NASSAU, Bahamas – It’s a name so familiar in the major championship lexicon that Jordan Spieth turned it into a verb.
Spieth, like many in this week’s field, is eager for the return of tournament host Tiger Woods after a 15-month hiatus. But as one of the youngest players in the field, Spieth’s perspective on the 14-time major champ is a bit different.
He was only 3 years old when Woods won the 1997 Masters, and he was just 16 when Woods was toppled by an unsung Korean at the 2009 PGA Championship. According to Spieth, that upset win is one that many younger PGA Tour pros hope to emulate should Woods return to form.
“I think it was a dream for all of us young guys to one day grow up and battle Tiger on a Sunday when he was playing his best, and see if you can Y.E. Yang it, see if you can pull off a shot where you can take him down,” Spieth said. “That’s a dream for all of us, too.”
Yang’s memorable moment came when he birdied the 72nd hole at Hazeltine to edge Woods, the lone instance anyone pried a 54-hole lead out of Woods’ hands at a major.
Spieth’s Rookie of the Year campaign of 2013 coincided with Woods’ most recent Player of the Year award, and while the two briefly were playing well together Spieth hopes they can share more time in the spotlight moving forward.
“He won five times, including The Players and a lot of other big tournaments and won by a large margin,” Spieth said. “Those weeks he’s at his best, those five weeks (in 2013) I didn’t play with him in any of those, but I certainly hope that comes back and it will take a little bit of time, I assume.”