in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
"(I) birdied 18 and 1, and then once that happened, just started hitting every green and actually having good looks at birdie," he said. "Felt kind of right back at the end of the season last year the way I was swinging and putting. It was really nice to get those feelings back and just took a few holes to do so."
Those feelings to which he referred were those he had when he finished his rookie campaign with three top-5 finishes in his last five starts, including two in the FedExCup Playoffs, to help him lock up PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year honors, a top-10 FedExCup finish and a spot on the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup team.
Spieth admitted that he felt a little weak early in the round -- the 13-hour trip overseas was the longest he's ever made -- but said he'd gotten a lot of good advice and is working on getting his sleep schedule sorted out.
Surprisingly, the trouble for Spieth is staying awake, not falling asleep. He seems unfazed by the expectations that surround him following a season in which he went from no status to his first victory late season honors. But those expectations are real, and Spieth knows this is where he can set the tone for an even bigger season in 2013-14.
"As far as how many wins (I hope to get this year), that's hard to put a number on," he said. " Obviously making The Ryder Cup would be a huge honor for me just as The Presidents Cup was, so that's definitely a goal, and to play a lot better in the major championships and to give myself a chance to win there, which I think starts in the World Golf Championships, trying to compete here and trying to win the golf tournament."
Thursday's play, especially on the front nine (his second nine) certainly won't hurt him in pursuit of that last goal.
By Joel Schuchmann, PGA TOUR Staff
SHANGHAI -- The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions will be Jordan Spieth's first competitive golf in three weeks. Just don’t call his time off a break.
"I was finishing up buying a house and moving into it," Spieth explained. "It’s exciting. I still have the same roommate. It’s quite a process, ordering stuff, getting everything moved in. We’re not quite there, I don’t even have cable switched over. It will be kind of a man cave, there won’t be a whole lot of artwork, but the electronics will be there.”
Did the reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year have a trophy case built?
“No, but there is a little wall next to my bedroom where I have some pictures from the Walker Cup, The Presidents Cup, a couple flags, I haven’t brought over the John Deere Trophy yet, so still some things to put on the wall," Spieth said.
The former University of Texas All-America also took time to enjoy a resurgent Longhorn football team, currently on a four-game winning streak after a 1-2 start.
“We were on the field for the Texas-Oklahoma game, and I had some friends over with the game being played in Dallas," he said. "It’s great to see we still have a shot at the Big 12 Championship.”
Now turning his attention back to golf, Spieth said the time with his clubs in storage was important.
“It was more about needing time off away from the game considering how busy we were at the end of the season," he said. "It also gave me a chance to start a new offseason workout program that should help me going forward.”
As he reflects on the 2013 season that saw him become the youngest winner on the PGA TOUR since 1931, Spieth called his overall consistency in the second half of the season most memorable to him.
“Not just because of the win (at the John Deere Classic), but between the Wyndham Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs, that was five of six weeks where I was in contention,” he said. “There was not a lull at all. I was able to finish the season extremely strong and make The Presidents Cup team.”
As for his first-ever World Golf Championships start, Spieth said his comfort level was extremely high.
“After playing with many of these guys at The Presidents Cup and throughout the FedExCup Playoffs, I feel like I belong here,” he said. “It just happens my first WGC event is in China. It is the most international field I’ve ever played against, players from China, Thailand, Japan and other countries in addition to the guys we play against on a regular basis.”
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Jimmy Walker recently won his first PGA TOUR title and is the early leader in the 2013-14 FedExCup standings. Jordan Spieth and Graham DeLaet both made their Presidents Cup debuts this year.
The trio will experience another ‘first’ this week. They will play their first World Golf Championship at the HSBC Champions, which begins Thursday at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China.
Walker didn’t qualify for the HSBC Champions until winning the Frys.com Open on Oct. 13. He’s the FedExCup leader after finishing 12th or better in his first three starts this season.
The HSBC Champions will be Spieth’s first event of the 2013-14 season. The 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year has not played since helping the United States win the Presidents Cup. He went 2-2-0 in the United States’ 18 ½-15 ½ victory. He's been active during his break, though. He made news when he played Pine Valley and Augusta National, the top two golf courses in the United States, in the same day.
Spieth won his first TOUR event, the John Deere Classic, and qualified for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in his rookie season of 2013. The HSBC Champions is actually the second WGC he’s been eligible for, but he passed on the Bridgestone Invitational in the wake of his Deere victory and the last-minute Open Championship entry that came with it. His nine top-10s were tied with Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker for most on TOUR in 2013.
DeLaet also qualified for his first TOUR Championship after posting seven top-10s, including a runner-up at The Barclays and two third-place finishes. He finished seventh at last week's CIMB Classic.
Walker leads the FedExCup standings after winning the season opener and finishing T-12 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and sixth at the CIMB Classic.
Peter Uihlein also is one of the players making his WGC debut this week. Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champion, has a win and two runners-up this season on the European Tour. He is No. 9 in the Race to Dubai and No. 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Uihlein, 24, finished fifth at last week's BMW Masters, his third consecutive finish of seventh or better.
The Presidents Cup can be a hectic week, especially for a 20-year-old rookie making his first start on such a big stage. Jordan Spieth was likely to have moments of confusion at Muirfield Village and one was captured on camera. Got a caption for the image above? Leave it in our comments section below and, as always, please keep it clean.
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Jason Day and Graham DeLaet handed Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth their first loss of the week, beating them 2-up in their Saturday four-ball match.
Day and DeLaet lost just two holes -- Nos. 1 and 12 -- and never trailed after the third hole. Both teams played well, though, with six holes being halved with birdies. "It was very stressful out there," Day said. "They played great, and myself and Graham also played great." Day was especially good down the stretch, making three birdies over the final five holes, compared to two by Stricker. This was the second win of the week for Day and DeLaet.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jason Day. He had seven birdies in all, including the aformentioned three late in the day to seal the win.
BY THE NUMBERS
Join the discussion and give us your thoughts on this match
DUBLIN, Ohio -- The American duo of Steve Stricker and rookie Jordan Spieth held off a rally from Branden Grace and Richard Sterne on Saturday morning to win their Foursomes match 2 and 1 and remain undefeated.
Stricker and his young partner never trailed in this match. After the two teams halved the first two holes, the Americans took a lead they would not relinquish when the Internationals bogeyed No. 3 and Spieth made a 6-footer for birdie at the par-5 fifth. The U.S. gave one back with a three-putt bogey on the next hole but rebuilt the advantage with consecutive birdies at Nos. 7 and 8, one to halve and one to win. Stricker and Spieth made 7-footers for birdie at Nos. 10 and 12, respectively to grab a 4-up advantage. The Internationals got one back before play was suspended by darkness as Grace nailed his approach at No. 13 to 5 inches. Stricker missed a 4-footer to halve the 16th hole on Saturday morning to give the South African duo hope but closed the match out on the next hole with a 7-footer to halve at No. 17.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Name. Steve Stricker: The American veteran surprisingly missed the short putt at No. 16 but he fearlessly bounced back to seal the win. The guidance he has provided to his 20-year-old partner can't be underestimated, either.
BY THE NUMBERS
Join the discussion and give us your thoughts on this match