With less than 10 days remaining in 2015, golf.swingbyswing.com is counting down the top-10 golf stories of 2015, one per day until New Years Eve. The stories’ place on this list are a result of a criteria set forth by the writer based upon the impact each had on the golf world this year. Here, at No. 1, Jordan Spieth Is The Crown Prince of 2015.
There couldn’t have been a doubt as to what the top storyline of the year would be. Jordan Spieth, winner of the year’s first two major championships and three other events on the PGA Tour, including the Tour Championship, was the undisputed crown prince of 2015.
Despite a late-season run by Jason Day, Spieth’s star never dimmed. Instead, when questions arose as to whether Spieth or Day deserved to win the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award, Speith shut down the doubters with an emphatic four-stroke victory in Atlanta to claim the FedEx Cup, the Tour’s top prize.
Spieth’s precipitous rise from potential star to world No. 1 happened so quickly over the last 14 months that the scope of his achievements have been largely undersold, somehow.
By now, you know the pertinent pieces of information: won five times, two majors, tied Tiger Woods’ low scoring record at the Masters, had the chance to become the first player since Ben Hogan to win the first three legs of the calendar Grand Slam, made a bunch of money.
But, let’s extrapolate a bit, moving from the back forward.
That boatload of cash he won — $12,030,465 in official money — is the most of all time. Prior to 2015, no player had reached $11 million in official earnings. For comparison’s sake, Tiger Woods made $10.8 million in 2007, his most lucrative season in his career. Both Spieth and Woods won the FedEx Cup, bumping their totals up $10 million a piece (but that doesn’t count towards “official money”).
— NCCGA (@NCCGA) December 18, 2015
As for the Grand Slam chase, Spieth fell one stroke short of the eventual playoff at the Open. The stroke, which could have been lost on any of the 72 holes he played that week, is most commonly pointed to the missed putt for par on the 17th hole, the penultimate hole of the championship, but Spieth looks to a bad 3-putt on No. 8 in the final round as the culprit. Instead of picking nits, revel in the fact that — with all the pressure in the world on Spieth to win the Open — he gave himself a chance to get that third leg and came up a shot short.
Yet, it was those two previous majors that acted as Spieth’s coming out party. First, at Augusta, Spieth has his coronation as the golf world’s next young superstar. Then, at the U.S. Open, Spieth showed the resolve and mettle down the stretch to put himself in position to have a chance at victory.
The other two wins, Tour Championship aside, came at the John Deere Classic and the Valspar Championship, both in playoffs, furthering cementing his reputation as a closer in the clutch.
Phil Mickelson, 1 of the best players ever, has never won 2 majors or 5+ times in a PGA Tour season. Spieth is about to do both at 22.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) September 27, 2015
Entering 2016, Jordan Spieth is the No. 1 player in the world, but he has company atop the Official World Golf Rankings. Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy have separated themselves to such an extent, that any usurper from outside of the “Big Three” will have to win multiple times on Tour without any of the three compiling any more world ranking points.
2016 is shaping up to be one of the best golf years in a long time, in large part because of how special Jordan Spieth’s 2015 was.
Back9′s Top-10 Stories of 2015: