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The Golf Coast | Jordan Spieth's scorching season leaves golf in good hands

Jordan Spieth makes a long birdie putt on the 9th hole during the final round of the Tour Championship on Sunday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jordan Spieth makes a long birdie putt on the 9th hole during the final round of the Tour Championship on Sunday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. ASSOCIATED PRESS AP

All Jordan Spieth needed was a little push.

And it makes us all ponder, "Tiger Who?"

The young Texan is the new face of golf. Rory McIlroy and Jason Day have star power, too, but neither are American-made like Spieth.

This past week, Spieth asserted himself as the top golfer on the planet when he became the first $22 million man in PGA Tour history following a Tour Championship victory that netted him a $10 million bonus for capturing the FedEx Cup.

He also became the youngest player to win five times in a season since Horton Smith accomplished the feat in 1929.

None of that was looking possible during the last two months of the PGA Tour season when Hurricane Day rolled through.

Day pummeled golf courses en route to victories at the PGA Championship, The Barclays and BMW Championship.

He also won the RBC Canadian Open in July the week after nearly missing on hoisting the claret jug at the British Open.

Meanwhile, Spieth missed two cuts to begin the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and lost his No. 1 world ranking to Day.

Then the Tour Championship

To say Spieth's 2015 season was remarkable isn't hyperbole. It truly was a season for the ages. He posted 15 top-10 finishes in 25 events, winning five times and amassing more

than $12 million in earnings.

Let's not forget that he contended in all four majors, winning two of them and almost capturing the British Open -- and it surely would have shattered TV ratings records had he been in pursuit of the Grand Slam at the PGA Championship.

A 68.938 scoring average, which nets him the Vardon Trophy, was produced through an exquisite short game. Spieth owned most of the top spots in the putting ranks this past PGA Tour season: No. 1 in putting average (1.699), overall average (1.545), one-putt percentage (44.26 percent), putts per round (27.82) and made putts from 20-25 feet (25.93 percent).

He also ranked fourth with a 65.03 percent scrambling rate.

When that putter and his ball-striking went astray in two missed cuts to open the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Spieth watched his top ranking wither away to Day. But that's precisely what Spieth and the golf world needed. A dominant force is good, but tournament golf's drama is only heightened when rivalries are played out on Sundays.

Jack Nicklaus had Arnold Palmer and Gary Player before Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and others challenged the Golden Bear.

Ben Hogan had Sam Snead and Byron Nelson.

Tiger Woods was left alone, mostly, to ravage the game during his prime.

Now we have Spieth looking to do the same. But Rory McIlroy and Day aren't old, and having a new Big Three in the Nicklaus/Palmer/Player vein as viable major championship threats every time they tee it up is what the game desperately needs.

Sure, a comeback from the old guard (Tiger) would break TV ratings records, too, since the redemption story would pull at everyone's heartstrings.

But with Spieth and Co., golf is in good hands regardless.

And it leaves us thinking, "Tiger Who?"

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at jdill@bradenton.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill and like his Facebook page at Jason Dill Bradenton Herald.

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