Every up-and-coming star on the PGA Tour is inevitably compared to Tiger Woods. This is an unfair comparison, as Woods is a “once in a generation” talent for a reason. That said, Jordan Spieth has an opportunity to do something this week that not even Woods accomplished — win a major before turning 21. If the way Spieth has played this year is any indication, he just might do it.
Spieth turned professional at the end of 2012 at just 19 years old, and he quickly made his mark on tour. He won the John Deere Classic during his rookie season, then lost in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship shortly after that. Spieth’s rapid ascension up the world golf rank was highlighted by his selection to the U.S. Presidents Cup Team.
He’s continued that success in 2014, notably in the biggest tournaments. He tied for fourth at the AT&T Pebble Beach, made it to the quarterfinals at the Accenture Match Play, and finished second at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He teed off in the final pairing at both The Masters and The Players, finishing in the top five of both events. The only thing he hasn’t done this season is come away with a win.
There’s no doubt that he has the talent to do that this weekend at Pinehurst. The U.S. Open is different from The Masters in that the rough is generally more penal, but obviously putting will be critical. Spieth is 29th on tour in strokes gained putting and 5th on tour in scrambling from the rough, so his short game is pretty strong. The question mark will be his consistency driving the ball. If he’s regularly finding the fairway off the tee, he’ll probably hang around the first page of the leaderboard.
Spieth may not come away with the victory at Pinehurst, but don’t be surprised to see him lurking on Sunday and contending in another big event.