A triumphant Jordan Spieth smiled and said, “I’m so happy after coming so close last year.”
If you think that’s the newly minted Masters champion talking about his second-place finish to Bubba Watson in 2014, guess again. It’s from the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., where Spieth, then 15, avenged a loss in the previous year’s semifinals to win his first of two U.S. Juniors.
Spieth’s ascendance to major champion has been a journey paved with historic accomplishments and, just as was seen at the 2009 Junior and 2015 Masters, the ability to learn and grow from stinging losses. Now, the 21-year-old Texan is right where he believes he should be: among the game’s elite.
Here are five facts about Spieth that suggest he was a major champion in waiting:
- He is the only player other than Tiger Woods to win multiple U.S. Junior Amateur titles.
- In the 2011 Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland, Spieth was the only player on the USA Team to go undefeated (2-0-1).
- He was the low amateur at the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.
- He is now only the third person, along with Gay Brewer and Woods, to win a U.S. Junior Amateur and a Masters.
- He is the seventh player to win multiple USGA championships and the Masters, joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.