He wanted to put a bow on the season is how Jordan Spieth’s caddie described his boss’s Tour Championship victory that gave him the FedEx Cup and a cheque for $10m (£6.6m).
Despite his 22 years, Spieth has already stopped looking at the noughts in his bank account. His fifth win of the season, including the first two majors of the year, mark him out as a golfer of the rarest pedigree. When you putt like this kid, the money tends to take care of itself.
For the record he banked $1.485m (£980,000) for winning the final tournament of the PGA Tour season at East Lake, plus the $10m bonus for topping the FedEx finale. Spieth’s emergence as the world’s finest golfer, underwritten by a ranking that returned him to top spot, is a storyline that has allowed Tiger Woods to slip quietly from the scene almost un-noticed.
The nascent rivalry with Rory McIlroy, last year’s unfeasibly high-achiever, and Jason Day, whose finish to the PGA Tour season almost matched Spieth’s start for excellence and was the equal in terms of tournament wins, has more than compensated for the absence of Woods. Spieth’s jackpot is the more remarkable since he missed the cut in the opening two tournaments of the four-event FedEx climax. His FedEx points accumulation was such that he was always going to progress to the shoot-out in Atlanta, but there were a few beginning to wonder if the bubble had burst.
He answered the doubters with a four-shot victory over Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Danny Lee. His $12,030,465 returns this year set a record for prize money in a season, excluding the FedEx bonus. Day’s epic run to the wire, including victory at the final major of the season, the US PGA Championship, had been well and truly eclipsed.
“It’s validation to the year, and how can you go through the lows of a season so quickly after you’re so high [back-to-back missed cuts]?” Spieth said. “People can give up on you easily. Not to care about that, to worry about our own stuff and to come into the brightest stages and perform, to bounce back this quickly from the low in my season is really cool.”
Spieth was as shocked as the rest of us at missed cuts at the Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship in the aftermath of the US PGA, where he was in the last group on the final afternoon with Day.
“I made some poor decisions earlier in the play-off stretch because mentally I wasn’t in shape, meaning I was approaching this No 1 world ranking, the end of the major season, these expectations, I was managing them like a sprint, not looking long term at a rivalry with these great players that might flip flop.
“So I did a lot of thinking, a lot of talking with Cameron [coach] and Michael [caddie] to try to figure out how to approach this [final] week, not to worry about any of that stuff. And if we get a lead, who cares about what other implications will come about, other than how to get this trophy?
“That’s how we did it the whole year, how do we get that one trophy at hand and not worry about anything else? And for whatever reason, everything else was slipping into my head for a couple of those weeks. So I worked on just trying to manage that.”
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