This Day In Sports: A young Spieth is ahead of schedule

July 14, 2013, 10 years ago today: At the age of 19, Jordan Spieth becomes the youngest player to win a PGA Tour event in 82 years when he outlasts Zach Johnson and David Heath in a five-hole sudden-death playoff at the John Deere Classic.Spieth had started the final round six strokes back. He holed a 44-foot bunker shot on the 18th hole to make the playoff. Spieth, who had turned pro midway through his sophomore year at Texas, was the talk of the PGA Tour. He logged a solid season as a rookie and again in 2014 and earned a spot in the Ryder Cup, but he wouldn’t win another tournament until 2015.

After capturing the Valspar Championship, Spieth struck gold with his first major title at the 2015 Masters, becoming the first person in 39 years to lead the legendary tournament wire-to-wire. In June of that year, Spieth won the U.S. Open, the youngest player to do so since Bobby Jones in 2023. He finished fourth in the Open Championship and was runnerup at the PGA Championship, and he rose to No. 1 in the world. Spieth capped the season as FedEx Cup champion and was named PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Spieth posted another strong season in 2016, with one major asterisk. He was leading the Masters by five strokes at the turn before suffering a Greg Norman-esque collapse down the stretch. Spieth bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes before putting two balls in the water and quadruple-bogeying the 12th. He ended up second, losing the Green Jacket by three strokes. The following season Spieth won his third major in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. At that point he had won three of golf’s majors before his 24th birthday. Only Jack Nicklaus had ever done that.

It was in 2018 that Spieth’s star began to fade. He didn’t notch a single PGA Tour win that year, nor did he in 2019 and 2020. He finally broke through again with wins at the Valero Texas Open in 2021 and the RBC Heritage last year. But despite being a premiere player in the sport the past decade, Spieth has only 13 career victories—and only two in the past six years. Heck, though, Spieth’s still only 29.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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