While no two victories are ever the same in the competitive world of professional sport, few can have been as diametrically opposed as Jordan Spieth’s first two majors.
When the 21 year old Spieth equalled the lowest winning score in Masters’ history on the road to glory at Augusta in April, he did so with a composed display of technique that belied his inexperience. He also did so in idyllic conditions and on a high-performing course, which enabled even second-placed Justin Rose to card an impressive 14 under par.
His subsequent victory in the US Open was anything but smooth, however, as Spieth battled with a much-criticised course and changeable conditions to finish five under par and record a tense, one-shot win. This forced Spieth to showcase incredible tenacity and determination, while those around him struggled to maintain consistent scoring and capitalise on his final round failures.
A Different Kind of Win: How Spieth beat the Field
While Spieth’s victory was characterised by grit rather than flair and partially enabled by Dustin Johnson’s failure to sink a 12 foot putt at the 18th hole, it is arguably even more impressive given the nature of the course. Players have been quick to criticise the greens in particular, while the assertion that it’s reported length of 7,742 yards would suit the games’ biggest hitters also proved to be untrue. In fact, no player managed to get fully to grips with the course, with players like Rory McIlroy and fallen great Tiger Woods struggling manfully to remain competitive.
In this respect, Spieth’s success can be largely attributed to his mental strength and astounding level of consistency over four rounds of arduous tournament golf. Although some will argue that luck was also a prominent element given Dustin Johnson’s three attempts at a makeable putt on the 18th hole, Spieth’s ability to apply pressure over a prolonged period of time contributed heavily to this failure. What cannot be denied is the fact that Spieth recorded the lowest score of the tournament and a hugely impressive 69 in the final round, and these factors alone would be enough to make him a deserving winner.
Can Spieth Make Further History?
After his latest triumph, Spieth remains on course to become the youngest winner of all four majors in a calendar year since Bobby Jones back in 1923. Given that his victory at the U.S. Open underlined Spieth’s mental qualities and showcased a level of maturity far beyond his years, he appears to have an outstanding opportunity to make history and establish himself as the game’s greatest prospect since a young Tiger Woods emerged on the scene.
Only in time will tell, but his thrilling and tense victory in the U.S. Open reinforces two key points. Firstly, no two victories are ever alike, even if you compare two back-to-back major tournaments in the same sport. Secondly, we can be sure that Spieth is a player who can succeed in almost any circumstances, as his composure and mental fortitude enable him to negate external course conditions.