Golf is a game eternally searching for the Next One.
The next Jack. The next Arnie. The next Tiger. Who will carry the sport into a new generation? Who will emerge in the post-Tiger era of insanely talented but not quite transcendent players? This week, his name is Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old Texas Longhorn who pulled on the kelly Green Jacket after dominating the Masters.
His 18-under final score matched the record Woods set as a 21-year-old in 1997 when Tiger’s red shirt became as much of a part of Sundays as brunch for most of us.
Spieth drew plenty of comparisons to Woods after winning the Masters for reasons other than just being young. The win was Spieth’s third tournament win before his 22nd birthday, something only Woods accomplished. And dressed head to toe in Under Armor, Spieth’s impact on selling golf gear is also being compared to Tiger’s tight relationship with Nike.
But Woods, who won the Masters four times, never took the Green Jacket with a wire-to-wire win. Spieth became the first player at the tournament since Raymond Floyd in 1976 to leave the course every day atop the leaderboard.
Just like Tiger was groomed for stardom from a young age, the young Texan, who talked about winning the Masters as a 14-year old, is the hottest thing in golf right now.
“Honestly, I don’t look at this as a run,” Spieth told reporters. “I look at this as, this is the way I should be playing. If I look at it as a run, it means the normal me is something lesser than I am right now.”
Here is a look back at his historic weekend by the numbers:
21 years, 8 months, and 17 days — Spieth’s age when he became the second-youngest Masters champion in history
154 — how many days older he was than Tiger Woods when he won in 1997
3 — how old Spieth was when Tiger captured his first Masters
19-under — The lowest score ever reached at any point during a Masters tournament
18-under — Spieth’s record-tying 72-hole score in tournament history
16-under — His record score for best 54-hole finish in Masters history
14-under — record set for best 36-hole finish in Masters history
5 — Number of players to win the Masters with a wire-to-wire victory
39 — Years since Raymond Floyd last accomplished the feat in 1976
2 — Spieth’s finish at last year’s Masters, after entering Sunday in the lead
2 — Spieth’s world ranking after winning at Augusta National
4 — number of strokes Spieth won the tournament by
3 — closest anybody got to Spieth after he teed off Friday
10 — number of years in Spieth’s new Under Armor contract, which he signed in January
7 — number of Under Armour logos Spieth wore on Sunday (that we can see…)
28 — record number of birdies carded by Spieth for the tournament
25 — former record held by three-time champion Phil Mickelson in 2010
$1.8 million — record purse collected by Spieth for winning the 2015 Masters
1 — historic life goals Spieth accomplished before the age most of us graduate college