Spieth dazzles in 2016 debut, wins by eight
The 22-year-old reached 30-under to claim his seventh PGA TOUR title
January 10, 2016
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are the only two players since 1970 to have seven wins before the age of 23. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- A few observations following Sunday’s final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where Jordan Spieth shot 6-under 67 to finish at 30 under for the week and win by eight over Patrick Reed. For more on all the action, click here to read the Daily Wrap-up.
1. Spieth’s seventh heaven. Spieth’s victory on Sunday was the seventh of his PGA TOUR career, featured seven birdies in the final round, came in the seventh week of the 2015-16 season and in the 77th start of his career as a professional.
It also tied him with Tiger Woods for the most victories on TOUR by age 23 (though it should be noted Woods won 18 times in his first 77 starts).
But Spieth isn’t going to compare himself to Woods now, or maybe ever, even if others want to start drawing parallels.
“I just think it's premature, but I'll say that probably my entire career,” he said. “I know what he did and what -- I just find it hard to believe that it can be matched. I know we're in a position now where we're actually maybe ahead of the curve age-wise. But, boy, it would be hard to believe I could be compared to him the entire course of a career. I hope that's the case, but I'm certainly going to strive for it.
“What he has done for the game of golf is something special and I just don't feel I deserve to necessarily be compared to him right now, but maybe I do. I don't know. Personally I don't think so.”
2. Getting to 30 under. He didn’t tie Ernie Els’ tournament record of 31 under from 2003, but Spieth accomplished his goal of getting to at least 30 under, closing with birdies on three of his final four holes Sunday.
What was he most proud of this week?
“I'm proud that in this off-season and really taking quite a bit of time off during that off-season, the limited off-season, our game seemed to be rounded into form,” Spieth said. “I'm still working on a couple things that we're trying to work on -- I'm not just taking it back and through. I've still got feelings in my swing throughout the week that I had. So we'll continue to work on it. But my putter felt great, which is huge to start your first tournament back and not really feel like you have to work much on putting, other than getting the speed down.”
Spieth led the field in strokes gained-putting. It didn’t hurt that he was third in proximity to the hole, either.
3. Spieth’s social media struggles. One of the keys to Spieth’s success, he says, is learning to block out the noise. He’s on Twitter and Instagram but doesn’t pay much attention to what’s said about him -- by doing so it helps him manage his own expectations.
“It's the target on my back,” Spieth said. “It's just what comes with what I love to do, I guess.
“I guess accepting that is the first step. Just accepting that everything's in the spotlight, everything's going to be judged. Some people aren't going to like your swing, the way you grip the club, it's just everything's under a microscope to, at least in the golf world, and now extending outwards.
“I struggle a bit with social media. Trying to quiet the noise there, just people that just want to make comments -- so I've just gone away from looking at any comments on Instagram, Twitter. People just want to say stuff just to say stuff. … I have as high expectations as anybody else. So, if I'm not reaching my own, I'm going to be upset with myself. I'm not going to let other people’s expectations take the best of me.”
4. Reed’s lone bogey. The last player to go 72 holes without a bogey and not win on the PGA TOUR was Charles Howell III at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. Reed nearly joined him, until he bogeyed the par-5 15th Sunday.
It was an odd one to bogey. The 555-yard hole was the third-easiest on the course and just three bogeys were made there on Sunday.
Reed birdied it two of the previous three rounds but on Sunday pulled his tee shot into the left rough, laid up, missed the green long and failed to get up-and-down, missing an 8-footer for par.
“Honestly, it was probably the easiest up-and-down I had all week,” Reed said. “It was a putt from the fringe. Unfortunately I didn't hit it hard enough.
“But at the end of the day if you would have told me coming into this week with the wind blowing hard the third and fourth round that I was only going to have one bogey for the week, I would have taken it.”
5. Not Day’s week. Jason Day saved his best golf for last. It wasn’t close to good enough -- he shot 65 Sunday but still finished 15 shots back in a tie for 10th.
The final few holes were a microcosm of his week on the Plantation Course, where he would have moved back to No. 1 in the world with a win this week. He failed to birdie either of the two par 5s remaining and missed another birdie opportunity with a poor wedge from the fairway on the par-4 16th. It was the kind of rust that comes with three months off.
“It’s difficult to come out sharp and ready to play,” Day said about the extended break. “Looking back on it, I need to try to make my wedges a lot more sharp and try not to make silly errors. You can’t be three-putting and missing greens with wedges in your hand.”My putting feels like it is 100 percent ready for major championships … I can sit here and say that my putting certainly is ready for the Masters to be next week.
CALL OF THE DAY
Jordan Spieth’s runaway victory at Hyundai
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Good job I guess @JordanSpieth.. Go buy a power ball ticket— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) January 11, 2016
Most PGA TOUR wins before age 23 (since 1970): Tiger Woods, 7 Jordan Spieth, 7 Rory McIlroy, 3 Sergio Garcia, 3 pic.twitter.com/D6EjvPeFuZ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 11, 2016