Spieth the golfer and Spieth the horse: Two Masters of their craft

Profile Picture: Nicolle Neulist

April 7th, 2021

The 2021 Masters has arrived, and few golfers are attracting more buzz than Jordan Spieth.

Through the mid-2010s, Spieth was professional golf's young gun. About two weeks before he turned twenty, in July of 2013, he won his first professional tournament, and over the next two years his star flew even higher.

Spieth finished tied for second behind Bubba Watson in the 2014 Masters, three shots back. He played in his first Ryder Cup, and won two tournaments in a row late in the season. The first of those consecutive wins came in the Emirates Australian Open. Though he flew back to the United States for that second consecutive win, he would be well remembered in the Land Down Under.

2015 was the Year of Jordan Spieth

That set the stage for a dominant 2015. Spieth won the Masters wire-to-wire with a record-tying score of 18 under par. Two and a half months later he added his second career major, the U. S. Open. A second-place finish in the PGA Championship vaulted him to the No. 1 ranking in the world.

Spieth bursts onto the scene

The year after Jordan Spieth won his first Australian Open, just months after his Masters victory, a promising young sprinter named in his honor debuted in Australia. The New Zealand-bred son of Thorn Park was named, simply, Spieth. Trainer Bryce Heys had gotten the idea after Jordan Spieth won the Masters.

Spieth made his race debut Sept. 2, 2015, early in his three-year-old season. He finished second behind a horse who had already won. Spieth won his second race, and won four times in his seven starts at age three.

Jordan Spieth cruises along

Spieth, the golfer, continued to shine through 2016 and 2017. Despite a crushing collapse in the 2016 Masters, he still won three tournaments, including his second Emirates Australian Open. The next year he won his third major, taking the Open Championship by three strokes, winning two other tournaments, and leading the PGA in scoring average for the second time in his career.

Unlike his namesake, Spieth the horse wasn't an immediate sensation. He wasn't yet a stakes horse at three. But into the autumn of 2016, his four-year-old season, he got good. Very good.

Spieth discovers a new gear

In October he won a Listed race at Randwick, the City Tattersalls Lightning. The next month Spieth stepped right into the Group 1 Darley Classic at Flemington. He found an electric turn of foot with a furlong to go. Unfortunately he settled for second, missing by a short head to Malaguerra.

Three and a half months later, Spieth tried Group 1 company again, in the Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington. He found his late kick again, flashing home between horses. But Terravista, further outside, came home just a little harder. He handed Spieth another short-head defeat at the top level.

Hard times for Spieth & Spieth

From here, it got tougher for both Spieth the horse and Jordan Spieth the golfer.

Spieth missed the board in two more Group 1s through the spring of 2017. His best result in four starts at age five was a second-place finish behind Redzel in the Concorde (G3) at Randwick, and he retired to stand stud at Aquis Farm.

Jordan Spieth began to struggle, too. In 2018 he missed the cut at the U. S. Open. His best finish in any tournament was third, in the Masters. His difficulties continued through 2019 and 2020, as he went winless in both of those years as well.

Jordan Spieth is back with a vengeance

Jordan Spieth is returning to form in 2021. Last weekend, at the Valero Texas Open, he did what he hadn't since the Open Championship in 2017: he won a PGA tournament. That victory should carry him into this weekend's Masters with renewed confidence.

In Australia, the equine Spieth is primed for his return to the spotlight, too. His first foals turn two late this summer. If they have their sire's talent and turn of foot, they may find the Group 1 triumph their sire so narrowly missed.