Jordan Spieth, 19, playing like an old pro at British Open

Get Adobe Flash player

GULLANE, Scotland — By the time young pro Jordan Spieth is able to legally buy a beer, he might be able to buy the whole beer company.

Spieth will turn 20 on July 27, giving him another year (before he can sidle up to the bar) to work on a bank account that has already grown incredibly.

He is the Dallas golfer who left the University of Texas in December to join the pro tour. There are good decisions and great decisions. Judging by current events, that Texas degree can wait.

He already had made some money, thanks to several tournament exemption entries and successes, when he walked into a sand trap late Sunday at the John Deere Open in Silvis, Ill., with one hope of getting into a playoff for the title. He had to chip in.


Spieth didn’t just chip in. He hit the flagstick and watched as the ball slithered directly down and into the cup.

About an hour later, he had won the playoff on the fifth extra hole, and with it $828,000. Suddenly, just six months after deciding to give pro golf a go, his portfolio is at $2,034,179. He is also No. 59 in the world, No. 11 in the Tour’s FedEx point standings and the youngest to win a PGA Tour event since Ralph Guldahl in 1931 at the Santa Monica Open at Riviera.

The win qualified him for tour events for the next two years. Also the Masters and this week’s British Open here at Muirfield.

So, flash forward to the 18th green Friday. Spieth stood over a two-foot putt for birdie, almost the exact distance he had for his winning tap-in at the John Deere.


Clunk. Par.

“I need to get back out to the putting green,” Speith said after his round of 74. “Need to get my mind back around the short putts.”

For a while Friday, Spieth was climbing the leaderboard like a real contender, which he said he still is with his total of 143, one over par. He’d gotten to three under, just two shy of the lead, and had it there heading to No. 15.

Then he chipped into the bunker and took a double bogey, followed with bogeys at 16 and the par-five 17th, and the missed birdie chance from two feet at 18.

Was he upset with himself? Showing maturity and poise, he said no.

“I think I’m tied for 26th or 27th right now,” he said, “and that’s only going to improve. This golf course is extremely difficult. Anybody within a few shots of par still has a chance to win.”

O’Meara falls apart

Mark O’Meara followed his contending 67 with a 78 Friday, and while the 1998 British Open champion made the cut, he was not happy with his play.


“It’s pretty simple,” said O’Meara, 56. “You don’t hit it good in an Open Championship with the rough the way it is, you’re going to make some bogeys. The short game is key. You have to putt well. I did none of those well. That’s why I shot seven over.”

Lehman also stumbles

Tom Lehman, 54 and the British champion two years before O’Meara, also followed a good day Thursday (a 68) with a bad one Friday, shooting 77 for a 145 total, and was even quicker in his summation.

“Really ugly golf,” he said. ". . . Not happy with it.”

Home disadvantage

Lehman made an interesting point about the European players, especially the Brits, and the so-called home advantage.

“That can work for you or against you,” he said. “You either embrace it and feel the love . . . or feel the added pressure that doesn’t allow you to perform.

“The expectations are so high. Everybody is saying this is a great course for Luke Donald. Hey, it’s a great course for anybody hitting it well.”


Donald shot 80 Thursday, followed with a 72 Friday, and missed the cut.