Sport Golf

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Spieth ready to see off McIlroy and Day in race for supremacy

Jordan Spieth has thrown down a challenge to the rest of the golfing world, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day included
Jordan Spieth has thrown down a challenge to the rest of the golfing world, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day included

Liam Kelly

Jordan Spieth goes to the Bahamas this week to compete in the aptly named Hero World Challenge, hosted by the Tiger Woods Foundation.

By any standards, Spieth has been the golfing hero of 2015 and, as he prepares for the defence of the title he won by 10 shots last year, he has already thrown down a challenge to the rest of the golfing world, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day included.

In essence, the message is: 'Watch out, we're coming for you again in 2016.'

And when Spieth says "we", he means Team Spieth, the combined unit of the player plus his support structure which he credits with all the success he - sorry, "they" - achieved this year.

Caddy Michael Greller, his coach Cameron McCormick, the rest of the backroom team and of course the members of Spieth's family are all acknowledged for their part in his rise to the pinnacle of the sport.

Greller and McCormick are also winners in their own right, as the former was voted Caddy of the Year by his peers, and McCormick received the PGA Teacher of the Year award.


Spieth (22) has repeatedly stressed that there is no room for "I" in his team, despite professional golf being such a notoriously individualistic profession.

The PGA Tour Player of the Year gets frustrated like any other golfer at any level, but will take responsibility for the bad shots, while crediting "we" for the good and positive outcomes.

The Texan followed his first Major win in the Masters at Augusta with a US Open victory in Chambers Bay and then finishing a shot outside the three-man play off for the Open Championship at St Andrews in July.

Spieth fought Day all the way to an epic finish of the US PGA Championship in Whistling Straits, and again just fell short.

He regrouped for an assault on the FedEx Cup and duly triumphed in the season-ending Tour Championship, bringing his PGA Tour earnings to $22,030,465.

Spieth has since added another $242,477 following his tied-seventh in the WGC-HSBC Championship and ­finishing joint second with Adam Scott ­behind winner Matt Jones in ­yesterday's Emirates Australian Open finale.

Home-grown hero Jones delighted his Aussie compatriots at holding on for victory at The Australian GC in Rosebery, New South Wales.

He was singled out by Spieth as a serious threat to the title the Texan won this time last year, and so it proved.

In addition to losing by a shot to Jones Down Under, Spieth will be knocked off his perch as world number one by Jason Day.

This is due to the rankings system which places Day back on top despite missing the Australian Open.

However, this is small-picture stuff. Team Spieth has already been plotting and planning to make 2016 as good a year as 2015.

"From day one we've had the same team all working together for the same goal, which is really to have a year like this year.

"And it's not just to have the year and stop. Everyone's working in order to try and make this the norm. We want years like this year to continue," he said.

Spieth is not naive enough to expect that success in 2016 will automatically follow the same pattern as this year.

He does expect that he and his team can build on the experience they have gained in making sure he repeatedly peaks at the right time around the top tournaments.

Tiger Woods' event brings Spieth, Day, and an elite field of competitors to the Albany course on Providence Island in the Bahamas this week.

They come prepared to throw birdies and probably a few eagles at each other but the real battles are to come in next year's Major championships.

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