Just last week I pondered whether Jason Day, with a sequence of four wins from six tournaments that propelled him to world No1, had done enough to eclipse Jordan Spieth as golf’s star of 2015.
I sided with Masters and US Open winner Spieth, and if there was any lingering doubt the young Texan blew it away with another brilliant performance at the weekend.
Spieth’s four-shot victory at the Tour Championship in Atlanta also saw him scoop the FedEx Cup bonus – generating a total payday of £7.5m – and returned him to top spot in the rankings.
It was an incredible display, especially considering that he missed the cut in the first two events of the FedEx Cup play-offs and only showed flashes of form in the third, finishing 13th.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who could also have landed the FedEx Cup $10m bonus with victory in the finale, set the pace and led after 36 holes but was simply outgunned on Saturday and Sunday.
Stenson hit a few shots stone-dead and rolled in the putts. Spieth was relentless, though, and followed them in time after time. Justin Rose, who tied with Stenson and Danny Lee for second, was also magnificent.
I haven’t witnessed putting like Spieth’s since ben Crenshaw and Bob Charles, who were the best I’ve ever seen. The 22-year-old has such an old head on young shoulders and the heart of a lion.
Afterwards Spieth spoke very well about how difficult he had found the preceding few weeks, in which Day didn’t just beat him but absolutely demolished the American.
All credit to the Australian – four titles in six outings is a remarkable winning streak – yet Spieth came back and did what was required in the lucrative last leg of the PGA Tour.
It was the icing on the cake of an incredible season, which in my view surpasses Rory McIlroy’s memorable 2014, in which the Northern Irishman won the Open and the US PGA Championship as well as the Race to Dubai.
The gold standard is Tiger Woods’s 2000, which saw him win three Majors and finish fifth in the other, and I think Spieth’s year is on a par with that, owing to his results at the biggest occasions.
Not only did he win the year’s first two Majors; he then finished tied fourth, one shot behind, and second at the next two. That is beyond belief, while he also landed three other tournaments.
Tiger’s ascent was quick but Spieth’s has been nothing short of extraordinary. With him, Day and McIlroy vying for supremacy, plus the likes of Rose and Rickie Fowler, the game’s future looks very healthy.
Rory, who finished tied for 16th on Sunday after a final round of 74, almost tried too hard but got in a position to win over the first three days.
He has had a tough spell with an ankle injury and we don’t know how badly it has affected him. He is now experiencing the frustration that Spieth endured when watching Day sweep all before him and I’m certain he’ll come back next year with all guns blazing.
Finally, a mention must go to the evergreen Thongchai Jaidee, who shows no sign of losing the winning habit at 45 and pipped England’s Graeme Storm to the European Open in Germany.
Jaidee’s seventh European Tour title lifted him up to 32 in the world rankings and sets him up nicely for next week’s Presidents Cup, where he’ll be part of the international team taking on the United States.