He’d missed the cut two weeks in a row, lost his World No 1 ranking and watched as Jason Day dominated for the past eight weeks. Jordan Spieth was frustrated, so he got back to work.
Holding off challenges from the European trio of Stenson, Rose and Casey, Jordan won the Tour Championship at East Lake through magnificent putting, and miraculous escapes. It was his fifth win of the year, equalling Jason Day. With the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup his earnings to $22 million. A million dollars for each year of his life, and that’s just on the course.
Apart from the drama of the Spieth-Day rivalry, I was most impressed by the performances of New Zealander Danny Lee, and Surrey’s Paul Casey. Casey seems transformed as a player. No more angry drives, he seems in control of mind and body and he’s reaping the rewards.
Although Jordan’s dominance of the majors this year, a Masters and US Open win, second at the PGA and one shot out of the playoff for the Open Championship has to be lauded, he isn’t perfect, his ball striking can be quite mediocre. But what I do enjoy is seeing him putt. His mentor, Ben Crenshaw, seems to be in that putting stroke. There’s the same forward press, the similar tempo and the choice to die the ball into the hole rather than hitting the putt aggressively. Jordan’s putting statistics are remarkable. This season he had 700 two putts a 44% success rate. But last season that stat was even better 809 two putts 46% accuracy. This s adon he made 380 birdies.
This Tour Championship was the climax of a year which has seen the changing of the guard. The Woods – Mickelson era was then, this is now. It’s interesting that Tiger has formed a firm friendship with Jason Day, and while off having another back surgery has been texting him advice. Not so Mickelson and Spieth. In a way Jordan is the anti-Mickelson. He doesn’t smile much and doesn’t seek the love of the gallery. He makes Mickelson, who one PGA Tour Player is quoted as saying “Nobody smiles that much. It’s not genuine”, look cultivated for show. No, they have a rivalry which shows Mickelson will find it hard to let go of his mantle as America’s sweetheart. When playing a practice foursome Jordan disappeared from the group and was seen placing something gleaming in the sunlight onto the green they were hitting to. When Mickelson approached he saw it was the US Open trophy, the only major he’s never won.
He laughed. “If I was in his shoes, I’d do exactly the same thing myself”.