2015- Jordan Spieth’s Magical Year

The 2014-2015 PGA Tour season belonged to one man. Jordan Spieth. Two Major’s, a $10 million payout and becoming the worlds best player. This is a recap of his incredible season.

Spieth started his season in November 2014 at the HSBC Champions World Golf Championship finishing tied for 35th place after being unable to post a sub-70 round. December came along and a trip down under to compete in the Hero World Challenge proved to be the foundation for what was about to be his best season to date. Despite not being an official event rounds of 66, 67, 63 and a final round 66 helped Spieth post 26-under-par and blow away the field to pick up his first win of the season.

He won his first FedEx Cup points of the season in January at the Waste Management Phoenix Open where a final round 65 helped him to finish tied for 7th place. A missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open was followed up by two top-10 finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open in the following fortnight.

 (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Spieth was starting to show signs of improvement and the month of March was the month where he seemed to change gear approaching the first Major of the year. He became only the fourth player to win twice on the PGA Tour before his 22nd birthday when he won the Valspar Championship in a three-man playoff alongside Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair. After the win he talked about one day becoming the best player in the game:

“That’s our ultimate goal is to eventually, you know, be the best in the world and this is a great, great stepping stone. But going into the four majors of the year, to have closed one out in this kind of fashion is going to give me a lot of confidence.”

The confidence was certainly there and when he drove down Magnolia Lane for the first Major of the season he could not have dreamed what the next week had in store. An opening round of 64 gave Spieth a 3-shot advantage over Jason Day, Ernie Els, Charley Hoffman and Englishman Justin Rose. He carried on his dominance with a second round of 66 to open up a 5-shot advantage over Hoffman. He did the damage early on and 3rd and 4th rounds of 70 gave Spieth a 4-shot victory and won his first Major Championship. The way he blew away the field was very similar to Tiger Woods in his prime and the victory at Augusta allowed the young Texan to dream of many more Major successes.

He followed his maiden Major victory up with an outstanding performance at the U.S Open where the week was dominated by talk of the course condition at Chambers Bay. After the first round Spieth found himself three shots adrift from leaders Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson, a second round 67 was enough to see him tied for the lead alongside Patrick Reed. Spieth was looking like the player everyone had been predicting he could become and he was battling hard to keep himself at the top of the leaderboard. Dustin Johnson was threatening to spoil the party though, and when he had a 12-foot eagle putt and two putts to win his first Major, Spieth was expecting the worst. Johnson missed the first putt and Spieth was gearing up for a Monday playoff, that was until Johnson missed the resulting 3-foot birdie putt and all of a sudden Spieth was a two-time Major winner. The win made Spieth the first player to win two Majors before the age of 22 since Gene Sarazen in 1922 and the youngest U.S Open Champion since Bobby Jones in 1923. All of a sudden Jordan Spieth was a major force to be reckoned with in the world of Golf.

 (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

His success at the opening two Majors of the year drew attention and made him the main attraction at the Open Championship at St Andrews in July. He was aiming to win his third Major in a row and carry on his incredible run. However, it was agony for Spieth as his birdie effort at the last hole during the final round meant he finished one shot back of the playoff and tied for 4th place overall. All in all his efforts at The Old Course were impressive for a man with so much pressure on his shoulders. He vowed to brush himself down and get ready for the final Major of the year at the PGA Championship.

He arrived at Whistling Straits as favourite, but the week belonged to Australian Jason Day. Like Spieth, Day was also one shot off the playoff at St Andrews and was showing signs that his first Major was just around the corner. It would come with a dominant display at the PGA Championship. Spieth finished his Major season with a 2nd place finish, making it by far his best season on Tour in the Majors.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

With the Major season over, attention turned to the FedEx Cup Playoffs and after such a brilliant season things threatened to turn sour when Spieth missed two consecutive cuts at the Barclays and then at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Despite the missed cuts Spieth still remained on top of the FedEx Cup rankings and that position was consolidated with a tied for 13th finish at the BMW Championship, the penultimate event of the playoffs. He entered the Tour Championship needing a final win to secure the $10million bonus. Four consecutive rounds in the 60’s guaranteed the win he needed and he was crowned the FedEx Cup Champion.

The win meant that Spieth had won over $22million in prize money for 2015,surpassing Tiger Woods record of $20.9million back in 2007. So how exactly did Spieth go from a one-time PGA Tour winner to a two-time Major Champion and FedEx Cup Champion in the space of two seasons. When you compare his stats to 2014, you can see exactly why he had the success he had.

                                                                   2014                              2015

Scoring average:                              69.946   (14th)      v       68.938    (1st)

Strokes gained tee-to-green        0.512   (38th)        v       1.511    (4th)

Strokes gained putting                  0.398   (20th)       v       0.572   (8th)

Greens in regulation                      62.47%   (152nd)    v       67.87%  (49th)


Spieth made 701 one-putts (44.26%) and made 1,031 putts inside 10-feet (88.20%). It’s clear to see that his putting over the course of the season made him the player he is today and he will look to carry that form into the 2015-2016 season.


The Presidents Cup: Sunday’s Singles recap

It was a case of so near yet so far once again for Team International, as Team USA held off a spirited fightback to claim their 6th Presidents Cup victory in a row.

 (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Jay Haas’ men entered the final day leading by one point and needing six points to retain the cup. Thanks to Bill Haas’ point in the final match, Team USA achieved that magic number of points as home favourite Sangmoon Bae almost broke down in tears after duffing a chip on the 18th hole.

Patrick Reed (U.S) halved with Louis Oosthuizen (INT): In the leadoff match the South African never managed to get himself in front, but a match that was filled with quality ended with a magical eagle from Oosthuizen to salvage a half-point for the International Team. It was Reed who found himself 2up through 11 holes, but birdies at 12 and 14 allowed Oosthuzien to draw back level at all square. Reed though would not be put down, and when he holed for par at the 16th to go 1up with two to play it seemed like the match could be drifting away from the South African. That was however until he made a brilliant eagle at the last hole to earn the half-point.

Adam Scott (INT) def. Rickie Fowler (U.S) 6&5: Adam Scott’s demolition of 2015 Player’s Champion Rickie Fowler was the first point won of the day. It was a slow start to the match and through 6 holes it remained all square. From the 7th hole though Scott found his putting form that has been missing over the first three days and won six holes in a row with birdies at the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th.

Dustin Johnson (U.S) def. Danny Lee (INT) 2&1: This match started off terribly for Danny Lee, he bogeyed the first three holes to fall 3 down early on, but he slowly got himself back into the match . With a birdie at the 11th hole Lee found himself back to all square against Johnson and then took the lead with a birdie at the 14th hole after Johnson found the hazard. However, Lee lost the next three holes by making three consecutive birdies and Johnson picked up another much needed point for the Americans.

Hideki Matsuyama (INT) def. JB Holmes (U.S) 1UP: Matsuyama won the match on the final hole with a birdie after Holmes failed to get up and down for a birdie. It was a key point for the Internationals and one that as greatly celebrated by Nick Price and the rest of the team.

Bubba Watson (U.S) halved with Thongchai Jaidee (INT): Bubba won the second hole and led for the whole match until Jaidee pulled it back to all square at the 17th hole. It was a great comeback after being 3 down at one stage in the match. After finding the water at the 18th hole Jaidee looked to have lost the match at the last, but Watson missed a 5-foot birdie putt which gave the International team a half point.

Steven Bowditch (INT) def. Jimmy Walker (U.S) 2UP: Bowdicth won the valuable point for the Internationals with a back-nine comeback after finding himself 1 down after nine holes. After winning holes 10-12 Bowdicth was 2up on teh tee at the 17th, but a missed par putt lost him the hole and the match went down the final hole. A birdie for the Australian however won him his only point of the week.

Phil Mickelson (U.S) def. Charl Schwartzel (INT) 5&4: Captains pick Mickelson continued to prove why he was a great choice from Jay Haas. Schwartzel continued his poor form with two opening bogeys which gave Mickelson a 2up lead. From there, he was never down and won the match comfortably with a birdie at the 14th hole to secure the point for the U.S team.

  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Chris Kirk (U.S) def. Anirban Lahiri (INT) 1UP: As the matches were starting to come to a conclusion, this was a very important one at that for Team International. Kirk was up in the match from the 3rd to the 13th hole until Lahiri birdied 14 to get back to all square. It was level until the final hole and when Lahiri pitched to 4-foot it looked like he could steal the point. Kirk made an unlikely 15-foot birdie putt and put the pressure on the Indian debutant. The pressure was to much for Lahiri who lipped out from 4-feet to gift Kirk the point.

Marc Leishman (INT) def. Jordan Spieth (U.S) IUP: In what was a supposed guaranteed point for the U.S team, it turned out to be a great steal from Marc Leishman and the International team against the world number one Jordan Spieth. Once again, it was another back-nine comeback after he was 2 down early. Leisman squared the match at the 14th with a birdie and then went 1up with another at the 15th hole. Leishman made sure of the International point with a 8-foot birdie at the final hole to secure an unlikely point.

Zach Johnson (U.S) def. Jason Day (INT) 3&2: The unlikely point that Leishman won against Spieth was quickly cancelled out when Zach Johnson defeated Jason Day. Day never really got close to Johnson who was 5 up through 11 holes. Day made a comeback and got back to 2 down through 15  holes. However, a par for Johnson at the 16th hole wrapped up the victory for the U.S team.

Branden Grace (INT) def. Matt Kuchar (U.S) 2&1: The in form South African was 5 up through 9 holes and continued his incredible run with a comfortable win against Kuchar. The American threatened to make a comeback as he won the 10th, 14th 15th and 16th holes, but Grace closed out victory on the 17th hole to take his 2015 Presidents Cup record to 5-0-0.

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Bill Haas (U.S) def. Sangmoon Bae (INT) 2UP: The 2015 Presidents Cup came down to the final hole, and with Sangmoon Bae 1 down on the 18th hole he needed to chip in for Eagle to win the hole and share the Presidents Cup with the Americans. Bae attempted to chip into the bank but agonisingly missed the ridge and saw the ball roll back to his feet. He was heartbroken and when Haas pitched out of the bunker to 5-feet Bae conceded the match, much to the delight of Jay Haas, who had just saw his son win the point that helped the U.S team retain the Presidents Cup.

All in all it was a brilliant Presidents Cup and a lot closer than predicted. It shows the game of Golf is in a good place right now and with a lot of good players coming through, we are in for another brilliant season next year.