Jordan Spieth turns pro, forgoing final two years at Texas

Jordan Spieth
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As a sophomore last season, Jordan Spieth helped the Texas Longhorns win the NCAA Championship and was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Friday, December 14, 2012 | 4:56 p.m.

University of Texas star Jordan Spieth is calling it quits on his glittering amateur career and going pro, he announced on Friday.

"The decision to turn pro was a difficult one, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of competing at the highest level and accomplishing the many goals I've set for myself on and off the course," Spieth said in a statement. "I owe everything I've achieved thus far to the support of my family, friends, teammates, and the University of Texas. While I'm proud of what my teammates and I have accomplished, I couldn't be more excited to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a professional golfer."

The big question for Speith is where he will play, seeing as Q-Schools are over and the 2013 rosters for all the major tours are pretty much set. He can receive up to seven sponsor exemptions into PGA Tour events, and will try to follow players like his fellow Longhorn Justin Leonard on the longshot path of playing his way onto the big tour without going to Q-School. And remember – starting next year, Q-School only awards slots on the Tour.

Still, if anyone has a chance to make an immediate impact, it is Spieth. Working in his favor is that he could receive exemptions into most or all of the four Texas events on the schedule, all of which are in the first half of the season. He also can try his luck in Monday qualifiers.

As a sophomore, Spieth helped the Longhorns win the NCAA Championship last summer and was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. He also was a first-team All American and a finalist for the 2012 Ben Hogan Award, presented annually to the nation's top amateur golfer.

He also reached No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings earlier this year before ending the season at No. 8. And he won the U.S. Junior Amateur in both 2009 and 2011, amking him one of only two players to own multiple titles in that event. The other, of course, is Tiger Woods.

Spieth has made eight starts on the PGA Tour so far in his young career, and made the cut in five of those events. His best finish was a tie for 16th at the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship in his hometown of Dallas, where he became the sixth-youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. He also was the low amateur in last summer's U.S. Open, where he tied for 21st.