Comparing Jordan Spieth to Tiger, Jack, Arnie, Snead and more
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Comparing Jordan Spieth to Tiger, Jack, Arnie, Snead and more

For the first time in 82 years, a teenager has won on the PGA Tour. 

Jordan Spieth, at 19 years, 11 months and 18 days, won the 2013 John Deere Classic in a five-hole playoff over defending champion Zach Johnson and David Hearn. But does the age at which Spieth won portend much about his future career?

Let's take a look at the age at which the top 10 winners in PGA Tour history respectively took their first title.

  • Sam Snead (82) - 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro - 23 years old
  • Tiger Woods (78) - 1996 Las Vegas Invitational - 20 years old
  • Jack Nicklaus (73) - 1962 U.S. Open - 22 years old
  • Ben Hogan (64) - 1938 Hershey Four-ball - 26 years old
  • Arnold Palmer (62) - 1955 Canadian Open - 26 years old
  • Byron Nelson (52) - 1935 New Jersey State Open - 23 years old
  • Billy Casper (51) - 1956 Labatt Open - 25 years old
  • Walter Hagen (45) - 1914 U.S. Open - 22 years old
  • Phil Mickelson (41) - 1991 Northern Telecom Open - 20 years old
  • Cary Middlecoff (40) - 1945 North and South Open - 24 years old

The average age for the first win among these 10 legends? 23.1 years.

But what about the three teenagers that won a PGA Tour-recognized event at a younger age than Spieth? How many wins did they have?

Well, it's tough to say, again, because the PGA Tour didn't really exist and wins were recognized retroactively. By those standards, Harry Cooper had 31 victories, Ralph Guldahl had 16 and Johnny McDermott seven, but had two U.S. Opens among them. Their lives, however, were not so great.

McDermott found himself in a mental health institution at 23 years old, impacted heavily by a boating collision while returning home from the 1914 Open Championship.

Guldahl won two U.S. Opens and the 1939 Masters, but the overanalysis of his swing and game led him to ruin at age 29. His last two wins came in 1940.

Cooper never won a major, but won at the most prolific rate. His last win came at 35 years old, two years after a seven-win season.

How will it turn out for Spieth?

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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