Jordan Spieth isn't just the future of American golf; he’s the toast of the sport right now after becoming the first teenager to win a PGA Tour event in 82 years Sunday at the John Deere Classic.
The 19-year-old Texan outlasted major championship winner Zach Johnson and David Hearn with a two-foot par putt on the fifth hole of a marathon playoff.
The historic win capped an impressive comeback from six shots back to start the final round and was highlighted by a thrilling birdie from the bunker on the 72nd hole just to earn a spot in the playoff.
Just as importantly, the triumph places Spieth in rarefied air that not even the most celebrated American and international golfers of the past two decades have experienced.
While that's not to say Spieth is heading for the type of career those three bright stars are currently enjoying, it's worth noting he has already accomplished something they did not.
Indeed, Spieth is in uncharted territory during the modern era of professional golf, and the accomplishment wasn't lost on the former Texas Longhorns standout after his victory in the Illinois dusk.
"I didn't think it would happen this early," said Spieth, according to PGATOUR.com. He turned professional in December and has been a consistent threat on leaderboards ever since. "I had a plan. I guess the plan got exceeded."
Welcome to the understatement of the 2013 PGA Tour season to date.
Not only did Spieth become the youngest golfer to win a PGA Tour event since Ralph Guldahl in 1931, but he also punched a ticket for this week’s Open Championship at Muirfield in the process.
It’s an accomplishment that wasn't exactly expected when the final round began at TPC Deere Run on Sunday. That said, it isn't a complete surprise given the way the talented rookie has performed on the PGA Tour in the first seven months of the 2013 campaign.
Including the John Deere, Spieth has played in 16 PGA Tour events and now owns a half-dozen top-10 finishes and two other top-25 finishes.
He’s performed well on challenging layouts such as Harbour Town Golf Links, Congressional and the Copperhead layout at Innisbrook Resort before finally breaking through at Deere Run on Sunday.
It’s a victory that not only sends Spieth to Scotland for the third major of the year but also skyrockets the youngster to 11th in the FedEx Cup standings and provides him full status on the PGA Tour moving forward.
"Just got so lucky. That's what it is. But right now I'm extremely pleased, and a little worried about only having short sleeves going to Scotland," Spieth said, per PGATOUR.com.
We’re betting the $828,000 he won Sunday will help cover the wardrobe additions he needs for Muirfield. But an unexpected British Open start is just the tip of the iceberg for Spieth’s new reality moving forward.
Spieth burst onto the scene at the 2010 Byron Nelson Classic when he made the cut as a 16-year-old and went on to claim a top-20 finish.
The promise of that young golfer was undeniable, yet few would have imagined he would become a PGA Tour winner and potential major championship-caliber player just a handful of years later.
But based on his body of work this year and his breakthrough victory on Sunday, that’s exactly where he is.
Spieth displayed an ability to pull off the unexpected under the most difficult of circumstances. The memorable moments, flair and competitive fire simply screamed, “next great champion.”
Spieth clung near the top of the leaderboard late on Sunday, and when he holed a bunker shot and a simple two-foot par putt more than an hour later, Spieth leapt from great promise to historic accomplishment.
Beginning this week at Muirfield, it’s going to be fun to watch where he goes from here.