Spieth's shotmaking skills impress Mickelson
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
As if his win, three seconds, and nine top-10s didn’t impress, Jordan Spieth finished seventh in the FedEx Cup standings ($700,000) and ninth on the money list ($3,879,820). He’s just two months past his 20th birthday and already stands 285th on the career money list, just ahead of John Mahaffey. With this kid, there seems to be no end to the impressive fodder.
Remember, he was a rookie – and not just any rookie. He started as a rookie without status; he will end it as member of the Presidents Cup team, with 11 veterans clamoring to play alongside him.
For Your Game: Jordan Spieth
Oh, and he’s 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Not since Tiger Woods has an American so seamlessly moved from college/amateur golf to the big leagues, and Phil Mickelson – who previously set the bar for such a transition back in 1992 – joins a long parade of those who are duly impressed by the kid’s game.
"I really like his ability to hit a variety of shots, different trajectories, various shapes," Mickelson said. "That allows him to play any golf course well. He’s not limited to particular courses.”
Having won on the PGA Tour as an amateur, Mickelson remembers what the college-to-pro move was like. He sees a lot of a young Mickelson in Spieth.
"What helped me is the same thing I see in a guy like Jordan and that is, I didn’t care about looking pretty; I cared about hitting shots and shooting a low score,” Mickelson said. “I wasn’t wrapped up in (swing) positions and all that. That’s exactly what (Jordan) does.”
Along those lines, Mickelson probably wouldn’t be shocked at this bit of information that can be added to the head-shaking stuff the 20-year-old did this year: Of those who played in all 16 FedEx Cup playoff rounds, Spieth had the best score in relation to par, a whopping 39 under. It translates into a scoring average of 68.313.
That decision to leave Texas after 1 1/2 years appears to have been validated, huh?
Now you could argue that Steve Stricker was the playoff scoring machine. At 46, he’s the opposite end of the spectrum from Spieth, being the oldest in the playoffs and a part-timer, at that, but it didn’t appear to disrupt his talents. Though he skipped the opening playoff, Stricker in his 12 rounds went for a 41-under cumulative score. And to add fuel to the fire that perhaps it’s OK to skip one of these post-season affairs, Zach Johnson (he also missed The Barclays) was 32 under for his 12 rounds.
(Prediction: Next year, with the playoffs scheduled for four consecutive weeks, you will have more players thinking of skipping a week somewhere. What Stricker and Zach Johnson did won’t hurt that decision, either.)
Twenty-three players this year teed it up in all 16 playoff rounds. For your record-keeping pleasure, here is how they ranked in cumulative scores:
39 under: Jordan Spieth
36 under: Henrik Stenson
35 under: Jim Furyk
34 under: Nick Watney
32 under: Jason Day, Brendon de Jonge, Roberto Castro
31 under: Justin Rose
30 under: Hunter Mahan
29 under: Sergio Garcia
27 under: Keegan Bradley
26 under: Graham DeLaet
24 under: Webb Simpson
23 under: Gary Woodland, Tiger Woods
22 under: Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar
17 under: Jason Dufner
15 under: Charl Schwartzel
12 under: Kevin Streelman
11 over: Boo Weekley
As for the five who missed one cut and played in just 14 of the 16 rounds, Brandt Snedeker was 17 under, Billy Horschel 11 under, Dustin Johnson 8 under, Bill Haas 2 under and D.A. Points 2 over.
Golfweek.com readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.