Shawn Spieth is probably in contention for the best Father’s Day.
Entering the Chambers Bay course on the final day, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, along with two other players, were tied for the lead. It came down to the 18th hole. Johnson and Spieth were neck and neck as both found the green in two shots on a par-5. An eagle was in sight but when both players missed their chance, viewers were convinced a playoff would ensue on Monday.
Fate would not have it so as Johnson, in typical Johnson fashion, missed a four-foot birdie putt that cost him the U.S. Open victory by one shot. The performance was reminiscent of Johnson’s blown opportunity in the 2010 PGA Championship.
Shawn’s son claimed the U.S. Open championship after already having won the Masters earlier this year. It is an achievement only matched by five other men, including Tiger Woods who was the last individual to win the first two major tournaments in a calendar year.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 22, 2015
Spieth told CNN during an interview that,
“I was certainly playing this round for my Dad.”
After his win, Spieth attributed much of his success to his parents, who were both athletes in their collegiate days. Above all, his father stood out as a mentoring figure, instilling the importance of goal-setting and indefatigable work ethic.
“He’s the one that got me started in the game. He was the one who gave me any opportunity to do what I wanted, to do what I loved.”
His father’s lessons manifested themselves in an unexpected level of maturity; golf veterans chased Spieth all day. Rory McIlroy’s last round efforts carded him a 4-under 66, however, it was not enough to bring the number one ranked player within striking distance. Adam Scott was in the fray, posting the lowest score of the day at 64, but finished in a tie for fourth overall.
The former top ranked golfer was most taken back by Spieth’s age and his golf ability. Scott said,
“He certainly is making me feel my age a little bit if someone’s got my autograph on the wall and he’s playing out here. I think he’s handled himself incredibly well. I hope he keeps doing the same.”
Scott’s Australian compatriot Jason Day was part of the group entering the four way tie after three rounds, but he could not shrug off the vertigo that plagued him for much of the tournament. He double-bogeyed on the 13th hole, ending the possibility of a championship run. It was amazing enough on his part to continue playing after collapsing on the ninth hole on Friday.
Two South Africans were also pushing for the lead. Unfortunately, Branden Grace hit a terrible tee shot on the 16th hole that somehow made its way out of bounds and under a chained fence. Louis Oosthuizen put on a scorcher in the back nine, nailing five consecutive birdies.
When Spieth scored a double-bogey on the 17th hole, he kept his poise, confidence unshaken as he tied Oosthuizen. Spieth channeled his clutch factor on the last hole, sinking in a birdie to finish off his opponents. Oosthuizen ultimately tied Johnson for second.
The 21-year-old became the first male golfer since Gene Sarazen in 1922 to win a couplet of majors before the age of 22. To add to the impression of just how young Spieth is, he became the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since 1923 champion, Bob Jones.
As for whether or not Spieth can match another impressive milestone in professional golf, namely the attainment of the Grand Slam, some believe it is possible. USGA executive director Mike Davis told ESPN, “Jordan is good enough to win the Grand Slam.”
“Somebody who can win on a course like this and the Masters, these are just two different animals. So he’s enough of a shot-maker. And the thing about Jordan is, when you watch him, he doesn’t do anything spectacular. You look at his entire game and say, ‘He’s not one of the best drivers, he’s not one of the best putters, but he does everything really well.’”
After earning himself a cool $1.8 million, Spieth’s next focus is already set on the British Open at St. Andrews. Everyone should tune in next month to see if Spieth can win his third major in the same year.
Image: Via Flickr/Erik Charlton
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