A Look Into Jordan Spieth’s Game

The 2015 Golf Major season has come to a spectacular finish, one that was full of amazing accomplishments and thrilling moments, as well as heartbreak for others. The clear winner of golf’s biggest tournaments this year was clearly Jordan Spieth, the 22 year old phenom on the brink on creating history before our very eyes. Spieth finished this year’s tournaments all within the top 4, winning two of them in the US Open and the Masters Championship. His -54 aggregated total is a new major record previously held by Tiger Woods in his spectacular 2000 season now known as the Tiger Slam, in which he won the last 3 Majors of the year. Despite finishing second place on the PGA Championship this past Sunday, he has already solidified himself as the new face of golf along with Rory McIlroy, who both are bound to create a long lasting rivalry that will help the game in this new era of uncertainty due to Tiger’s demise.

Much has been said about the young man. Paying a stark resemblance to Jack Nicklaus, Spieth’s off the field behavior has gathered much praise from mainstream media and much admiration from fellow players of the game. It is the rarest of rares to find such athletes at our disposal, considering the Me-Me-Me environment we are perforated with, but Spieth is a clear stand out, saying all the right things as well as doing them. Not much has been said, however, at what really makes Spieth the great golfer that he is, and much like his mentality, it is not that hard to deduct.

Spieth is what many golf experts would call an all around player. All parts of his game help him achieve success, but there isn’t a clear one that stands out the most. Let’s look a little more in depth on his swing. While not as fluid and beautifully crafted as that of McIlroy’s, he does gather much consistency from it, generating enough power and balance to reach long distances with accuracy, as well as maintaining a knack to be conservative at times while knowing when to be aggressive. He’s a decent hitter off the tee, generating great distance and setting up perfect approach shots, hitting a 63.06% of fairways, good enough to be 84th on tour.

When committing mistakes off tee or hitting a bad approach shot that land outside the green or in a bunker, Spieth has shown great composure in such situations, establishing himself as one of the best scramblers in the game, much to the style of Phil Mickelson. His 58.93% on sand saves and 66.20% when scrambling is good enough to be 24th and 3rd on tour respectively. The underlying key to his success greatly presents itself on his scrambling and putting performances, where the numbers show how they both benefit themselves mutually. For every great shot there’s another one not as great that turns into a save and keeps him from avoiding trouble, with this being the key underline for his incredible performances.

Many analysts and commentators of the game are to this very day unsure how great Spieth’s putting really is. Some say it’s spectacular and one of the best (his 44.30% one-putting is the best on tour), while some say he’s great, but not as consistent as the numbers indicate. There have been times where Spieth has missed putts many have said are makeable, losing opportunities to capitalize or avoid bogeys that are downplayed by many. It’s no question his putting in short to average distances has been phenomenal and lethal, as it was shown on this year’s Masters, and it is best to leave it at that before comparisons to Tiger start (arguably the greatest putter in history when in his prime).

His putting is much reminiscent to that of McIlroy’s, as well as his performance under pressure. It is true true that he missed great chances to win some tournaments, including ones at the Open Championship and most notably on last year’s Masters, but these moments happen to all great players, and what they all do instead is focus on the future, in the hopes of righting a wrong, separating themselves from those that consistently fail in big moments, which Spieth has clearly shown is not proponent of him to do.

What makes Jordan so great is not his ability to use one part of his game better than the rest, but being able to use all facets of his game as a whole. Being great in just one part on the game of golf will not lead you to become a great golfer. In fact, it is a detriment to a player to be extremely good in just one phase, as their all around game fails to produce the consistent play they need for success. A student of the game and its history, Jordan clearly understands what he must do in order to produce much success for the next coming years of his career, as all the greats before him all followed the same formula.

At only 22 years old, Spieth already has more majors than Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus had at his age, with plenty of more opportunities to collect more titles. The scary part about his upbringing is the possibility this is not the best we’ve seen out of him, a perturbing thought to other professionals. He doesn’t seem to have Tiger’s intimidation, as his sportsmanship helps him blend the mold with other players preferring to look at him more as a friend than fierce competitor, but this surely is not as important as it seems, due to the array of players who’ve won with similar dispositions. The more time passes, the more we’ll look in awe to what Spieth was able to accomplish in such a short time as a pro. His contributions to the game of golf will be immense, and it will surely be a pleasure to see him carry the load of being the best player in the game during this time frame.

 

UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA – JUNE 21: Jordan Spieth (2nd R) of the United States holds the trophy as he celebrates with family, father Shawn Spieth (L), mother Chris Spieth (2nd L) and brother Steven Spieth (R) after winning the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 21, 2015 in University Place, Washington. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)