Tuesday, July 16
Jordan Spieth, 19, Holes Out and Makes History
By Matthew Wurzburger
AT 19 YEARS OF AGE I AM studying history in college. Jordan Spieth, also 19 years old, insists on writing it himself. Spieth bested David Hearn and defending champion Zach Johnson in a grueling five-hole playoff to win the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.
Sunday’s victory was 82 years in the making as young Jordan became the first player since Ralph Guldahl to notch a PGA Tour win before the end of his second decade of life.
The victory and history came within inches of being swept away. On the final hole of regulation Spieth’s third shot came from a greenside bunker 44 feet away from the pin. The ball came out hot, took a fortuitous hop, and found the bottom of the hole for a birdie three.
“The shot on 18 was the luckiest shot I ever hit in my life,” Spieth said following the round.
Spieth’s hole out set the stage for an epic playoff. Each participant had a shot at victory, but neither Johnson nor Hearn could answer the call. Following an errant drive on the fifth playoff hole, Jordan was able to tap in a two footer to save par and seal the deal.
To win the John Deere Classic at this point of the season was momentous for the 19-year-old. Spieth, not a full time member of the PGA Tour, needed a victory to earn full membership and the opportunity to compete for the FedEx Cup. Spieth’s FedEx Cup aspirations are legitimate ones as the points retroactively awarded from past finishes this season place him in 11th place.
Winning the John Deere Classic also punches Spieth’s ticket to Muirfield, Scotland, for this week’s Open Championship, his first major championship as a professional.
Sunday could not have turned out more positively had it been scripted. A very young and very talented player makes history, earns his membership, and a chance to compete in the next major tournament. All indicators point to a long and successful career for Spieth, but currently he is basking in the glory of his recent accomplishments and fretting over the Scottish climate.
“Just got so lucky. That’s what it is. But right now I’m extremely pleased, and a little worried about only having short sleeves going to Scotland,” Spieth said.
Matthew Wurzburger is a University of Virginia student who covers sports for The Cavalier Daily.