SHANGHAI • Two-time Major winner Jordan Spieth believes it is too early to talk of a new era in golf, despite a year when he led the charge of the young guns.
The 22-year-old American won the season's first two Majors, the Masters and the US Open, and had a series of titanic battles with 28-year-old Jason Day of Australia, who finally turned the tables on Spieth to lift the PGA Championship in August.
Spieth went on to win the FedExCup while another young American Rickie Fowler, 26, had a breakthrough season in which he won thrice, including the US$10 million (S$14 million) Players' Championship at Sawgrass, and rose into the world's top five.
"It's a bit premature to say that it's our era," Spieth said yesterday after he had indulged in some Chinese drumming alongside Fowler, Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson to launch this week's WGC-HSBC Champions tournament, starting in Shanghai tomorrow.
"But I believe that we made a step in the right direction, and if we can ride with that, it'll be significant."
Three-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, who is only 26, had a season interrupted by a football-related injury, but still heads the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings and completes a youthful top three in the rankings with Day and Spieth.
Spieth, who will also compete in January's Singapore Open, said McIlroy is still the one they are chasing, and if it is anyone's era now, it is the Northern Irishman's.
"For Rory it's different because he's been consistent for quite a few years now. Jason and I have played solid golf, but to create an era you need to do it for a decade," said Spieth. "We have the potential to do it. But this was the first year of it.
"Unless we keep our heads down and work, and it drives us, and we get the luck... there's lot of factors in order to create it."
McIlroy skipped the launch event on the roof of Shanghai's Peninsula hotel overlooking the Huangpu river after suffering from a stomach bug yesterday.
"Rory just needs a rest and he'll be back for the pro-am tomorrow," his manager Sean O'Flaherty said. "He's picked up a tummy bug but it's nothing to worry about. He's gunning to win this week."