Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth, bottom center, celebrates with the men’s golf team after winning the 2012 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship. Spieth broke multiple records at this year’s Masters Tournament and tied Tiger Woods’ record for lowest overall score.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Jordan Spieth has much in common with the average UT student. The former Longhorn, who attended the University from 2011–2012, calls Dallas home, avidly roots for the Cowboys, and celebrated his 21st birthday in July.

But on Sunday, Spieth made history, trading in his burnt orange for a green jacket and joining a slightly more prestigious club.

Spieth won the 2015 Masters Tournament with a score of 18-under par, tying a record set by Tiger Woods in 1997. Spieth is the fifth player in history to lead the tournament from start to finish and the first wire-to-wire champion since Raymond Floyd in 1976.

It was a record-breaking weekend for Spieth, who set the Masters record for lowest score through 36 holes (-14) and 54 holes (-16) and tied the 72-hole score record (-18). Additionally, he broke Phil Mickelson’s record for most birdies at the Masters with 28 and became the first person to reach 19-under par at Augusta. Spieth is also among the youngest winners of the tournament, barely older than Woods was when he won almost two decades ago.

CBS anchor Jim Nantz called Spieth’s Masters showing “one of the epic performances in the history of the sport,” claiming that “a new era has arrived.”

It is undeniable that Spieth’s success at such a young age rivals only that of four-time Masters champion Woods. It’s been nearly two decades since Woods arrived on the scene and revived the sport in the late 1990s. With his classic good looks, southern charm and rare ability to play golf nearly perfectly, Spieth is well on his way to reigniting golf’s waning popularity.

“It’s truly inspiring to see the type of things you can accomplish by putting in hard work, especially when they are done by a guy as nice and humble as Jordan,” said Connor Bush, mechanical engineering junior and a former high school classmate of Spieth’s. “It’s crazy to think that someone I used to walk by in the halls every day is going on to accomplish such incredible feats.”

Incredible feats they are. This marks Spieth’s third win on the PGA Tour. Following this Masters win, he will rise to No. 2 in the world. 

“What a week and day for Jordan,” said Ryan Murphy, former Texas men’s golf assistant coach. “He’s a very special young man, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach and be around him during his time at Texas. His winning the Masters does not surprise me. He’s as strong mentally as any young person that I have been around. It is a great day for the Spieth family as well as the Longhorn family.”

Jordan Spieth continues to shine, Nicklaus still adding to resume

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.   

Europe claims third straight Ryder Cup over the Americans

As the United States headed into the final round for the Ryder Cup today, it trailed Europe, 10-6.

However, despite a push from the Americans, Europe came out with its third straight Ryder Cup win.

Friday morning marked first matchup occurred between U.S. rookies Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth as they were paired up against Gallacher and Ian Poulter.  Though, it came as a shock, that the rookies upset the Europeans.  For Poulter, this was the worst loss of his Ryder Cup career. 

Also for the Americans, veterans Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley went out and beat Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.

Things were looking good for the U.S. as it led after the morning, 2.5-1.5.  However, U.S. captain Tom Watson decided to sit the hot young stars and put his trust in Mickelson and Bradley. 

That afternoon, the U.S. could not slow down the Europeans as they won 3.5-.5, ending the day with a 5-3 lead.

The U.S. led Saturday morning 2.5-1.5, cutting the European lead, 6.5-5.5.  Europe, once again, gained control in the afternoon, leading 3.5-.5. And, on Sunday, Watson put the trust in the rookies and Rickie Fowler sidelining Mickelson, Bradley, and Webb Simpson.

However, Sunday marked another win for Europe.  McIlroy earned the first point for Europe as he defeated Fowler to extend the lead 11-6.  After that, the Europeans cruised to victory.  Graeme McDowell came back to defeat Spieth, while Martin Kaymer beat Bubba Watson. 

The final blow to the U.S. came when Jamie Donaldson hit a 9-iron just 2 feet short on the 15th hole.  Europe finished with a score of 16.5-11.5.  Not only did Europe win its third straight Ryder Cup, they also won it for the 8th time out of the last 10 events.

It was not so long ago that Jordan Spieth, the former Longhorn and young golf talent, made people wonder if the second coming of Tiger Woods had arrived.

It was April 13, Masters Sunday, and the Dallas native had finished the coveted tournament tied for second-place. Then 20-years-old, he had nearly become the youngest golfer to ever wear the green jacket. He had almost topped men more than ten years his senior.

But “almost” has remained the key word, even after two more major tournaments. He didn’t win at Augusta, and hasn’t come close to claiming his first major since. His name has faded from the headlines, replaced by other talented young golfers like Rory McIlroy.

“It will sting to some extent until I get myself back in that position … and that could be awhile from now,” Spieth said after the Masters. “I just want to be back in this position because it was so much fun.”

Spieth has never been one to let himself permanently fall out of relevancy. His name has been important in golf circles since he was scoring in the 60s as a teenager.

The season’s final major, the PGA Championship this weekend, will be Spieth’s next chance to prove that he can become golf’s best young player.

Spieth has won the Texas high school state championships, the 2012 NCAA national championship, 31 top-25 PGA finishes, one PGA victory and a No. 11 world ranking. But for him to begin a legacy that could match one of the greats by the time he is done, he must win a major soon.

The best golfers of all-time started winning the big ones at a young age, making this year’s PGA Championship especially important for Spieth.

“Maybe last year at this time I would have liked to have just gotten myself into contention on Sunday’s and wouldn’t have known what that would’ve been like,” Spieth said in mid-July before The Open Championship. “But after the Masters and the Players (Championship), those experience have given me confidence that if I’m on my game, I feel like I can win (majors).”

Spieth has proven that he is ready. Yes, he has let go of his lead already twice this year at two big tournaments (Masters and Player’s Championship), but that also means he is just a few holes away.

He tied for 36th at The Open Championship, and his best finish of late was the tournament before that, the John Deere Classic, where he finished tied for seventh. He’s only missed the cut twice in 2014 but hasn’t finished better than second.

Winning a major may be more mental than anything for Spieth. He’s still just 21 years old, and that has shown in major tournaments through his frustrations, especially in The Masters.

But Spieth has always been known for his maturity and confidence. When he is able to channel those strengths, he is at his best on the course.

“I think I’m ready to win a major, and that’s a great feeling,” Spieth said shortly after sinking the last hole. “I’m hungry (to win), to be honest with you.”

Bridging the gap between that hunger for a win and an actual victory is something Spieth will try to prove he is finally ready for at the PGA Championship this weekend.

Quotes from espn.com and golfchannel.com 

Easter weekend has passed, spring has finally arrived and with it the PGA Tour gets into full swing.

With the Masters having come and gone, golf season is now in prime season. Several golfers from Big 12 schools have taken to the course early on this year and proved they have the stuff to compete with the very best in the sport.

Perhaps the best, and most surprising, start to this year’s season is from 36-year old Jimmy Walker.

The 13-year pro out of Baylor has won three tournaments – The Frys.com Open, Sony Open, and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – and is ranked second on the PGA money list so far this year.

So far, this is Walker’s best season since he turned pro in 2001, and he’s not showing signs of slowing down after his eighth place finish in the Masters. Keep an eye out for Walker throughout the course of this year’s season.

It seems like every year we just keep waiting for Rickie Fowler to have that breakout season. This is Fowler’s fifth year since turning pro, and it should be about time to see some major results.

Fowler has been on a hot streak as of late; with two top-ten finishes in his last two tournaments - taking fifth in the Masters. He can’t depend on his bright clothing style to bring him victories though.

If Fowler, currently ranked 35th in the world, can improve on his putting and make a few more greens, we could easily see him contending in many more tournaments throughout the season.

Lastly, there’s the wonder-kid Jordan Spieth. The twenty-year-old former Longhorn has had an incredible start to his young career.

Since turning pro in 2012, Spieth has made over 6 million in total earnings and finished in the top ten 14 times. His remarkable start resembles that of Rory Mcilroy, another young golfer that has recently had tremendous success in the early stages of his career.  

In Spieth’s best performance yet was in this years Masters. Going into Sunday, Spieth shared the lead with Bubba Watson and even pulled ahead by three strokes at one point before finishing at even on the day.

The 20 year-old did not buckle under the pressure. Instead of folding to Watson, he maintained steady play and took second in the tournament, showing maturity and the ability to stay mentally strong in the face of defeat.

Spieth may have not won the Masters, but rest assured the young Texan will be in contention for many more Sundays to come.

The next big PGA event will be the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass May 8-11. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Alongside the rest of the golfing world, Jordan Spieth was forced to watch Bubba Watson sink putt after crucial putt en route to a final-round comeback that gave him his second green jacket in three years. Although Spieth could not maintain the pace set by Watson, the former Longhorn gave a debut that was notable in ways that cemented him in Masters history.

The 20-year-old Spieth had all of America buzzing as he entered the tournament’s final day tied atop the leaderboard at 5-under-par, within striking distance of passing Tiger Woods to become the youngest player to ever win the Masters. This prospect became even more attainable when he jumped out to a 2-stroke lead after the seventh hole.

Unfortunately, things momentarily unraveled for him on the eighth and ninth holes, as he bogeyed each while Watson sunk back-to-back birdie putts in a sudden 4-stroke swing. In the end, overcoming these blunders proved too tall a task for the Texas ex, as he finished 3 strokes behind Watson.

On the surface, many have pointed to Rory McIlroy’s 2011 collapse and argue Spieth’s performance mirrors it. McIlroy, who was 21 years old at the time, also could not maintain a multiple-stroke lead in the final round with a chance to become the second youngest player to win the green jacket.

The comparisons stop there, though. Spieth’s final round resembled nothing close to McIlroy’s breakdown three years ago, when the Northern Irishman choked away a four-shot lead by shooting an 80 over the final 18 holes, which equates to a score of 8 over par. When it was all said and done, he finished tied for 15th and 10 strokes off the leader.  

To this day, McIlroy’s performance is considered one of the biggest meltdowns in Masters history. Spieth, on the other hand, shot a 72 on Sunday, giving him an even score for the day. While it wasn’t enough to keep up with Watson, who clearly looked more confident as he made his late charge, his final round wasn’t a collapse. If anything, it was a testament to his mental fortitude.

After bogeying the last two holes on the front nine, Spieth could have easily folded under the pressure. Instead, he maintained his composure, finishing tied for second and finishing just one over par on the back nine.

Despite coming up short, Spieth showed resolve and maturity that far exceed his youth. At 20 years old, he missed his chance to surpass Tiger as the youngest Masters champion but has simultaneously emerged as a household name. With a sharp mind and the skill set to match it, Spieth will no doubt become a familiar face atop PGA Tour leaderboards for years to come.   

Jordan Spieth hits out of a bunker on the 10th hole during the fourth round of the Masters Golf Tournament on Sunday in Augusta, Ga. 

Photo Credit: AP Exchange | Daily Texan Staff

Former Longhorn Jordan Spieth finished second in his first ever Masters appearance Sunday.

Spieth, a Dallas native, finished the tournament at five under par, three strokes behind Bubba Watson’s -8, which won Watson his second green jacket. 

Spieth, 20, led the field after seven holes Sunday but never regained the lead after bogeying the eighth and ninth holes. He finished tied for second with Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, who was also playing at Augusta for the first time.

Had Spieth won, he would have been the youngest golfer ever to win the Masters.

“I feel like I’m ready to win,” Spieth said. “Maybe I just need a little bit of course knowledge.”

Spieth spent three semesters at Texas, from August 2011 until he went pro in December 2012. He led the Longhorns to an NCAA National Championship in his freshman season and was named Big 12 Player of the Year and a first-team All-American that year.

In his time at Texas, Spieth won three tournaments and recorded 11 top-10 finishes in just 15 tournament appearances.

Since going pro, Spieth has taken the PGA Tour by storm, often drawing comparisons to a young Tiger Woods. When he claimed the John Deere Classic last July, Spieth became the youngest player to win a tour event since 1931. He has nine top-10 finishes as a professional.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo | Daily Texan Staff

Apparently having one of the most successful rookie seasons in PGA Tour history has not affected Texas legend Jordan Spieth at all.

Sophomore golfer Kramer Hickock, a longtime friend of Spieth, said the rookie sensation hasn’t changed a bit. According to Hickock, despite raking in roughly $3.8 million and accruing significant fame in the past year, Spieth has yet to even buy himself a new car.

“Believe it or not, he’s still driving his car that has over 150,000 miles on it, so that might tell you something,” Kramer said.

Seems odd that someone who is just 20 years old with that much wealth would not jump to spend it on himself. But then again, Spieth is far from the average
20-year-old. 

At that age, most people are not winning PGA events in their first season. They are not going from being ranked No. 810 in the world to being ranked No. 20 in just nine months, en route to winning the Rookie of the Year award. They are not posting nine top-10 finishes in 23 events and getting selected to play in the President’s Cup. Spieth has, though, and it has even caught his former teammates by surprise.

“We all knew he had it in him but I don’t think anyone knew it was coming this soon,” Hickok said. “Hats off to him, he works extremely hard and it is paying off
for him.”

Just one year ago, Spieth was still teeing it up with the Longhorns. He was still a college kid in his sophomore year and still competing in amateur tournaments. But with the end of the President’s Cup, in which he contributed to America’s winning score of 18.5-15.5, Spieth officially wrapped up his magical year.

As a Longhorn, Spieth had three victories in just 15 events. He scored in the 60s in 18 rounds of competition and was a vital part of the Longhorns’ 2012
national championship title team. The decision to leave early and take the plunge into the pros has undoubtedly paid off for Spieth. It was a decision that Longhorns head coach John Fields said he commends to this day. 

“We were lucky to have him at Texas,” Fields said. “He came here, won a
national championship and lit the tower [orange]. He’s had ridiculous success.” 

While his professional career is just beginning, Fields said based on his weekly conversations with Spieth, he knows the former Longhorn is handling the spotlight well and believes Spieth has the ability to be one of the best PGA players ever. He also said that because of Spieth, Texas has become an even more desirable university to play golf for.

Senior Toni Hakula, who played next to Spieth on the 2012 National Championship team, said Spieth is representing Texas in the best way possible. He too believes Spieth’s abilities are limitless and said the way he is doing things makes it even
more admirable.

“He’s making all of us proud of how he is playing,” Hakula said. “Everyone knows he went to Texas, we’ve seen him wear a little Texas gear out there, so we are definitely proud of him. He looks like a veteran
out there.”

Former Longhorn Jordan Spieth won a three person playoff to win the PGA Tour John Deere Classic Sunday evening. With the win, at 19-years old, Spieth is the youngest player in 80 years to win on the PGA Tour. The last under-20 to win on the PGA Tour was Ralph Guldahl in 1931 who won the Santa Monica Open.

Spieth defeated David Hearn and Zach Johnson with a two-foot putt and finished on-par on the fifth hole of the playoff round. He earned a spot in the Open Championship which will take place next week. 

The Longhorns will tee off for the first time since the departure of Jordan Spieth today when they compete in the Amer Ari Invitational in Kona, Hawaii.

Spieth, who was a key part of the 2012 national championship team, decided to go pro on Dec. 14.

Taking over for Spieth is freshman Brandon Stone, who is ranked third in the country by Golfweek and was named to the Ben Hogan Award watch list last week. Spieth was a Hogan Award finalist as a freshman.

Senior Cody Gribble is ranked 50th in the rankings.

The tournament is the Longhorns’ first in 2013. In their four tournaments in the fall, the Longhorns finished no lower than fourth and won the Carpet Capital Collegiate to start the year. Texas is currently ranked second as a team in the Golfweek rankings, behind California.

The tournament field is filled with top teams, including No. 6 Washington, No. 7 UCLA and No. 8 Southern California. The Longhorns will also face Big 12 opponents Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and TCU in the tournament.