Those who follow golf–and follow it closely–know Jordan Spieth has been destined to become a decorated golfing champion for years now. The only question seemed to be when?
It happened sooner than anyone could have ever imagined. So how could a 21-year-old winning the Masters tournament be something so long in the making?
The strength of an athlete can be determined by performance over their peers. With Jordan, he’s always been dominate. At every level he’s played, he’s been elite.
I remember back to watching late airings of the U.S. Junior Championships on the Golf Channel. I was a teenager and I watched as another teenager, a few years younger than I, would win all of these tournaments.
His name was Jordan Spieth.
He was the United States Junior Amateur champion twice, both in 2009 and 2011. Every big tournament throughout the years featured this smooth swinging kid from Texas who seemed to make everything on the greens. He looked like a natural and he dominated the junior sport.
As I continued to keep an eye on how his career progressed, I remember when he declared he was going to Texas to play golf for the Longhorns. I thought to myself, “Texas is going to have quite the team for the next few years.” If only I knew, it would be one year. A year dominated again, by Spieth–beating his peers to a national title.
A hiccup I remember came from Spieth before he turned professional at the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills in Colorado. Spieth was unable to move deep into the championship’s match play format. The details are fuzzy, but I remember some missed putts and a missed opportunity early. He was a favorite and his early exit was surely a surprise. But his qualifying scores? Sure, a couple of 69s. Solid.
If any of the fellow professionals were going to have someone other than themselves win, it’s only natural they pull for Spieth. I think they all saw a little glimpse of themselves.
Tiger saw himself in 1997, blowing away the Masters field. Phil saw himself as an amateur beating all the professionals on the PGA Tour. Rose saw himself as a jubilant amateur holing a shot at the British Open. They all saw themselves in the 21-year-old.
Kids dream. College-aged kids practice on their universities putting greens, hitting ‘putts to win the Masters,’ same as they’ve done since they were youngsters at their home club. To me, Jordan looked like a kid who got to live out his adulthood dreams. He beat all of his heroes on his path to victory.
His win happened younger than most could have expected. But it was definitely a win in the making.
At the beginning of the week, the story lines surrounded a Texas legend in Ben Crenshaw, concluding his Masters career. The two-time champion was a beacon for the American game for years.
It was only fitting that as the stories around a Texas legend started the week, it ended with the emergence of another.
A win, a long-time in the making.
*Pictures from Jordan Spieth in 2013*