CloseUp: Jordan Spieth Returns to the Copperhead

Photo Courtesy Of Sam Greenwood-Getty Images Sports

Last year was a very good year (to put it modestly) for professional golfer Jordan Spieth, and this year is shaping up to be just as spectacular—at press time he was ranked World Number 1, won the 2016 Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a 30-under-par performance, and just finished competing in The Valspar Championship earlier this month.

Spieth is very familiar with The Valspar Championship, as it turns out: his first win of 2015 came at the tournament, and he did so with a 30-foot birdie putt during a playoff with Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair.

“It was huge,” said Spieth when asked about the importance of winning The 2015 Valspar Championship. “It was the first time I had ever made a putt to win a professional tournament.”

The Valspar Championship win was just the beginning of Spieth’s 2015 trajectory in the golf world. He went on to win his first major, the 2015 Masters Tournament, nonetheless, and tied the 72-hole record set by Tiger Woods in 1997; he also became the second youngest to win the Masters, behind Woods.

When Spieth won the 2015 U.S. Open, he was the youngest champion since Bobby Jones’ win in 1923, and only the sixth golfer to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year, the first male to have done so since Gene Sarazen in 1922. Additional 2015 wins include the John Deere Classic and The TOUR Championship, and he had very strong showings at the British Open and the PGA Championship. Spieth’s successes on the greens garnered him the 2015 FedEx Cup and 2015 PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors.

During a press conference prior to the start of The Valspar Championship, Spieth was asked about defending his title and playing on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort.

“It would be spectacular [to repeat as champion],” he said. “I think it’s a challenge. The thing that’s toughest about it is getting over where you were the previous year, and just forgetting about it.

“I am excited about playing the Copperhead Course,” Spieth continued. “I think the tougher courses play in my favor, and I thoroughly enjoy playing there with great memories going back to 2013.”

Asked to further expound upon the Copperhead Course, Spieth explained, “It’s a tremendous challenge. In the course of a season, there aren’t many courses that present the challenge the Copperhead Course does.

“It’s fair, but you have to hit the ball in both directions,” he continued. “You have to control the ball in swirling winds, and then you have to control your speed on the greens they get sneaky quick.

“I really do enjoy it because it is such a challenge, but a fair challenge.”

It’s hard to remember, with all of his successes and insight, that Spieth is just 22 years old.

Photo Courtesy Of Al Messerschmidt
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