You may not know it, but Jordan Spieth just accomplished a feat so impressive, nobody has done it since Tiger Woods back in 1996.
This year, Spieth became the first player since Woods to begin a season on the PGA Tour with no member status whatsoever to qualify for the Tour Championship. After finishing in fourth place at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Spieth finds himself in 10th place in the FedEx Cup points race, with a place in the top 30 secured regardless of what happens at the BMW Championship in two weeks.
Woods began his 1996 season by missing the cut at the Masters but went on to win that year’s Las Vegas Invitational and the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic on his way to the Tour Championship. The rest of that story, as they say, is history.
So while Spieth may be young, the results he’s gained show that he’s not likely to be just some flash in the pan. He’s a legitimate star in the making, and Fred Couples needs to pick him as part of this year’s President’s Cup team.
The arguments can be made for several other players. Webb Simpson, for instance, just got pushed out of the top ten and a guaranteed spot when Zach Johnson – playing with Simpson on Labor Day – sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Jim Furyk has been playing tremendous golf lately and has been on every American team since 1997.
Couples wouldn’t commit to any of his captain’s picks immediately after the round, although he did praise Spieth’s accomplishment. “Jordan, knowing what he had to do, really played very solid,” Couples said after Spieth’s nine-under 62 on Monday. “He’s got a 50-50 chance. He showed a lot of character.”
With all due respect to the newly-minted Hall of Famer, that’s putting it lightly. Spieth finished 22nd in qualifying but only had this year to earn points. Had he had the full time to qualify he just may have taken the decision out of Couples’ hands.
With the President’s Cup set to begin on October 3 at Muirfield Village, players like Furyk, Simpson, and even Dustin Johnson, who Couples is also considering, are all worthy candidates. But Spieth deserves to reap the rewards for his excellent play this year and should absolutely have a spot on the roster.