In some of the least surprising sports news in recent memory, Jordan Spieth was awarded the PGA Tour‘s Rookie of the Year award on Friday morning. If you somehow haven’t seen him by now, it’s obvious that this kid is something special.
The 20-year-old from Dallas started the 2013 season ranked 810th in the world after missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. Since then, however, he’s only become the youngest player in over 80 years to win on Tour, with his victory at the John Deere Classic earning him full-time member status. He parlayed all of his successes into a coveted spot in the TOUR Championship, where his phenomenal Sunday finish nearly allowed him to catch up to eventual champion Henrik Stenson.
It’s the type of season even Spieth himself didn’t imagine when it started. ”The beginning of the year, my goal — I’ve said it a million times — it was just to get my 2014 PGA Tour card,” Spieth said in USA TODAY. “I thought that it would come through the Web.com Tour this year and the Web.com Playoffs. And those couple weeks happen at Puerto Rico (tie for second) and Tampa (tie for seventh) that really changed my golf life.”
Now that he’s realized all his goals and then some, it’s time to reset. He’ll be a member of the Fred Couples-led American squad at next week’s President’s Cup, and with the new “wraparound” schedule the Tour is beginning, he’ll have just a few weeks off before he turns his focus to the 2014 campaign.
No doubt, now that the spotlight is aimed squarely at him, many people will be expecting a sort of “sophomore slump” from Spieth, a return to Earth after taking the Tour by storm. I don’t see that happening, though. If anything, 2013 had a little bit of everything for him, including five missed cuts to go along with his nine top-tens and three runner-up finishes. He’s shown the ability and the desire to work through the inevitable downswings golf will present, and it’ll only make him a stronger player.
This may not seem like a real big stretch right now, but I expect Spieth to continue to improve in 2014, and he’ll likely have a late September date in Atlanta once again.