By Bryan Nicholson
There’s a new kid on the block. Forget your Rickie Fowlers or other mooted rivals from the US to the potential dominance of Rory McIlroy. Jordan Spieth has arrived on the scene and he’s no pretender.
He has his sights firmly set on the world no. 1 spot after donning the Green Jacket at Augusta at just 21 years of age. Jordan tied the tournament record low, held by one Tiger Woods as he signed for a -18 total. He’s now the second youngest ever winner at Augusta behind Tiger himself and only the fifth guy in history to win the Masters wire-to-wire.
Hot streak coming into the Majors
In the run up to The Masters, Jordan was on an amazing run of a win at the Valspar Championship, 2nd at the Valero and he lost out in a playoff in Houston. This followed on from an explosive end to the 2014 season where Spieth won the Emirates Australian Open and the Tiger Woods hosted Hero World Challenge, blitzing both fields by 6 and 10 shots respectively. Spieth was previously a double US Amateur champion, and he took the Rookie Of The Year honours on the PGA Tour in 2013.
The Open Championship is now the focus for Jordan who will be among the favourites for the Claret Jug and the question is can Spieth triumph at St. Andrews? The answer is an categorical yes. The Emirates Australian Open win – where he carded an amazing bogey free final round of 63 – already tells us he can compete just as well on foreign soil, and the Australian sandbelt courses can be very firm and open to the elements, mimicking Open Championship conditions. Two trips over to Britain have yielded T34 and T36 finishes for Spieth in The Open Championship and he’ll be looking to make it third time lucky at the home of golf.
Ideal set up for the Masters Champion?
Jordan makes no secret that he wants to stretch his leads and put tournaments to bed early if possible and St. Andrews may be the ideal venue for him. If conditions are benign, St. Andrews lends itself to some very low scoring and Jordan can take advantage of his phenomenal talent on the greens. The American is 1st in putting average and 2nd in birdie average in ’15.
If the wind is up, Spieth has all the shots in the bag to cope. He can shape it both ways and flight it high or low. He also excels in the scrambling department, ranking 17th this year on the PGA Tour. Having watched Jordan in the Players Championship last season, he had all the shots around the greens and rarely looked like he’d fail to get up and down when he missed a surface in the last round. Spieth is currently 10/1 across the board to bag his 2nd major at St. Andrews in July and it could prove money well invested.