Sep
27
2015
BACK TO THE FUTURE: Spieth wins FedEx Cup, reminds us that it was HIS year
By Stephanie Wei under FedEx Cup

Jordan Spieth capped an unforgettable season with a four-shot victory at the Tour Championship to fittingly secure the FedEx Cup title. At the rain-soaked East Lake GC, Spieth posted an one-under 69 in the final round to card a tournament total of nine-under.

It was always meant to end this way — with Spieth reclaiming the world no. 1 ranking and winning the FedEx Cup. After all, it was his year/season; he played the best with the most consistency. Jason Day momentarily took over Spieth’s spotlight with his impressive victory at the PGA Championship, along with wins at two of the four playoff events, The Barclays and the BMW Championship, not to mention reaching no. 1 for the first time in his career.

Spieth missed two consecutive cuts to kick off his playoff campaign, which resulted in a short-lived debate over whether it was he or Day who deserved the Player of the Year honors. However, Spieth put any questions to rest with his performance at the Tour Championship, which marked his fifth win of the year. Along with winning the Masters and the U.S. Open, Spieth also secured victories at the Valspar Championship and the John Deere Classic.

With the first-place check of $1.48 million, Spieth’s official on-course earnings totaled $12,030,465, breaking the previous record held by Vijay Singh (2004) for most money won in a season by a little over a million dollars. Add the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup and Spieth hauled in over $22 million — and that doesn’t count what he earned in endorsements.

The 22-year-old Texan got off to a semi-slow start with back-to-back bogeys on nos. 5 and 6, which only fired him up — along with his putter. And we’ve seen all season what happens when Spieth gets that rolling. He answered by draining a 20-footer on the 8th for birdie and then adding another one from 18 feet on the 9th to regain the momentum from playing partner Henrik Stenson.

“8 was a great birdie because we played it the right way,” said Spieth. “I was in between clubs, played the safe shot. And I just needed to see something go in, needed something to fall.

“It was really, really nice. The (birdie) on 9 was a steal. I hit a poor second shot and that put a dagger in it.”

Spieth essentially closed the door and sucked any potential for a dramatic finish when he holed a 45-footer for birdie on 11 and then simply stayed steady, carding seven consecutive pars en route to taking home all the hardware and becoming the youngest-ever winner of the Tour Championship.

“This is incredible,” Spieth said. “This is an event where we approached it like a major championship. I didn’t have a great playoff, but I put a lot into this week. Mentally, I stayed in it. And boy, that putter sure paid off.”

No kidding. What’s slightly scary is that Spieth didn’t have his A-game from tee-to-green.

“I didn’t feel comfortable striking the ball whatsoever, today or this week,” he said. “I didn’t have a go-to shot. I was — my swing thought was just, try and align correctly, load a little bit and try and shorten your swing, so that it will come off going around where you want it to go.”

While there were plenty of highlights and memorable moments throughout Spieth’s season, his win at the Masters takes the cake.

“What am I most proud of this year?” said Spieth. “The Green Jacket. That was, as far as on-course performance, what am I most proud of? Was the Masters win. That was one that you grow up every single day going out to your practice green with your buddies saying, you have the last putt in the putting contest, it’s all tied up, this is to win the Masters.”

What more is there really to say? Well, while 2015 was the year of Spieth, it also perhaps marked the official changing of the guard, with a new big three that has separated themselves from the rest of the under-30 crowd. With Spieth, Rory McIlroy (26), and Jason Day (27) sitting as the top three in the world rankings, it’s quite safe to say that the future of pro golf is very healthy and we have a lot to look forward to in the next twenty years (with the assumption and hope that they all stay healthy). The best part is that all three guys are class off the course, as well — each is nicer and humbler than the other.

Finally, thanks, Jordan, for making 2015 such a compelling and entertaining year in golf. For the diehard fans, don’t worry, you don’t have long to wait until the new season kicks off at the Frys.com Open in 18 days (which I’m looking forward to covering…yep, I’m back soon). However, we know it really doesn’t start until the Masters next April. Let the countdown commence!