Commentary

Spieth not rushing to tour

Freshman has Texas golf ranked No. 1 going into championship

Updated: May 24, 2012, 12:28 PM ET
By Carter Strickland | HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- Jordan Spieth needed some cash.

A few singles. A five. Either would do.

The Colonial County Club valets had his car keys and a hand out. All Spieth had was, well, nothing. That is unless you count that Ben Hogan finalist medal hanging around his neck or the more than $152,000 in PGA Tour checks that were never cashed or, for that matter, even written.

"He's just college kid," said his mom Chris, folded bills at the ready to hand to Jordan.

And, for now, that's all he wants to be.

[+] EnlargeJordan Spieth
Darren Carroll/Getty ImagesJordan Spieth joins Tiger Woods as the only golfers to win multiple U.S. Junior Amateurs.
"I plan on being here in the fall," the freshman said.

Here means Texas. That's where Spieth has spent the last year, moving closer to the spotlight, winning tournaments, propelling his team to the No. 1 ranking in college golf headed into the national championship at Riveria Country Club in Los Angeles next week. Oh yeah, and in his off time, finishing 41st at the Valero Texas Open and not taking home $22,940 because of his amateur status. Of course that might not be a big deal to Spieth anymore seeing as how he left $129,442.80 on the table the last two years at the Nelson because he was an amateur and in high school.

"All that will come in time and he knows that," Jordan's father Shawn Spieth said.

Patience and an 18-year-old are an oil and water mix. Money is the match that makes it a floating conflagration that some have so eloquently dubbed a grease fire or John Daly.

Spieth is different. Not because of his talent. Although that talent alone does make him unique. It's because of his approach.

There is no question he has the talent to make it on the PGA Tour right now. The more than a $50k average in his three starts is a testament to that. So too is his being recognized as one of the top three college golfers, again, as just a freshman.

And true Spieth didn't win the Hogan Award. Patrick Cantlay from UCLA did. But when the three finalist -- Patrick Rodgers of Stanford was the other -- played nine holes early that day at Colonial, well, here's how Spieth humbly put it: "I got the best of them."

Expect to see that a few times in the future. But that future is not arriving any time soon.

"The time will come," he said. "I'm in no rush right now."

Which is exactly opposite the way Spieth started his career. Half his lifetime ago, the 9-year-old would have clubs in hand every Saturday morning by 8 a.m. waiting for Chris or Shawn to take him to the course. It wasn't too long before Spieth refused to play his age division. The little kids only played nine holes in tournaments. Spieth wanted more. So he shouldered his bag, drug it across 18 and carried home more than his fair share of trophies.

"People always told us, 'He's going to burn out,'" Chris said.

Chris and Shawn didn't listen. They had been college athletes, Chris a basketball player and Shawn a baseball player. They knew the type of drive Jordan had. They also knew most parents were just concerned the football team was losing its left-handed quarterback off the sixth grade team or the ace pitcher off the seventh grade baseball team.

Spieth, in turn, was gaining notoriety, confidence and hardware. He won three straight high school titles at Dallas Jesuit. If that weren't enough, he won the U.S. Junior Amateur twice. Tiger Woods, who won it three times, is the only other player to accomplish that feat.

That Spieth decided to go to college at all might have been a surprise. That he is not rushing to leave it, considering the potential earnings, could leave some slack-jawed.

"I know that he is not motivated by money," Chris said. "He is motivated because he wants to win. He wants to be No. 1 in the college rankings just like he wanted to be No. 1 in the junior rankings when he was there."

That's not to say there isn't temptation or whispers, wait make it, shouts in Spieth's ear that he should cash a few checks.

"He's always anxious," Shawn said. "That is the way he is wired, always wanting to go and achieve the next and the next.

"That's our biggest challenge is to get him to reflect a little bit, try to recognize what you've got and, when you go to work down the road, that will be for good."

Now it is just a matter of figuring out when Speith will step on that road and how far he can take it.

"I feel like I'm ready.," he said of joining the tour. "I do love college. But I do feel like I'm ready. Right now I'm doing both, which is pretty awesome."

So long as mom has tip money at the ready.

Carter Strickland | email

Reporter, HornsNation