Jordan Spieth enjoyed a superlative season on the PGA Tour. We take a look at how he did it, with particular attention to his form on the putting surface…
The Texan burst onto the professional gold scene with his epic run at the Masters in 2014, when he went toe-to-toe with Bubba Watson, who eventually edged him out on the closing three holes.
Spieth corrected that this year to win his first major at Augusta National, then backed it up with another at the US Open. Consistency and a victory at the PGA Tour swansong, the Tour Championship, would eventually see him lift the FedEx Cup.
But here is the thing – he is not a long-range bomber like so many of the other top ten players. Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are well down for their prodigious length, all of them out-driving Spieth by some 40 yards.
In fact, Spieth ranked 78th in driving distance in 2015. Not only that, but he wasn't too accurate either, finding the fairway just 62 per cent of the time, a stat which ranks him 80th.
So how on earth does a golfer who hits it short and in the rough work his way to number one in the world? The short answer is putting.
The two-time major winner has become a prolific putter, as his stats on the PGA Tour attest. Spieth was ranked number one for in putting average (1.699 per hole), one-putt percentage (44 per cent) and putts per round (27.82), to name a few.
He also drained an astonishing 25 per cent of putts from between 20 and 25 feet. In terms of numbers, that's 21 putts drained out of his 81 efforts from that range.
During his Masters win, Spieth had zero three-putts after his four rounds. Lets just let that sink in for a while…
Here's Spieth holing a 46 footer birdie on his way to winning the Valspar Championship.
Part of Spieth's success has to do with his putting grip, which is unusual. Even though he is right handed, his left hand is the lower hand on the club, which he argues gives him more feel. Additionally, on shorter putts, he tends to look at the hole when going through the stroke.
Here is an example…
Should Spieth be able to keep his deft touch on greens, there is no reason to think he can't eclipse 2015's performance next season.
“There’s a chance it can all come together, and we could even improve on the last year,” said the 22-year-old recently.
“There’d be no point in me setting lofty goals to just settle for something less than what I’ve already done. I believe that my best is forward. I believe that my prime is ahead of me.”
Pretty ominous words indeed…