TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 2: Jordan Spieth
He was compelling to watch in 2017 – and now he chases history in 2018
December 29, 2017
Inside the PGA TOUR
Jordan Spieth's third major victory continues stellar season
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Although Justin Thomas won the FedExCup last fall, he’s the first to admit that among the highly decorated high school Class of 2011, Jordan Spieth (who finished second in the Playoffs) remains the valedictorian.
Simply put, no one else can match Spieth’s numbers: He has won 11 times, including three majors, since the start of 2015. More mind-boggling still, he will go for the career grand slam at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Aug. 9-12.
And he’s still just 24. (He will be 25 by the time he plays the PGA.)
In case you were living on the moon last season, Spieth made the bogey of the year at The Open Championship, his 5 from the driving range next to the 13th hole at Royal Birkdale featuring a wide-right tee shot; a 20-minute ruling; and an up-and-down to limit the damage.
Two holes later, Spieth rolled in a long eagle putt and told his caddie, Michael Greller, “Go get that.” (Golden State Warriors shooting guard and sensational amateur golfer Stephan Curry would later repeat the unforgettable quip at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic.) Spieth would go 5 under on the last five holes to defeat playing partner Matt Kuchar by three strokes.
Keep in mind, all of this riveting theater took place a month after Spieth hit the unofficial shot of the year, his delirium-inducing bunker hole-out to beat Daniel Berger in a sudden-death playoff at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. The image of a flying rake and a soaring Spieth and Greller crashing into one another in celebration won’t soon be forgotten.
Spieth led the TOUR in scoring (68.846), birdies per round (4.49), and Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green (.906). He will defend titles in 2018 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the Travelers and The Open. But the truth is Spieth can win anywhere; of his 11 TOUR titles, he has hoisted only one tournament trophy twice, at the John Deere Classic.
This is one of the most staggering talents we’ve seen in decades.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Jordan Spieth ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: N/A
Playoff appearances: 5
TOUR Championship appearances: 5
Best result: Won in 2015. At 22, he was the youngest winner in FedExCup history.
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Jordan Spieth in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Ben Everill
Everyone is always keen to highlight the friendship between Justin Thomas and Spieth but don’t think for a second there isn’t a fierce rivalry as well. While happy for Thomas’ achievements last season, Spieth sees it as a benchmark to strive past. We have the makings of many sensational battles going forward. His win at the Open Championship put him just a PGA Championship shy of the career slam but he will probably have multiple wins again before we reach that part of the year. If the putter gets hot, he will return to world No. 1.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
We've given him a pass because the adjustment in the wake of the lesson worked. Like so many before him, he nibbled on the allure to travel abroad early in 2016 and he didn't fully recover from the physical toll in time to stake a stronger case for becoming the first to successfully defend the FedExCup. With that wisdom filed, he resisted opportunities early this year. Lo and behold, it transpired much more like his historic 2015 campaign. As long as he sticks with that model, there's zero reason to doubt him at any time. Just 24 years old. Sigh.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Spieth used the end of the 2017 season to make some major changes to his equipment setup. Added Titleist 718 AP2 irons and Vokey SM7 wedges during the Australian Open. Replaced Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 70X driver shaft with Graphite Design's new Tour AD-IZ 6X. Continues to wield Scotty Cameron 009 putter from his junior golf days.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Spieth is consistent in his style, often gravitating towards similar designs (solids and classic stripes) and colors (blue and gray). For 2018, Jordan’s focus will be on fit. He’ll wear Under Armour’s new Showdown pant, which features a slimmer fit, increased stretch, and a lightweight fabric.