Jordan Spieth had a historical year for professional golf in 2015. 6 victories, 2 of which were majors, and earnings in excess of $53 million! 2015 will forever be ingrained in the archives as the breakout year for Jordan Spieth, but questions have arisen: can he follow up on such unprecedented success in 2016? Spieth squelched doubters quickly, as he ran away with the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this weekend, the first event of the year! There is no question, Jordan Spieth is the real deal, and he can handle the pressure that comes with the rigors of golf on the world’s largest stages. But another pressure may be resting on the shoulders of this 22 year old phenom. A pressure much bigger than a back nine on Sunday to win a tournament. Jordan Spieth may be responsible for the next era of golf.
With that $53 million haul this past year, Spieth became golf’s top earner, surpassing the forever incumbent Tiger Woods from his perch at the top of the Tour’s money tree. There is no doubt that Tiger Woods is a shell of the player he once was, the superhuman talent that produced jaw dropping performances and ran away from the field week after week, year after year. The “Tiger Effect” propelled golf into the youthful realm of social media and pop culture. Over the past few years, several injuries and off-the-course issues have kept Tiger from competing at the level we had come to know and expect in the late 90’s and early 00’s, but the “Effect” undoubtedly lives on. A rare participation from Woods in a tournament turns the media into a frenzy; TV ratings spike during tournament coverage, and ticket and apparel sales soar to record heights. In 2015, The Golf Channel even provided live coverage of Tiger’s empty parking spot at a tournament while awaiting his eminent arrival. No kidding, his empty parking spot. At an injury-riddled 39 years old, Tiger Woods can no longer light up the course, but he remains the top trending athlete in golf and one of the most popular athletes on the planet.
Thus, a void is beginning to grow as Tiger Woods fades from the game. Who will fill his shoes in the spotlight? Sports analysts and journalists have suggested a group of young talent will take the reigns as golf’s next stars. We will agree, golf does not have a shortage of rising stars; Rory Mcilroy, Rickie Fowler, and Jason Day have all made their splashes on the biggest stages, but none have sustained success week after week.
Enter Jordan Spieth. The youngest in this flock of youthful talent, and by far the most consistent. Jack Nicklaus sustained success over the course of 5 decades. Yes, the 18 Majors stand out, but most people don’t realize he finished 2nd 19 times in Majors. 19! If he wasn’t winning, he was always in the mix on the back nine on Sunday- always in the spotlight. Jordan Spieth won 6 tournaments during the 2015 season, and finished in the top 5 in an additional 7 tournaments. The sustained success is there.
The fantastic start to 2016 only solidifies that Jordan Spieth can be the front runner in filling golf’s void. Sports fans of today need a sure thing to route for, a trend. As the post-Tiger era looms, golf is desperate for it. There is no argument: no one will ever dominate the game of golf like Tiger Woods did; it is a moment in history that will forever be admired and talked about. But if there was anyone that could help usher sports fans into a new era of golf, no one is more prepared than a 22 year old from Texas. So, if you haven’t already, we suggest watching Jordan Spieth this year. He’ll be the one leading the tournament on Sunday.
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