Former Texas Longhorn Jordan Spieth and the American team are off to a successful start through three days of competition in the 10th Presidents Cup this week in Dublin, Ohio.
The event, staged at Jack Nicklaus’ famous Muirfield Village Golf Club, still has a couple of team matches to complete early Sunday morning before singles match play can proceed.
At this point, the U.S. holds an 11½-6½ lead over the International team.
The first three days of the Presidents Cup have featured team match play, pitting two players from each side against one another in either a four-ball or alternate shot match.
U.S. captain Fred Couples has paired Spieth, the youngest member in U.S. team history at 20 years old, with the eldest member, 46-year-old Steve Stricker. In three matches, they are 2-1.
“It was a lot of fun,” Stricker said of being paired with Spieth in his first three matches. “We did well together.”
Spieth, who led the Longhorns to the 2012 national championship as a freshman and then turned pro late last year, is seeming to find the spotlight more and more as this magical year progresses. He says he has enjoyed representing his country in the Presidents Cup.
“It’s amazing. It’s something that’s hard to describe,” he said. “When they announce you from the United States of America and you realize that it’s the Presidents Cup, and you’re standing next to guys like Steve (Stricker) and the best players in the world, it’s a feeling that gives me chills now just to talk about.”
Spieth said he was “feeling it” on the first tee in his first match Thursday. He went on to mis-hit his tee shot on the par-3 fourth hole, leaving it 40 yards short in a display of how much the pressure can influence even the most talented golfers in this environment.
Nonetheless, Stricker encouraged the former Longhorn throughout the match and won it with an all-world up and down on the 18th from a tough lie in the front left bunker. The victory was Spieth’s first in the Presidents Cup, and it came over the International duo of Ernie Els and Brendon De Jonge.
During Friday’s more difficult alternate shot format, the Stricker-Spieth duo delivered again with a 2 and 1 victory over South Africans Branden Grace and Richard Sterne.
The match actually carried over to Saturday morning because of intense rain Friday afternoon with Spieth and Stricker leading.
“Sleeping on a lead is a little easier than sleeping trying to come from behind,” Spieth said after he and Stricker closed the deal.
Although the promising duo lost the third match Saturday afternoon 2-up to Jason Day and Graham DeLaet, the overall magnitude of what Spieth is accomplishing at such a young age is impressing observers.
CBS Sports’ lead golf announcer, Jim Nantz, who covered Spieth’s first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old at the Byron Nelson, has been keeping an eye on the matches from Dallas, where he is calling Sunday’s Cowboys game.
“Jordan is reinforcing that he is going to be a huge star in the sport for many years to come,” Nantz said.
After early matches are completed Sunday morning, the competition will shift to the singles format, and Spieth will have a chance to test himself one-on-one.