KOHLER (Wisconsin) • Jordan Spieth ended one of the best Major seasons ever by a player on a bittersweet note at the PGA Championship on Sunday as he had to settle for second place while becoming world No. 1 for the first time.
In pursuit of a rare third grand slam title in the same year, the Masters and US Open champion closed with a four-under 68 at Whistling Straits for a 17-under total of 271.
He finished three strokes behind the triumphant Jason Day.
Spieth, 22, tied for fourth in last month's British Open - just one stroke short of joining a play-off, had the consolation on Sunday of dislodging Rory McIlroy from top spot in the world rankings because of his strong finish in the season's final Major.
"It's been a very, very good year," he said after recording his 14th top-10 finish in 21 starts on the 2014-15 PGA Tour, including four wins and three runner-up spots.
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
FINAL RD (USA unless stated)
268 Jason Day (Aus) 68 67 66 67 271 Jordan Spieth 71 67 65 68
273 Branden Grace (Rsa) 71 69 64 69
274 Justin Rose (Eng) 69 67 68 70
276 Dustin Johnson 66 73 68 69
279 Rory McIlroy (Nir) 71 71 68 69 280 Phil Mickelson 72 73 66 69
284 Rickie Fowler 73 70 70 71,
Jim Furyk 73 70 69 72
"This is as easy a loss as I've ever had because I felt that I not only couldn't do much about it, as the round went on, I also accomplished one of my life-long goals and in the sport of golf," added the second-youngest to ascend the summit behind Woods.
The latter was 21 when he first reached No. 1 in 1997.
"That will never be taken away from me now. I'll always be a No. 1 player in the world. When I look back on this year, the consistency... and especially being able to step it up in the biggest stages, that's a huge confidence builder."
Spieth, who accrued six birdies and two bogeys on a day of low scoring at Whistling Straits, was already thinking about next year's Majors even as he described the mental toll competing for them.
"I hope to have a season like this one at the biggest stages again," said the American. "But it's not easy, it takes a lot out of you.
"I'm tired right now. I mean, I left it all out there.
"I'm tired from the Majors this year because of what it does. It really does wear you out mentally, trying to grind that much."
McIlroy, who had held the top ranking for 55 consecutive weeks, was among the first to congratulate Spieth.
The Northern Irishman, who signed off with a 69 to finish at nine under, tweeted: "2 inevitable things happened today, @JDayGolf winning a major and @JordanSpieth getting to 1 in the world! Congrats guys!! Inspiring stuff!" REUTERS