When Jordan Spieth made the long walk down the 18th fairway at Royal Birkdale on Sunday, the crowd already knew what would happen. After a poor start, Spieth carded an incredible back five to give himself a three-stroke lead over second placed Matt Kuchar. The 24-year-old only needed to two-putt from 35 yards on the 18th. It was his third Major Title as Spieth continued an incredible start to his young career. With comparisons to Tiger Woods easy to make, is it really time for Jordan Spieth to kick on and become the dominant force in golf for the next ten years.
Jordan Spieth burst onto the PGA scene after some hugely impressive years at amateur level. The American became best known early on for his 2014 Masters battle with Bubba Watson. His countryman won the green jacket by three strokes that day but the young Spieth was not deterred, and returned the following year with something to prove. 2015 turned out to be an excellent year for Spieth who followed up his Master Tournament success in April with victory in the U.S. Open a few months later.
It was supposed to be the beginning of a new age in men’s golf. No player had dominated the sport since Tiger Woods in the late-1990s with many suggesting that Spieth was the coming storm. The youngster followed up that double success with another two excellent finishes in the other Majors: a second place finish in the PGA Championship and one stroke off the lead at The Open. He was expected to kick on and dominate in the New Year but 2016 was a strange year for both Spieth and golf itself. 2016 was just the second calendar year since 1959 when all four Majors were won by players winning their first. Spieth tied for second in the 2016 Masters but his performances in the five Majors which followed was poor.
That all changed when he took to the course at Royal Birkdale. Spieth looked stronger, fitter, and a more composed golfer. He tied for the lead after his first round, led outright after his second, and took a three stroke lead into the final day thanks to his third round 65. He started woefully, with three bogeys in the first four holes. Spieth look rattled and annoyed and when he hit a wayward drive on the 13th, the American was forced to take his shot from one of the practice tees. He eventually finished with a bogey and lost the lead to rival Kuchar. That could’ve been the end of his tournament but Spieth kicked on. He finished with five-under in the final five holes and two-putted on the eighteenth to secure a three-stroke lead.
At just 24 years old, Spieth has already won enough to justify a successful career for almost any other golfer. He’s one of 19 players to have won at least three of the four Major titles and would join an elite group of golf royalty should he ever triumph at the PGA Championships which he is second favourite to do on Betway Sports as of 27 July with odds of 8/1. Spieth is also just the second man after Jack Nicklaus to win three of the four Majors before his 24th birthday.
Some of the greats of the game are glowing in their opinion of Jordan Spieth. When asked if Spieth could become one of golf’s greats, Nicklaus replied: “It’s up to him, with the things that (Jordan) has already done at a very young age.
“Jordan seems to, at times, not hit the ball particularly straight but manages his way around the golf course. That maturity at a young age is pretty special and hard to teach.”
There are clear comparisons to be made between Spieth and the greats of the game at his age. No player has had a bigger impression on golf in the last twenty years than Tiger Woods but the 41-year-old hadn’t actually won as much as Spieth has at this point of his career. Tiger was a full six months older by the time he’d won his third Major title but, admittedly, he did hold all four Major titles within a year of that.
But Spieth isn’t the only young player out there who can win majors in the next decade. There are several other player on the tour who will want to rival Spieth in the next ten years. Rory McIlroy is the obvious one who comes to mind. The Northern Irishman is another player who is one Major away from the full set of four and despite not winning one since 2014, he’ll be hoping for a change in fortunes in the coming years. Of the younger players, Jon Rahm is someone who is attracting attention. The Spaniard has dominated the amateur scene for some time and has recently won his first PGA and European Tour titles. Rahm entered the top ten for the first time in July 2017 and will be hoping to make a splash in a Major in the coming years.
It remains to be seen whether or not Jordan Spieth can become the next dominant force in golf. No player has dominated the male game since Tiger Woods in the late-1990s/early-2000s but there are some clear similarities between Spieth and the likes of Tiger. His success at The Open showed the sort of mental toughness needed to be at the top of the game and with the considerable technical ability he has at his disposal, Spieth just needs to stay focussed and keep doing what he’s doing.