Spieth a prototype, Woods going wrong way: Azinger

Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:18pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Jordan Spieth is "the prototype" of the modern-day golfer while Dustin Johnson, "the most immensely talented guy out there who hasn't won a major", needs to take his game to a higher mental level, according to Paul Azinger.

In an interview with Reuters, former United States Ryder Cup captain Azinger also weighed in on the ongoing woes of Tiger Woods, saying he "continues to go in the wrong direction" with his focus on the physical rather than the mental.

"My favorite part about Spieth is that he actually is who we think he is," Azinger said of the newly crowned world number one who produced one of the best major seasons ever by a player during his 2015 campaign.

"He has surrounded himself with good people, he still has his parents involved. He turned pro at 19 -- that's usually frowned upon but he's made the most of it and he's my favorite golfer to watch."

By no means the longest hitter out there, the remarkable Spieth won the first two majors of this year through clutch driving, superb wedge play and brilliant putting allied to a meticulous tournament strategy and unwavering mental strength.

In Azinger's view, the only player who perhaps had a stronger mind than the 22-year-old Spieth at such a young age was former world number one Woods, now aged 39.

"Tiger was probably mentally even stronger, or at least they are on an equal level," said Azinger, a 12-times winner on the PGA Tour who clinched his only major title in the 1993 PGA Championship at Inverness.

"Tiger had maybe greater physical skills. He could separate himself with his power. There was a gap between how far Tiger hit it and the next guy. Jordan Spieth hasn't had that ability to separate out like that.   Continued...

Aug 16, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Jordan Spieth gestures after his tee shot on the 3rd hole during the final round of the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports