Jordan Spieth may not be perfect, but he showed he’s pretty close to it as he finished second in the PGA championship and moved to the No. 1 ranking in the world, according to ESPN today, Sunday, Aug. 16. The Dallas, Texas native had one of the most extraordinary years in golfing history by winning the Masters, The U.S. Open, coming within one stroke of the British Open playoff and finishing three strokes behind Jason Day to claim second in the PGA championship.
That’s a better record in the major tournaments of golf than most golfers enjoy in a lifetime. And today”s solo second place finish combined with Rory McIlroy’s 17th place finish meant a new No. 1 in the world. Spieth, at age 22, supplanted the Irishman atop the world rankings with his finish today. His earnings this year would allow him to retire if he was so inclined. He earned more than $10 million for the year. Today’s runner-up finish was good for $1.1 million.
McIlroy, who at age 26 was the top-rated golfer in the world, said, “The way Jordan has been pllaying and the way I haven’t played much this year…if he goes to No. 1 today, it’s very deservedly so.”
In addition to performing so incredibly at those four major tournaments, Spieth also won t he Valspar Championship and the John Deere Classic in 2015. He began this year ranked No. 9 which isn’t bad for a 21-year old dropout from the University of Texas. The well-grounded youth said of his new perch atop the world, “It was just a career goal at one point in my career.”
There is an incredible story which illustrates the kind of talent and season Spieth is enjoying. After he won the U.S. Open in June, he treated himself to a vacation in the Bahamas with friends. En route home rom a snorkeling venture, he threw a couple fishing lines over the side of the boat. The golfing wunderkind engaged in a duel with a huge tuna reminiscent of the battle described by Ernest Hemingway in his novel “The Old Man and The Sea.” While the Hemingway character eventually brought his big fish home, Spieth topped even that fish story. He fought for 2 1/2 hours with his big tuna. He and his friends were amazed at the conclusion of Spieth’s battle.
“What surfaced was like a 12-foot long, 300-pound blacktip shark that had eaten the tuna and then had hooked itself. So I guess I caught both in one,” Spieth said, grinning, according to his website Jordan Spieth.
Although his fete of achieving the No. 1 ranking at such a young age is unusual, he is more than a golfer. He recently created the Jordan Spieth Charitable Trust to lend time, awareness, and financial assistance to three areas of philanthropic concern including special needs youth, military families and junior golf. This month he will host a AJGA championship in conjunction with Under Armour at the Universsity of Texas. For more information regarding that, one may visit jordanspiethgolf.com.
Spieth knew what he wanted to do with his life from an early age. At nine years of age, he mowed a section of the family lawn as low as possible to practice his putting. That inspired his parents to join the Brookhaven Country Club to preserve the family’s yard. At 12, he began taking lessons from former golf pro Cameron McCormick who has helped guide his meteoric rise through the golfing stratosphere.
He established himself as a prodigy at Jesuit High School of Dallas by winning the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 2009 and 2011 becoming the first player since Tiger Woods to accomplish that feat. As a freshman at the University of Texas, he was named Big 12 Player of the Year and first-team All-American as he led the Longhorns to the NCAA championship.
Born July 27, 1993, and the first of three children of father Shawn, a former college baseball player, and mom Chris, a college basketball player, Spieth inherited his parents’ athletic skills.
If he can continue the pace he set this year, he will join the pantheon of greatest golfers ever including Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods and a few others. At age 22, his world is still ahead of him. He has already transcended the world of golf by having a meeting with former President Bill Clinton and an appearance on the Today Show following his historic Masters triumph.
How long can he continue this torrid pace? Only history will tell us someday down the road.