Step aside Mufasa, there is a new ‘Lion King’ in town after Jordan Spieth became the new ruler of Quail Hollow Club.
In doing so, the 29-year-old became just the sixth player in Presidents Cup history to win five points in a single event, and the first American since Jim Furyk in 2011.
While Spieth teamed up with Justin Thomas for the first four rounds of team competitions, the duo defeated international pairs with Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott to help open a four-point lead en route to Sunday’s singles match-ups. .
No American partnership had won the tournament four times in a row since Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in 2009, a feat enhanced by Thomas and Spieth’s childhood friendship.
And if your teammate’s only complaint is that you left him next to nothing to putt, you probably had a pretty good round.
“I played two games and I hit 10 putts. I think that’s pretty absurd,” Thomas told reporters on Saturday.
“I rightly think I was picking up my coin more than I was hitting putts, so yeah, my partner is pretty good.”
After a royal putting game, it was only fitting that Spieth marked his arrival on the first tee Sunday with a Lion King tribute.
While collecting his son Sammy from his wife Annie, Spieth lifted the sporty toddler with earmuffs over his head in a near-perfect depiction of the opening scenes of the 1994 Disney classic, much to the delight of the Presidents Cup audience.
“That was super cool,” Spieth said. “He’s finally old enough to just look around and take it all in and be interested in everything.
“He loves the earmuffs, thankfully, because it’s been loud here.”
‘I want that monkey off me’
Despite his newfound status as the ‘Lion King’, Spieth took on Australian Cameron Davis with a self-proclaimed monkey on his back: unbelievably, Spieth had never won a singles in the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup.
After losing three consecutive Presidents Cup singles from 2013 to 2017, Spieth was not chosen for the 2019 event, in which Woods inspired a dramatic American backlash. Three years later, the absence still lingers.
“It sucked,” Spieth said ahead of this year’s cup. “I remember it was a very difficult place.
“I hated every second because I know how much fun they are and I know how useful these weeks are, these games, for how you’re going to play individually next year.”
With four consecutive birdies after the turn, Spieth decisively ended his drought against Davis as his 4 & 3 win secured the US team’s first singles point of the day.
“I was more nervous than I probably should have been today just because I want to get that monkey off my back,” he said.
“It feels really good. If you go out early, like I’ve done pretty much every team event on a Sunday, they look for red on the board and it feels good to finally provide that.”
Hours later, Xander Schauffele rolled home to seal the team’s 17.5 – 12.5 win, leading to cheering celebrations on the 18th hole.
Champagne was poured into the cup earlier, for the second time that day Spieth lifted a crowd favorite.
“When You May Do It” [compete] collectively, representing your country with some of the best players in the world… you just can’t put a price on it,” Spieth said.
“There really isn’t anything more fun.”