Spieth, 16, to play in St. Jude Classic
The golf world will find out what 16-year-old Jordan Spieth can do for an encore this weekend at the PGA Tour St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
Spieth, who finished his junior year at Jesuit College Prep in Dallas, made national news with his impressive PGA Tour debut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship last month. He finished the event tied for 16th, and at one point he was three shots off the lead midway through the final round.
Spieth had the second-best finish by a player under 17 at any PGA event and helped boost an event that lacked star power. Now, a week before the U.S. Open, he again tees it up against PGA Tour competition via a sponsor's exemption given to him after he was named the AJGA Player of the Year last season.
But this time he'll have the confidence of someone who has made the cut in a PGA Tour event and knows what it's like to play in front of large galleries.
"I think I'll be able to get settled down and get into the zone, get into my game earlier than I was at the Byron just because of the experience," Spieth told a media gathering in Memphis on Wednesday. "I think that's important that I'm not running on -- I need to get settled down as quickly as I can because I felt like I was running on adrenaline for almost half of the round sometimes at the Byron Nelson. I'd like to get in there and just start going and just start playing my game."
Spieth said the same thing Wednesday as he did before the Nelson: "You don't enter a tournament unless you think you can win."
He talked about his two biggest memories of the Nelson weekend: His hole out from the bunker on his first hole Saturday and the huge ovation he received after his daring shot over the pond on the par-3 17th ended up just right of the hole.
He also figured out how to address Tom Pernice Jr., his playing partner Saturday at the Nelson.
"He wants [to be called] Tom," said Spieth, who had wondered if "Sir" or "Mr. Pernice" was the appropriate introduction. "I was hitting balls with him on the range. He gave me a few pointers for the week."
Spieth played in a junior event in Arizona between the Nelson and his arrival in Memphis this week. He attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open on Monday in Memphis, but finished four strokes back of a playoff for the final spots.
He's spent the rest of his time dealing with final exams at school. So how were his grades?
"I have no idea," Spieth said. "I haven't gotten the scores back. I did as well as I could given that I missed the last two weeks of information. So they're not going to be as pretty as they would have been."
Spieth's caddie from the Nelson, former Jesuit teammate Kyle "Bags" Baginski, will not be on the bag this week. But Baginski said Jimmy Marino, who graduated from Jesuit this year, will be Spieth's caddie for this tournament.
YOUNGEST PLAYERS TO MAKE CUT IN PGA TOUR HISTORY
Dallas amateur Jordan Spieth (16 years, 9 months, 24 days old) is the sixth-youngest player to make the cut in PGA Tour history. The top five:
|Bob Panasik||15 years, 8 months, 20 days||1957 Candadian Open (T66)|
|Tadd Fujikawa||16 years, 4 days||2007 Sony Open (T20)|
|Justin Thomas||16 years, 2 months, 23 days||2009 Wyndham Championship (T78)|
|Matteo Manassero||16 years, 2 months, 29 days||2009 British Open (T13)|
|Ty Tryon||16 years, 9 months, 7 days||2001 Honda Classic (T39)|