Jordan Spieth: World No. 1 matches Tiger Woods’ record
2016 might have barely begun, but Jordan Spieth has already laid down a serious marker to his rivals by matching Tiger Woods’ modern-era record of seven PGA Tour titles won before the age of 23.
World No. 1 Spieth was in imperious form at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, finishing on 30 under par, eight shots clear of his nearest challenger, defending champion Patrick Reed.
It was only the second time in PGA Tour history that a player has recorded 30 under par or better in a 72-hole event, one shot shy of South African Ernie Els’ record score on the same course in 2003.
“I’m very satisfied,” Spieth said after Sunday’s final round.
“I felt comfortable all week — I felt it was just a short three-week break over the holidays and then just trying to continue what I was doing last year.
“It worked this week and all parts of the game were firing. I’ll try to continue exactly what we were doing last year.”
Spieth, who turns 23 on July 27, took just a month longer than Woods to claim his seventh title. Though his tally includes two majors to Woods’ one in that time, he needed 77 tournament starts compared to his older rival’s 38.
By the time Woods — who turned pro a year older at 20 — had played 77 events, he had 18 wins to his name, including another major.
Spieth was quick to play down comparisons with the 14-time major champion’s achievements.
“I am nowhere near, I don’t think there’s any reason to compare,” Spieth said. “It is awfully early. I’m very excited with where I am at as a start to my career and what Tiger has done.
“What Tiger has done, I can’t imagine ever being done again, but it’s very nice to be in that company.
“Any time that you can get into the company of him and other great players, it’s a goal I’ve had since I was a little kid.”
While the PGA Tour recognizes Woods’ achievement as its benchmark since its complete records began in 1970, a golfer from an earlier era — when pros competed alongside amateurs — had a statistically better achievement.
Horton Smith won 10 tournaments before turning 22, including eight in the nascent PGA Tour’s 1929 season. He would later become the first winner of the Masters Tournament in 1934.
Spieth, meanwhile, will seek to defend his Masters title at Augusta in April.
By Matias Grez