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.
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.
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.
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.
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.