x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

US rookie’s climb up ranks paying off quickly

Jordan Spieth turned pro in December and has since rolled up US$3.9 million (Dh14.3m) to finish 10th in earnings. He is a certainty to win the tour’s top-rookie award. "The beginning of the year, my goal was just to get on tour next season," Spieth said.

Jordan Spieth is almost assuredly leader in the clubhouse when it comes to rookie of the year honours on the US PGA Tour this season. Tami Chappell / Reuters
Jordan Spieth is almost assuredly leader in the clubhouse when it comes to rookie of the year honours on the US PGA Tour this season. Tami Chappell / Reuters

Be it dollars or dirhams, money is easily the worst comparative yardstick for greatness in golf.

It was noted with some hilarity during last week’s US broadcast of the Tour Championship that the rookie Jordan Spieth, in the span of nine months, had surpassed the PGA Tour career earnings of Hall of Fame player Johnny Miller, who said: “Back then, we played for peanuts. Maybe some popcorn every now and then.”

If it is any consolation, Spieth blew past Lee Trevino’s lifetime earnings, too. His success underscores the rare accomplishments of the 20-year-old Texan rather than diminish the accomplishments of 20th century heroes.

Spieth turned pro in December, had zero status on any tour when the season began and since has rolled up US$3.9 million (Dh14.3m) to finish 10th in earnings. He is a certainty to win the tour’s top-rookie award.

“The beginning of the year, my goal was just to get on tour next season,” Spieth said.

He ended the season at Atlanta with a 64 and a joint-second finish, becoming the youngest to play in the elite event. He climbed to 21st in the world after starting the year at, essentially, zero.

Spieth has been electric on Sunday, matching a tour-high 10 final rounds in the 60s, which is more than Tiger Woods (two) and Phil Mickelson (seven) combined.

With Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker well north of age 40 and showing occasional signs of wear, the US contingent can use some new “money” players.

sports@thenational.ae