For Spieth, it's great to be No. 1
Two-time major champion finishes second behind Jason Day but sits atop OWGR
August 16, 2015
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
- Jordan Spieth's second-place finish on Sunday was his fourth top-5 finish in a major this season. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Every time Jason Day pulled driver out of his bag late Sunday evening, Jordan Spieth became a very interested observer.
Just once, he thought, it would be nice if Day overcooked one left or lost it right. Surely, with Day ripping it with all of his might, something in his powerful swing had to break down.
Only on the final day of the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Day never drifted off course on the shores of Lake Michigan. He had the throttle down, a full tank of gas and wasn’t losing sight of the major destination in front of him.
“He’s impressive to watch strike the ball,” Spieth said after a solid 4-under 68 left him three shots back in second place. “But it was nothing like today. He took it back and he wailed on it and it was a stripe show. It was really a clinic to watch.”
Realistically, Spieth needed a hand if he was going to join Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan as the only modern players to win three majors in a season. Simply put, Day was just too good.
All was not lost for Spieth, however. He did take home one title Sunday: No. 1 golfer in the world. By finishing in solo second, Spieth needed Rory McIlroy to finish outside the top six. McIlroy was solo 17th.
“Yeah, it’s by far the best consolation, by far the best loss I think I’ve ever had,” said Spieth, who also holds a commanding lead in the FedExCup standings. “…To be No. 1 in the world as a team is fantastic. Certainly it was a lifelong goal of mine, and that was accomplished today.”
Finally atop the tallest mountain in golf, it will be interesting to see how long Spieth can stay there. McIlroy lasted 53 weeks. At one point Woods owned the perch for a record 281 weeks.
Right now, Spieth is as consistent as they come. He’s almost always in contention. And when he’s not, he’s lurking somewhere from behind.
Of course, in this new era of professional golf, there isn’t just one alpha player. Spieth, McIlroy, Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson are just a handful of the younger players that are motivated to reach the top.
“Yeah,” Spieth said. “With so many people being so fearless, and not only fearless, but when they’re fearless they commit to those aggressive lines and pull off the shots.”
Spieth, among the fearless, has pulled off his share of those shots.
In a season in which he turned 22 years old, Spieth came as many as six shots and as few as four shy of winning the Grand Slam. That’s not golf’s version of a perfect game. That's golf’s version of a perfect season.
With a 17-under total this week, Spieth broke the cumulative major-championship season scoring mark in relation to par at 54 under, one better than Woods’ mark from 2000.
He also became the third player since 2005 to finish a season in the top five in all four majors, joining Woods (2005) and Fowler (2014).
As much as Spieth relishes the opportunity to tee it up in the biggest events, he might do it again soon.
And who knows? Maybe Bobby Jones, the only player to complete a calendar Grand Slam, will have company someday.
“You want to feel the pressure that we felt today,” Spieth said. “That was fun. It was fun waking up today, knowing I’ve got another chance to win a major. You get that blood running through your veins; your mind just knows the position that you’re in. It’s just a different feeling than any other position. I enjoy it. It’s a thrill.”
The OWGR was established in 1986. See who has held the title of world's top golfer in the gallery below.