Spieth's shotmaking skills impress Mickelson

Jordan Spieth thanks the gallery on the 18th green during the final round of the TOUR Championship, where he finished runner-up.

Jordan Spieth thanks the gallery on the 18th green during the final round of the TOUR Championship, where he finished runner-up.

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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.

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.

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