Spieth ready for a new year, with new goals

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 3, 2014 at 2:42 am •  Published: January 3, 2014
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KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Jordan Spieth can appreciate better than most that life can move pretty fast.

One of his first duties when the 20-year-old Texan arrived at Kapalua for the Tournament of Champions was to attend something called "new member orientation." It's for players starting their first full season as a full-fledged PGA Tour member.

This particular new member already has won the John Deere Classic, had a chance to win the FedEx Cup and played in the Presidents Cup.

"It was more of a brief meeting than it normally is for new members," Spieth said. "But I'm excited that I'm not a rookie anymore."

He's more curious about what the new year will bring.

Spieth is among 30 winners who will tee it up Friday on the Plantation Course to begin a new year in golf. He already has made minor changes to his swing, a product of his new job. He has never played this much tournament golf in one year, and one of the challenges was keeping his swing consistent for weeks at a time. He worked his grip, the way he loaded his weight taking the club back so he could flatten his swing and hit his natural draw.

"I still don't own my swing yet," said Spieth, who at least now owns his own house. "The good news is I'm able to make it work if things aren't going well."

Every year brings change for so many players.

Some players have switched equipment. Some have new caddies. The biggest change for Spieth will be his goals.

At this time a year ago, he was hopeful of making his first start of 2014 in Hawaii — just not Maui. He only wanted to earn his PGA Tour card, most likely through the Web.com Tour, and then start off on Oahu at the Sony Open.

Through the course of the year, Spieth had to reset his goal a couple of times as he advanced from special temporary membership, to PGA Tour winner, to FedEx Cup contender to Presidents Cup players.

If he has to reset his goals for 2014, it could be some kind of year.

Spieth didn't get too specific with what he had in mind, but it was clear they centered around the majors and having more chances to win.

With a new year starting Friday, here are five things to watch — provided everyone is not watching the humpback whales breach off the shores of Kapalua:

WHALE WATCH: Kapalua offers some of the most scenic shots of the year, which is to be expected when the Plantation Course is built on the side of a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From the 12th tee, there are great views of surfing at Honolua Bay. With clouds (rain expected Friday), look for rainbows. And then there are the whales.

"My first year, I'm on the first tee on Sunday," Zach Johnson said. "I'm getting ready to hit and I hear this, 'Ohhhhhhh.' I haven't even hit it, what are they talking about? There were two whales breeching. And then they did it again. Now the crowd is going crazy. It took me five minutes to hit my tee shot."

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