Jordan Spieth's rookie campaign has been nothing short of spectacular in 2013. I've written about it dozens of times on this very site but I still feel like it's getting sold short.
For as young as he is (20!) and where he was at last year (in a dorm room in Austin), I'm not sure people are appreciative of how far he's come and what he's accomplished.
So I wanted to put his rookie season in perspective by comparing it to (and ranking it with) some of the other great rookie seasons of the last 24 years (the PGA Tour only started tracking rookies of the year in 1990).
Let's jump in..
1. John Daly (1991) -- Four top 10s and won the PGA Championship.
2. Jordan Spieth (2013) -- Won the John Deere Classic, eight top 10s, will likely finish in the top 15 on the money list.
3. Tiger Woods (1996) -- Won the Walt Disney/Oldsmobile Classic and Las Vegas Invitational, finished T22 at the British Open (as an amateur, didn't turn pro until later that year) and T21 at the Tour Championship. Also finished 24th on the money list.
4. Ben Curtis (2003) -- Won the British Open which was his first major. Only had one other top 10 though and finished 30th on the money list.
I'm tempted to weigh majors more heavily than everything else but Ben Curtis' season makes me think his British Open win was kind of a fluke.
Daly, however, played pretty well in his other tournaments so he gets the nod at No. 1 because of the major.
Also, Tiger's rookie season was a tad less spectacular than I remember it being. I think a lot of people put that first Masters win in his rookie campaign but that actually came in year two, in 1997.
So basically Spieth is guaranteed no worse than the second-best rookie season since 1990 and, if he wins the Tour Championship, could even jump to first.
The crazy part, as Brian Wacker outlined on PGATour.com, is that Spieth is the first golfer since Woods did it in 1996 to go from no status on Tour at all to playing in the Tour Championship.
Both were 20 when they did it. Actually Spieth was 19 for most of the season.
Spieth could have (should have?) won twice, too. He lost to Patrick Reed in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship -- if he had won I would consider putting him at No. 1 on my list.
Other pros have started realizing it, too. After Spieth shot a 62 in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship while playing with Phil Mickelson, Lefty texted
"Dude, you've got to pick this guy."
Couples listened and ended up picking him. And given the symmetry wouldn't it be great if he paired him with Tiger for the match play event in early October?
He might just take the crown someday.