Jordan Spieth is considered brightest young prospect on PGA Tour
He opens 2014 by finishing second to Zach Johnson in Hawaii
Tiger Woods goes into the New Year chasing elusive 15th major
Rory McIlroy looking recover his form after difficult 2013
Remember the name: Jordan Spieth is only 20 years of age, but the golfer is already being mentioned in the same breath as Tiger Woods after a whirlwind start to his PGA Tour career.
Spieth, like Woods, was a multiple U.S. Junior Amateur champion before dominating college golf in his freshman year.
Quickly turning professional, he became the first teenage winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years, and at this week’s traditional curtain raiser to 2014 he finished second to veteran Zach Johnson at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, carded four birdies in seven holes to pip joint third-round leader Spieth by a shot on Monday. The 37-year-old tweeted after his win: “I love underdog stories” – a recognition of the youngster’s growing reputation.
Spieth is one of CNN Living Golf’s “Five players to watch” in 2014, as he seeks to add to last year’s maiden victory.
Along with three of the biggest names in the sport – who enjoyed wildly varying fortunes last season –we have also cast our net in the direction of Asia, where the emerging prodigies seem to get ever younger and ever more a threat to the established order on the PGA Tour.
Starting 2013 ranked 810th in the world and having turned professional halfway through his sophomore year at the University of Texas, Spieth ended it as the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year and with a place on the winning U.S. Presidents Cup team.
So highly-rated was Spieth, that his first victory on the PGA Tour at the John Deere Classic in July was hardly considered a surprise.
He won a three-way playoff against defending champion Johnson and David Hearn after spectacularly holing from a greenside bunker on the final hole of regulation play to force the shootout.
Spieth then lost in a playoff for the Wyndham Championship to another promising young golfer, 23-year-old Patrick Reed and charged to fourth in the Deutsche Bank Championship with a last-round 62.
He ended the year just outside the world’s top 20, earning the nod from Fred Couples as a captain’s pick in the Presidents Cup.