Jordan Spieth put up a valiant fight in the final round of the 2015 PGA Championship, but he was ultimately powerless to stop Jason Day in his pursuit of his first major title.
The 22-year-old shot a four-under 68 in Round 4 to finish at 17 under for the tournament. Day won the tournament by three strokes. You can see the full leaderboard below:
Things never quite clicked at Whistling Straits for Spieth on Sunday. His two bogeys on the front nine equaled his combined total over the first three rounds. You can see his fourth-round scorecard below:
|Jordan Spieth's PGA Championship Final-Round Scorecard|
Bill Simmons summed up Spieth's final day well. The two-time major champion was off his game, but he never fell so far behind Day that a comeback was out of the question:
Bill Simmons @BillSimmons
Also Spieth's ability to hang around when he's not playing that well is such a special trait. 1st golfer I've really rooted for since Tiger.2015-8-16 22:17:51
Spieth began his day with three birdies on the first six holes, and it looked as though he was beginning his inevitable climb into the top spot.
A bogey on No. 4 stunted his momentum, but he quickly rebounded with birdies on the fifth and sixth holes. A second bogey on the ninth hole bumped him back down to one under for the day.
Despite his somewhat slow start to the final round, Spieth's back nine in the third round was all the evidence necessary to see he could flip the switch to an otherworldly level in an instant. He closed Saturday with a brilliant six-under 30 on the final nine holes.
After the round, he talked about his mindset as he recorded birdie after birdie.
"And so once the one on 11 went (in for birdie), even though it was a simple up-and-down, I at least saw another birdie go," Spieth said, per USA Today's Steve DiMeglio. "The one on 12 was nice. And we're off to the races. The holes started to look bigger. And on the back nine it was nice to get in the zone."
Fox Sports' Shane Bacon wasn't about to write Spieth off:
Shane Bacon @shanebacon
Cosigned. https://t.co/fZ5F1gYR7Q2015-8-16 21:06:46
An inspired run wasn't in the cards for Spieth, though. He birdied No. 10 but found himself unable to chase down Day. As ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne posited, it was as if Day and Spieth switched roles:
Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne
Man, Jason Day is Spieth-ing, Jordan Spieth here. Big stack golf going on today2015-8-16 22:11:56
Spieth saved a bit of magic for the 16th hole, as he somehow escaped a brutal lie in the bunker, via the PGA Tour:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
"He's like a Swiss Army knife. He's got everything." #PGAChamp http://t.co/ynYJQNtfhG2015-8-16 22:42:04
CBS analyst David Feherty was right on the money with this comment, via ESPN's Rob King:
Rob King @ESPN_RobKing
David Feherty scores big calling Jordan Spieth's bunker shot on 16: "I'm telling you, he went to Hogwarts." #genius #golf2015-8-16 22:40:35
Although he finished runner-up to Day, Sunday was a banner day for Spieth. He overtook Rory McIlroy for the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. According to Golf Channel researcher Justin Ray, only Tiger Woods in 1997 was younger when he became No. 1 in the world.
Spieth did, however, best Woods in one facet:
Justin Ray @JustinRayGC
With a 2-putt par at last, @JordanSpieth will finish 2015 a combined -54 in majors, the best single-season score all-time. #PGAChamp2015-8-16 23:05:43
On one hand, it's a bit of a shame Spieth got so close to achieving the Grand Slam. After winning the first two majors, he finished one shot short of getting into the playoff at The Open Championship and then placed second behind Day at Whistling Straits.
It's impossible to say the stars will align again for Spieth in the same way, but he's so good at such a young age that you can't discount the possibility. Comparing any young star to Woods is a bit lazy, but there truly isn't another recent parallel for Spieth's dominance, per Rick Reilly:
Rick Reilly @ReillyRick
Still, the golf played by Spieth in '15 is the best I've seen since Tiger in '00 + that's the greatest sports thing I've ever seen. #PGA2015-8-16 23:09:19
The San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami is already looking ahead to next year's Masters:
Tim Kawakami @timkawakami
Looking ahead to 2016 Masters, I think Spieth-Day-McIlroy will be the most-heavily favored top trio since Jack-Arnie-Player.2015-8-16 22:36:46
The scary part is, Spieth should only improve from here. His prime years are still ahead. Woods was 24 when he captured the first leg of his "Tiger Slam."
The future of golf is in capable hands with Spieth leading the way. He fell short at the 2015 PGA Championship, but you don't envision that happening too many more times when he's within striking distance of the leader on the final day.