Jordan Spieth continues to shine, Nicklaus still adding to resume

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Over the holidays, golfers spent time competing at the Australian Open.  With part of the Open redesigned by Jack Nicklaus and, also, a rule change played the course as a par-71 for the first time, some golfers could've been distactraced.        

However, the changes did not hinder former UT golfer, Jordan Spieth.  Spieth has already impressed on the PGA Tour and Ryder Cup play but showed even more at this tournament. 

In the final round, Spieth finished with a score of 8-under-par 63 and a total of 13-under-par 271, becoming the first American to win the Australian Open since Brad Faxon in 1993.  

Adam Scott, an Australian native, finished in fifth place and nine strokes behind while defending champion, Rory McIlroy, finished with 2-over and fifteen strokes behind Spieth.  With McIlroy’s great ending to last season to be golf’s number 1 player, he is struggling to get back in the swing. 

Three Australians, Rod Pampling, Greg Chalmers, and Brett Rumford, earned spots for next July’s Open Championship.  The Australian Open is the first qualifying tournament for the 2015 Open Championship as it offers three spots to the top finishers who are not already exempt.     

Jack Nicklaus added his own spark to the tournament redesigning the course.  As he continues course designs and is remembered for his 18 titles, Nicklaus is about to receive one more award. 

Nicklaus is set to receive Congress’ civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal after legalization for the award was cleared late Monday night and waiting to be signed by President Barack Obama. 

Nicklaus won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.  By earning the Congressional Gold Medal, he and Arnold Palmer are the only golfers to win both awards.  Other recipients of this award include Rosa Parks, Robert Frost, Joe Louis and Neil Armstrong.