16-Year-Old Jordan Spieth Taking the Byron Nelson, PGA Tour, by Storm

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IMay 23, 2010

IRVING, TX - MAY 22: Jordan Spieth lines up a putt during the third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas on May 22, 2010 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

If you didn't know the name Jordan Spieth before the Byron Nelson, you certainly know the name now.

The 16-year-old phenom from Jesuit College Prep High School right here in Dallas, Texas, has taken this tournament over and has made fans forget all about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

His galleries have been the biggest all week and Jordan became theΒ sixth youngest player everΒ to make a PGA Tour cutΒ and he's made the best of his first PGA Tour event. His friends, family, school classmates, and his teachers have all made appearances here in Dallas to root on young Spieth but it's not just his family that gets him fired up, it's the large gallery as well.

During his post-round press conference on Saturday, Spieth commented that he wanted to get the gallery into it right off the bat, and he did just that on the very first hole.

After an errant tee shot into the left side rough, he flew the green and landed in the green-side bunker on the right side. Walking up, he still heard claps and encouragement from fans and friends alike that had come to walk the course with him.

Spieth, after looking over his shot from the bunker, promptly fired a perfect shot that rolled into the cup, sending the gallery into a full force frenzy.

It didn't stop there, Spieth rolled in tough par save on the second hole with a right-to-left break that, once again, sent the crowd into a roar.

From there, Spieth had an up-and-down time over the next seven holes going bogey, birdie, birdie, bogey, and finishing the final three holes on the front nine with three straight pars.

Through most of the round, Jordan made his usual tip of the cap after a made putt or as he was walking down the fairway. But his emotions were apparently being bottled up for one moment, and that moment came on the 12th green.

Spieth, with ice in his veins, drained a long par save and did his best Tiger Woods impression with a big fist pump to the crowd. Spieth told the media after his round, "when I dropped a putt, especially on 12 today, I went nuts, I threw a big 'ol fist pump, which I shouldn't be doing because I don't know how to."

We in the media room ate this kid up. He spoke like a seasoned veteran with absolutely no nerves at all. He answered every question that was asked and acted way beyond his 16 years.

After his press conference finished, many of the reporters stayed around to talk to his parents and immediately you could tell where Jordan got his poise.

His parents have apparently turned down numerous requests for interviews with Jordan because they don't want to expose him to too much too quickly. They want to keep him a teenager, a kid for all intensive purposes, for as long as they can. I don't blame his parents one bit, though Jordan's answer about going to college may have concerned them more than a little.

He was asked about his commitment to the University of Texas or if there's a temptation with turning pro. Spieth responded, "It is hard because you realize that you can compete out here and make a lot of money out here."

After one tournament, I'd be careful saying that he can compete out here because there are much tougher golf courses than the one he's playing on this week. There are courses that would chew him up and spit him out, but I respect his confidence.

After the excitement of this week wears off, Jordan will go back to being a high school student and he will return to the Junior National Amateur tournaments next week and compete against players his own age or possibly a few years older. It's great to see this young kid not buy into the hype that a lot of the media outlets are giving him.

When asked if he was reading stories about him, Jordan said, "Not really. I think I watched the Golf Channel thing [Friday] night and saw myself on two holes but I don't want to start reading it and getting too big a head out here because I still have 18 holes left. I don't want to get caught up in the story of 'The 16-year old.'"

Spieth did admit, though, he will look back on his experience after it's all said and done. "I'll look back on it and try and read as much as I can and watch as much as I can next week or the week after, given the amount of schoolwork I have to make up."

He still has a lot of growing up to do, but from what I saw in him yesterday, there's no doubt in my mind that he is going to be someone to watch over the next few years. I expect to see him in a few more small tournaments before the end of the PGA season and a few more in 2011, but he's a long ways from turning professional.

Just entering the media room this morning, most of the media members and radio shows were all abuzz about 16-year-old Jordan Spieth.

Today begins the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship and Spieth is just six shots off the lead. It's doubtful he can make up that kind of a deficit at his age but you better believe the largest gallery will be following this young phenom and hoping they get to see a little bit of history happen in his home town.


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