Don't compare Spieth to Tiger just yet

There’s no doubt that Jordan Spieth is an exceptional golfer with otherworldly talent.

The 22-year-old Texan showed yet again Sunday that he’s the force to be reckoned with on the PGA Tour, capturing the Dean & Deluca Invitational after a sizzling 6-under-par 30 on the back nine.

It was Spieth’s eighth win before age 23 and moved him past Tiger Woods’ mark of seven, second to only Horton Smith’s total of 14.

This feat immediately prompted the question of whether Spieth’s start to his PGA career is better than even Tiger’s. Though the 2015 Masters Champion has now passed Woods’ early win total, a closer look shows the 14-time major champion’s place in history is nowhere near threatened.

Spieth turned professional at the age of 19, halfway through his sophomore season at Texas, while Woods was 20 when he embarked on his PGA journey at the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1996.

In his 16th start as a professional, Spieth claimed his first PGA tour victory at the John Deere Classic, aided by an amazing bunker shot on the 18th hole.

By Woods’ 16th professional start, he had won five tournaments – including the 1997 Masters by 12 strokes in one of the most impressive performances in PGA Tour history.

Comparing the two players by age doesn’t make much sense since Spieth started a year earlier then Woods, so events played are a better basis for comparison.

Spieth’s win on Sunday marked the 87th professional start of his PGA Tour career. Here’s how the two players stack up through that point:

Player Events Wins Majors Earnings
Jordan Spieth 87 8 2 $24.3M
Tiger Woods 87 24 5 $19.6M

One could argue that the PGA Tour has never been more competitive than it is right now, with multiple golfers like Jason Day and Rory McIlroy holding legitimate claims as the world’s No. 1 player. That’s likely directly related to how popular Woods made the sport in the mid-to-late 1990s, with the game seeing a massive explosion in involvement.

Another staggering takeaway from that chart is the prize money differential. Woods made almost $5 million less than Spieth despite winning 16 more times in the same period. Purses have skyrocketed since the mid-’90s, which can again be at least partly attributed to the corporate eyes Woods brought to the sport.

It’s easy to be impressed by Spieth’s ridiculous talent, while the latest performances from arguably the game’s greatest player have displayed the furthest thing from his early dominance; the last Woods swings we’ve seen were three water balls from 102 yards during a press event at Congressional earlier in May.

Spieth has accomplished a great deal at such a young age, and the game of golf is in great hands with talents like him, McIlroy, Day, and Rickie Fowler leading the way. However, his latest victory is only further proof that nobody will ever take the golf world by storm at a young age like Woods did.

Copyright © 2016 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

For Entire Article