Jordan Spieth dominates Hero World Challenge, beats host Tiger Woods by 26 shots
The 21-year old steals the show at Tiger Woods’ comeback party, wiping out a loaded field in Orlando.
It was a limited-field December event, but Jordan Spieth made a major statement this weekend when he ran away with a 10-shot victory at the Hero World Challenge. His work against a loaded 18-man field at Isleworth, combined with his outrageous final round 63 in brutal Australian Open conditions last Sunday, make him the hottest player in the world right now. The expectations and hype as the calendar flips to 2015 just skyrocketed thanks to those two wins in the last seven days.
Spieth started the day with an event-record seven-shot lead, and promptly posted red numbers in three of his first four holes. Isleworth is not a regular PGA Tour test, but it challenged this world-class group all week. While others struggled to chip around the greens or recover from wayward shots, Spieth shredded it all — from tee to green from start to finish. He ended the week with 29 birdies, an eagle, one bogey, and two double bogeys.
This wasn’t going to be competitive, but those early birdies, and then this eagle on the 7th made this an exceedingly enjoyable stroll for Spieth. He said it was some of the most fun he’s ever had on the course, and prompted him to think about getting to 30-under as he made the turn.
The 21-year old is now 53-under in his last 12 competitive rounds. He’s the first wire-to-wire winner at this prestigious offseason event. The eye-opening stats go on and on and on.
It was fitting that Spieth pulled off this kind of dominating performance at Tiger Woods’ little party. The 10-shot win was the kind of stuff that we used to get annually from Woods.
“This looks a little bit like what you USED to do.” Dan Hicks to Tiger Woods, watching Spieth dominate from the booth. Sure Tiger loved that
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) December 7, 2014
Spieth doesn’t have all the natural talent that Woods once had, and will never come close to matching the hype and force of Tiger, but he’s probably the USA’s top prospect since the guy he just beat by 26 strokes. When I followed both in June as they played together at Congressional in Tiger’s last comeback, Woods towered over the younger, scrawnier Spieth. It was hard to believe just by looking at both that he was the one having health problems, looking over-the-hill and struggling to keep up with some of these young guns like Spieth.
This is still Rory’s game right now, and we have to be careful of projecting too much from one hot week in the month of December. But what we saw this week in an unofficial but loaded event with 10 of the top 15 in the world demonstrates that Spieth’s best, when he has it, is going to blow everyone else out of the water. Last week’s cruise against a field with Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott reinforces that. Spieth will be a factor at the majors again this season, and another year, bolstered by this December finish should only make him tougher to handle, especially on Sunday afternoons.
There will be plenty of time of dissect and discuss the questions rising out of Tiger’s return to competitive golf. The new “old” swing looked pretty good. His short game was ugly. His health was spotty, due to a freak flu-like illness but not his balky back. His last place finish isn’t THAT bad considering the circumstances and limited field, and now we probably won’t see him until the first week of February at Torrey Pines. While his comeback was the major story at the top of the week, Sunday night should be about celebrating the methodical brilliance of Spieth. It might be the first of several in the coming year.
Here’s your final leaderboard from Isleworth:
|Place||Player||Score||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Total|