CHAMPIONS
Spieth's Journey is Marked by USGA Milestones April 12, 2015 By Greg Midland

Before he became a Masters champion, Jordan Spieth arrived on the national stage as a force in USGA championships. (USGA/Fred Vuich)

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.
 
Photos: Jordan Spieth- From USGA Champion to Masters Champion

Spieth is the 22nd player to win a USGA championship as well as the Masters, and is the ninth to have won a USGA amateur championship and the Masters.

There’s yet another aspect of Spieth’s USGA history that may well work to his advantage moving forward. His other U.S. Junior victory, in 2011, came at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, Wash. Not only is the course a mere 30 miles from Chambers Bay, site of the U.S. Open in June, but it was the first time that Michael Greller worked as Spieth’s caddie. When Spieth turned pro in 2012, he called Greller, a Tacoma-area native who previously worked as the caddie master at Chambers Bay, to be his caddie on the PGA Tour. The two are still together, and Greller was the first to give Spieth a congratulatory hug on the 18th green at Augusta National.

Think this duo is already looking forward to the year’s second major? If past performance is any indication, Spieth will be a good bet to rise to the occasion yet again.

Greg Midland is the USGA’s director of editorial content. Email him at gmidland@usga.org.