Truly great players earn that title because they bring aura of invincibility to the first tee, but let’s state the obvious, Jordan Spieth may be the best player on the planet right now and has many Tiger Woods-like milestones on his resume at the tender age of 21, but he will never make an impact on the game like Tiger Woods did.
Over the past 18 years, Tiger Woods has racked up 91 wins against the best players in the world, making it look as easy as walking up to an ATM machine. His career earnings exceed $109 million. When Jack Nicklaus won 73 times throughout his career, including 18 majors, the competition were not nearly as talented or world-wide based as todays PGA Tour.
In fact, Woods career has been so dominant, stupendous, brilliant, impeccable and unattainable that the most universally agreeable topic by golfers who love to dissect the game at the 19th hole is: “There will never be another Tiger.” Amen.
Of course there will never be another Tiger. For Tim Geary to dream that Jordan Spieth is on his way to super-duper-superstar status is bordering on hallucination. But, then again, this would not be the first time Mr. Geary has been diagnosed with golf feeble-mind disease. He’s the same dope that admitted he’d rather win one Masters in his career than win the FedEx Cup! How dumb is that?
Because Jordan Spieth has won the first two majors of the year, he is the undisputed new figurehead in modern golf, and for the first time the comparisons to His Holy Royal Golf Highness – Tiger Woods – have begun.
Spieth, 21, and Woods, 39, have airy similarities including being the only two to win the US Amateur multiple times. Both won their first pro tournaments in their fifth try. Both are the only golfers to win the Masters before the age of 23. Woods has won six times before age 22, and Spieth has five wins and doesn’t turn 22 until July. In April, Spieth became the only player ever to register a score of 19-under par at Augusta National, while Woods won the 1997 Masters by a record 12 strokes, and the 2000 US Open by 15 strokes, enroute to 9 victories while setting 27 Tour records that same year.
Even if Spieth does win the Grand Slam, it is way too early to compare his record to the Greatest-Player-Ever! Spieth’s victory on Father’s Day at the US Open at the Chamber of Horrors was the result of Dustin Johnson pulling the biggest choke in a major since Jean van de Velde at the 1990 British Open. How did that red-neck from Myrtle Beach three-putt from 12-feet when his playing partner, Jason Day, just showed him the same line and speed? It was a colossal choke! And the golf world was ready for a Monday 18-hole playoff.
After turning pro, both athletes signed lucrative contracts with athletic apparel companies. Woods with Nike, and Spieth with Under Armour. Okay is this getting freaky? Nike built a golf division on the back of Woods that registered sales of $791 million in Nike’s 2013 fiscal year. Will Spieth be able to do the same for Under Armour?
Jordan Spieth is one of a long list of players who started impressive golf careers at a young age, but many faded quickly into obscurity. What ever happened to Jerry Heard, Robert Gamez, David Duval, Anthony Kim, Ty Tryon, Ricky Barnes and Bobby Clampett?
To be great you must deliver in the clutch, such as Tiger Woods did in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pine against Rocco Mediate. I don’t recall Jordan Spieth ever stepping up in any defining moment to win a golf tournament. He almost blew his 3-shot lead at the par-3 No. 17 at the US Open. That’s not what champions are made of. Spieth won because he was lucky and Dustin Johnson choked! The unanswered question is this: Is the young Texan hungry enough? Having luck on his side could assist Spieth into a full-fledged, long-term golf icon, but he’s not the dominant type. We will never, ever see such a dominant player like Tiger Woods!
(Tom Gorman, based on experience, knows a three-putt choke when he sees one.)WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?