December 3 2013
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.