Jordan Spieth falls just short in perfect end to near perfect season
Champion Golfer of the Year Jordan Spieth settles for second behind close friend Justin Thomas in the PGA Tour’s season-ending play-offs.
- Champion golfer finishes PGA Tour season ranked second in standings
- Now looking ahead to The 147th Open - and his title defence at Carnoustie
They say friendship and money is like oil and water, something Jordan Spieth readily understands.
He nearly produced the perfect punctuation point on a sparkling season to remember but insisted he had no regrets after just missing out on golf’s biggest pay out.
Spieth and PGA champion Justin Thomas arrived at the US season’s $10 million finale ranked first and second in the race to top the PGA Tour standings.
The pair have been close friends since they were children, taking holidays together and even sharing houses during tournaments.
When Spieth won at Royal Birkdale, Thomas was among the first to congratulate him by the 18th green, roles reversed when he then claimed his first major a few weeks later at Quail Hollow.
But they couldn’t split this prize at East Lake in Atlanta.
No regrets for Spieth
Rookie Xander Schauffele won the final tournament of the season by a stroke but Thomas finished just one shot behind, meaning he succeeded Rory McIlroy as overall champion.
Spieth briefly had control of the $10m bonus, despite starting the day eight shots behind third round leader Paul Casey. He then looked poised to charge when he holed a wedge from 94 yards for an eagle on the 10th but he couldn’t recreate the back nine drama of Royal Birkdale this summer.
He played the last four holes in one over, while Thomas remained a picture of consistency.
But after a season that will always be remembered for his dramatic and entertaining duel with Matt Kuchar, Spieth insists there are no regrets.
"It was a great season, if I could repeat it every year for the rest of my career I certainly would," he said.
"I knew after the 10th hole that I could win the FedEx Cup, but it just didn't quite go my way and it wasn’t meant to be.
"I think it's rightfully so that Justin wins the season-long race this year. Five wins with a major championship and you'd like the FedEx Cup to go to the most deserving player for the entire year and I think that's him.
"I almost cheated my way into winning when JT really deserved it. I'm very happy for him. I'm fortunate to have done it and it's really something else."
Spieth already looking ahead to 2018
Thomas’s winning margin of just 600 points - after a long year of more than 20 ranking events - is the smallest in the 11-year history of the play-offs.
Spieth ends the season with three Tour wins, claiming the Travelers Championship and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, in addition to his Claret Jug success.
He banks nearly $10 million in prize money from a year that includes 12 top ten finishes, while he leads the scoring averages, birdie averages and is now ranked second in the world.
And, yet ever the perfectionist, he insists there is much work to do.
“This was the most uncomfortable I’ve been with the putter in my hands maybe in my career. It was probably the worst putting event that I had this entire year,” he said.
“I love this golf course, I love this tournament and, if I putt better, then we’ll be right in the thick of things.
“I’ll just come back revamped. I’ll get back to basics and go from there like I do every year. I can’t be too disappointed when I look back on the season, you can never be too disappointed when you’ve won The Open.”
After spending a season pitched in battle, Spieth and Thomas now heads to the Presidents Cup in New York, where they could prove a mean partnership for captain Steve Stricker, giving a glimpse as to what European captain Thomas Bjorn can expect at next year’s Ryder Cup.
And then it’s a well-deserved holiday - perhaps even together - as the two close friends plot and plan more domination in 2018.
Tickets for The 147th Open at Carnoustie are now on general sale. Visit TheOpen.com/Tickets for full details.