2017 Open: Here's everything Jordan Spieth accomplished with his historic win
Spieth took Royal Birkdale, and now you can let the hyperbole begin on his young career
Jordan Spieth won the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on Sunday, which is an achievement in and of itself, but the implications go a lot deeper than that. Spieth is rewriting the history books at such a young age in such a monumental way that we need to take a look at everything he accomplished with his win over Matt Kuchar.
Tiger Woods, of course, is the measuring stick held up against everyone from this (and every future) generation, and Spieth is acquainting himself nicely thus far. In fact, and I know this is hard to believe, Spieth is outpacing Woods in some ways. Let's take a look at the five most statistically impressive aspects of his Open win.
1. Second player with three legs of the Grand Slam before turning 24: Spieth's 24th birthday is next week, but on Sunday, he joined Jack Nicklaus as the only golfer to win three of the four majors before turning 24. As Dan Hicks pointed out on the NBC broadcast, Spieth will only have one shot at becoming the youngest to win the Grand Slam. Tiger Woods did it before turning 25, and Nicklaus accomplished it before turning 27.
2. Second player in modern era with three majors before turning 24: Again, we're talking about an all-time trajectory here. As Justin Ray pointed out, Spieth is also the first player in golf history with 10+ PGA Tour wins and three majors before turning 24.
3. More majors on 24th birthday than Tiger Woods: Let the hyperbole train get rolling on this one. Spieth is on a Tiger Woods-like trajectory, although he'll have to step on the gas to keep up. Woods won five before turning 26.
I know there are some Woods truthers out there, so it should be noted that it took Spieth 18 majors as a pro to win his third. Tiger had six major wins by the end of his 18th appearance as a pro.
"It's amazing," said Spieth of the opportunity to win the Grand Slam at a younger age than Woods. "I feel blessed to be able to play the game I love, but ... I don't compare myself. And I don't think that they're appropriate or necessary. So to be in that company, no doubt is absolutely incredible. And I certainly appreciate it. And we work really hard to have that, with that being the goal. Therefore, I enjoy moments like you saying that. But I'm very careful as to what that means going forward because what those guys have done has transcended the sport. And in no way, shape or form do I think I'm anywhere near that, whatsoever. So it's a good start, but there is a long way to go."
4. Youngest American to win The Open: And the youngest from any country to win it since Seve Ballesteros did it in 1979. As several folks pointed out, Spieth is -- incredibly -- two years younger than the low amateur this week, Alfie Plant.
5. Royal Birkdale scoring record: Spieth's 268 shattered the previous record of 272 set by Ian Baker-Finch in 1991. It's also the third-lowest score in modern Open history behind Greg Norman's 267 in 1993 and Henrik Stenson's 264 last year. What does Spieth think of all this?
"It's incredible," Spieth said after his win at Royal Birkdale. "It's a life goal of mine. It's a career goal. Growing up playing golf, I just wanted to be able to play in major championships and compete with the best in the world, and things have happened very quickly.
"I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this. I look back on '15 and thought, 'Yeah, I enjoyed it, but I never realized the significance until you kind of hit a low, hit a pitfall, to appreciate the high so much.' And this is as much of a high as I've ever experienced in my golfing life. And I'm going to enjoy it more than I've enjoyed anything that I've accomplished in the past."
Until three weeks from now, that is, when he goes for the career Grand Slam on a course where Rory McIlroy has won twice and holds the course record.
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