By DAVID W. KEEN
After a record-setting 36 holes at Augusta National, Jordan Spieth has looked, at times, as though he's playing a different course from everyone else. Welcome to #SpiethMode.
Jordan Spieth has been heralded as one of the many bright young stars on the PGA tour who will be chasing Rory McIlroy over the coming years. Speith was tossed in with the likes of Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Patrick Reed, but this week at Augusta— and all season, really— Spieth has shown us that he has another gear that the others may not (yet) posess.
If Spieth manages to go wire-to-wire at Augusta, we may have to consider him more of a contender to Rory's heir-apparent status than just another promising young player. Green Jackets have a way of propelling one's career.
What Spieth has done in the first two rounds of this glorious tournament has been spell-binding. He's continuously hitting shots closer than others and dropping putts that everyone else is leaving short. His distance control and course management have both been excellent and what's been maybe most impressive is just how poised he's looked.
If this were any other young player, the temptation would be to question whether he'd have the resolve to keep his challengers at bay and finish the tournament off the way we'd become so accustomed to seeing Tiger robotically do. With Spieth though, he's been so red-hot this season and has the experience of a second-place Masters finish last season, it's hard to see him conceding.
At 25 and with 4 Majors to his name, Rory is still unquestionably the best in the world and in the process of replacing Tiger as the face of golf, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. But if Spieth notches his first Major at 21, he might grab the mantle of challenger the way we had hoped for so long that David Duval, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson would.
For now, there's still the matter of moving day and the pressure of a final round at Augusta for him to deal with. But if #SpiethMode is his new default, Augusta doesn't stand a chance.