Jordan Spieth`s rise as smooth as his swing
Jordan Spieth`s rise from obscurity to global stardom at the age of 22 has been as seamless as it has been meteoric.
Just two years ago, few outside of US golfing circles had heard much about the fresh-faced teen from Dallas, Texas, who barged his way into the Open at Muirfield at the last minute on the back of a win in the John Deere Classic the previous week.
He tied for 44th on that occasion, but gained an eye for links golf and two years later at St Andrews he came within a whisker of becoming just the second player to win the first three majors of the year.
His win at the John Deere back in 2012 had not gone unnoticed.
Two weeks short of his 20th birthday, he was the first teenage winner on the US PGA Tour since Ralph Guldahl in 1931.
His precociousness was there for all to see and that had been the case for some time.
Born and raised in Dallas, Spieth attended St Monica Catholic School and Jesuit College Preparatory School, graduating in 2001.
He played college golf for the University of Texas and was a key member of the 2011 Walker Cup team that played and won at Aberdeen. He used that occasion to try out, in passing, the Old Course at St Andrews for the first time.
Tall and lanky, blessed with a steely mindset, an innate sense of course management and a wonderful putting technique and touch, Spieth was a natural for golf from the day he first picked up a club.
He joined Tiger Woods as the only players to win multiple US Junior amateur titles and before he turned 19 he was ranked top junior in the United States.
He even delved into the world of the pros, turning heads by skipping school and earning a share of 16th as a 16-year old at the Byron Nelson Championship.Spieth turned professional in December 2012 and, while many others before him had struggled to make the switch to the paid ranks, Spieth took to it like a duck to water.
The win in the John Deere in July proved that he could compete with the best and by the end of that year he was already ready to take the next step in his career.
"I guess the next step is trying to compete in a major. The British Open was a valuable experience. I learned a lot. I was not patient enough to win that golf tournament, not even close."
But he came close in the first major of 2014 when he led on the front nine in the final day of the Masters only to be overtaken by Bubba Watson down the stretch.
Spieth then closed the season in superb style winning the Australian Open in Sydney by six strokes and flying back to lift the Hero World Challenge in Florida a week later.
Then at Augusta National in April, he moved dramatically into the spotlight by becoming the second youngest player, after Tiger Woods to win the Masters.
Two months later the US Open crown was his as he birdied the last at Chambers Bay near Seattle to edge Dustin Johnson. He was the youngest to win the US national championship since the legendary Bobby Jones in 1923.
He was only the sixth player in history to win back-to-back Masters and US Opens and had the chance of joining Ben Hogan as the only player to win The Open in the same year at St Andrews, only to miss out on a play-off place by one shot.
Now he is fully focused on Whistling Straits and the PGA Championship where Spieth can become just the second player - after Tiger Woods in 2000 and Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in the same year.
"I don`t know how many guys have done three majors in a year. I`m sure there`s only been a few," Spieth said as he prepared to depart St. Andrews. "So that would be the next goal as far as the history goes. Sights set on the PGA Championship."