Golf: New world order? Not yet, says Spieth

Jordan Spieth (right) and Jason Day both enjoyed a breakthrough season, with the world No. 1 spot changing hands between them and Rory McIlroy eight times this year.
Jordan Spieth (right) and Jason Day both enjoyed a breakthrough season, with the world No. 1 spot changing hands between them and Rory McIlroy eight times this year.PHOTO: REUTERS

Spieth says lots left to do before golf's young guns establish themselves as a dominant force

The world No. 1 spot has changed hands eight times this year among Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, while the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have struggled. However, Spieth has cautioned that it is still too early to conclude that a new world order has been established in golf.

The 22-year-old American, who enjoyed a breakthrough year on the PGA Tour, winning the Masters and US Open and sealing the year-end No. 1 spot, said: "It seemed like everyone was searching to try to find a story or create a new generation as being the two, three, four, key players for it, (but) I still think it's too early...

"If we can continue to do it for another couple of years then maybe we're deserving of that title but until you have multiple people in the same generation with Hall of Fame careers, I don't think it's necessarily worthy of saying that.

"I think the legends are made after the legends are done, and in order to be a legend we've got a lot of work to do still."

Like Spieth, Day, 28, and Ricky Fowler, 27, also had breakthrough seasons. Australian Day captured his first Major at the PGA Championship and enjoyed a four-week spell as world No. 1. American Fowler won the Players Championship, Scottish Open and Deutsche Bank Championship, in addition to recording top-five finishes in all four Majors.

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But Spieth felt that only McIlroy has the results to prove that he has become a consistent force on the Tour. The 26-year-old Northern Irishman rose to the top of the world rankings in 2012 and has remained at the top of the game as he added two Major titles last year to take his overall collection to four.

"I think Rory (McIlroy) would be the only established one (who) is deserving of it given that he has four Major championships, having done it over four to five seasons now.

"I feel like this (season) was a great start to the possibility of that (a new world order) but you never know who is going to break out this (coming) season and have the kind of year that I did or Jason (Day) did or Ricky (Fowler)."

While he fell agonisingly short of his quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam - finishing tied-fourth and second in the other two Majors - he insists: "To sum up the year, it was a dream come true season."

"The Open Championship (where he missed out on the play-off by just one shot) is the only tournament that really leaves a bitter taste in my mouth," he added.

The PGA Tour's Player of the Year is looking to carry his winning momentum into the new year and says he is "excited" about his impending visit to Singapore, where he will be the top draw for the US$1 million (S$1.41 million) SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa's Serapong course from Jan 28-31.

"People have talked highly of the golf course. Obviously if it brings out names that you know, typically it's a golf course that can stand the test," he said.

Reflecting on a remarkable season as he prepares to usher in the new year tomorrow, he said: "I guarantee you I'll be going to sleep with a big smile and (I'm) ready for what's ahead."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2015, with the headline 'New world order? Not yet'. Print Edition | Subscribe