EDISON, New Jersey (Reuters) - By the tender age of 22, Jordan Spieth has already accomplished some lifelong goals — namely winning the Masters and achieving the world number one ranking in golf.
The next challenge facing the precocious American is parlaying his top position in the FedExCup standings into victory in the four-event playoff series that culminates with the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Spieth said that goal ranks lower than accumulating golf’s major titles, such as the Masters and U.S. Open he won this year, but the Texan does not undervalue the season-ending playoffs and the $10 million bonus that goes to the champion.
“I put winning the FedExCup below a major championship,” Spieth told reporters on Tuesday before going out for his first look at Plainfield Country Club, where the opening playoffs event, The Barclays, begins on Thursday.
“(It’s) something that would put some food on the table for sure,” Spieth said in his dead-pan style, drawing laughter from his audience. “It’s something I’d love to win some day. The names on that trophy are no fluke.”
Tiger Woods, who did not qualify among the top 125 on the points list for The Barclays, has won the FedExCup twice including the inaugural 2007 competition.
Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Henrik Stenson have also triumphed in the playoffs won last year by Billy Horschel. Brandt Snedeker (2012) and Bill Haas (2011) are the other champions.
Another notable absentee is world number two Rory McIlroy.
The Northern Irishman, who made a quick return from an ankle injury to play in this month’s PGA Championship, is skipping The Barclays before planning to join the series next week in Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Second on the FedExCup points list is PGA Championship winner Jason Day of Australia, followed by double Masters champion Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker and England’s Justin Rose.
But if Spieth is zeroing in on it, rivals should beware. He has been uncanny with his ability to hit his targets in golf.
Six years ago, a teenaged Spieth won the U.S. Junior Amateur at New Jersey’s Trump National in Bedminster, less than half an hour from Plainfield.
“I was asked afterward, and I had two goals: I wanted to win the Masters at one point, and I wanted to be the best player in the world,” Spieth told reporters at a media event on Monday. “Those were my two lifelong goals.”
“It’s all happened a lot sooner than I maybe pictured it,” he admitted on Tuesday.
Spieth went on to win the Junior Amateur again in 2011, becoming the only the second player to win the title multiple times. Woods won it three times, from 1991 to 1993.
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes