Jordan Spieth tied for second last week in the first of seven tournaments in which he will defend a title over the next year, with the next one coming up this week in the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club in New Providence, Bahamas.
Spieth, No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings, and Adam Scott tied for second, one stroke behind Matt Jones of Australia on Sunday, and both the runners-up have flown halfway across the world to play in the event that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.
A year ago, Spieth shot 63 in the final round to win in Australia and then played the weekend in 63-66 to capture the Hero World Challenge by 10 over Henrik Stenson of Sweden at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Isleworth, Fla.
Once the tournament starts, Spieth will be all in, but he’s already looking forward to his Christmas vacation.
“It was tough this year the way the dates fell,” said Spieth, who after playing in 27 events in the last year, will be off until the Hyundai Tournament of Champions next month on Maui.
“From the end of (this) week to heading out to Hawaii will be the longest break I will have had this year.”
Spieth’s two lopsided victories at the end of last year led to a season in which he claimed five titles on the PGA Tour–the Masters, the U.S. Open, the Tour Championship, the Valspar Championship and the John Deere Classic.
In addition to taking home the FedEx Cup and a $10-million bonus, he was selected the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year.
Spieth will be paired with Anirban of India in the first round of the Hero World Challenge on Thursday, while Scott will play alongside Justin Rose of England in the elite 18-man field.
Zach Johnson, who won the Open Championship at St. Andrews, will pair with Bill Haas, while Dustin Johnson will play with Matt Kuchar.
Other pairings include J.B. Homes and Patrick Reed; Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk; Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Jimmy Walker; Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, and Paul Casey and Brooks Koepka.
The players will be paired by scored in each of the ensuing three rounds.