Jordan Spieth is many things: a three-time major winner, an elite ball-striker, a tremendous putter, a winner of 11 PGA Tour events before the age of 25. Yet according to Rory McIlroy, despite all of Spieth's accomplishments, the youngster is actually underrated as a golfer.

The quote caught my eye while I was reading this lengthy transcribed conversation between McIlroy and Padraig Harrington, moderated by Paul Kimmage. McIlroy said he was having dinner with fellow pro Brandt Snedeker recently, and it was Spieth who kept coming up.

Here's the conversation snippet.

Padraig Harrington: I think the young guys over here should be paying Jordan Spieth a retainer. He plays with all of his mates." 

Rory McIlroy: "Justin [Thomas] ... Rickie [Fowler]."

Harrington: "They are all much better golfers because of Jordan Spieth."

McIlroy: "I had a chat with Brandt Snedeker last night and we both said it: 'Jordan Spieth is the most underrated player in the game.' When you look at what he's done, and what he's achieved, but all you hear are negatives."

Harrington: "People don't rate the X-factor."

McIlroy: "'He doesn't have this and he doesn't have that.'"

Harrington: "They can't see the X-factor."

It was a fascinating back and forth, and the entire article is worth a read. I think McIlroy is right, too. Spieth is outrageously good at a ridiculous age. Is he Tiger Woods? No, but who is? Still, Spieth has kept pace with McIlroy for the most part and is tracking right with Phil Mickelson when it comes to career wins per tournament played. 

Here's a look at their career numbers. Tiger is the red line. Mickelson is the blue line. McIlroy is the yellow, and Spieth is the green.

spieth.jpg
Data Golf

It's weird to think that the No. 3 player in the world could be underrated, but Spieth probably is at this time. Hell, McIlroy probably is, too. So is Dustin Johnson. Because Woods set an unattainable bar, we measure them against that instead of against reality. When you step back and look at what these guys have achieved before turning 30 (or for Spieth, 25) it really is remarkable. And the scary part is that they may have not even entered the primes of their careers yet.