Jordan Spieth wasn't a household name this time last year. But now, the 20-year old is one of the most recognizable names in golf.
His meteoric rise has been non-stop since his electrifying win as a 19-year old at the John Deere Classic last year, which made him the youngest player to win a PGA Tour event since 1931.
Spieth will head into this week's U.S. Open at Pinehurst with an abundance of confidence following near misses at the two biggest tournaments staged so far this season - The Masters and The PLAYERS - both of which he held the 54-lead before faltering during the final round.
But settling for top five finishes in tournaments - especially majors - doesn't satisfy him anymore. He wants to win and feels like his previous close-calls on the biggest stages have prepared him to do just that.
"The goal isn't just to feel the feelings and try to get the comfort level, now it's to really try and put into place what Augusta as well as The Players have taught me, just certain things on the course," Spieth said during his news conference from Pinehurst on Monday.
"Out here it's going to be even more difficult to stay patient, which has been the biggest thing that's led me to be successful in those two events."
A win by Spieth at Pinehurst would make him the youngest player to win a U.S. Open. Gene Sarazen was 21 when he won in 1922.
"I believe that I can win this golf tournament. I feel comfortable on this golf course," Spieth said. "I think it fits my game. And when I step on the first tee, that's what I'm trying to do. And if I get into contention, I'm definitely, by this point, going to draw off any experience I've had, which now I do have a little experience. So that's only going to help me. And I feel like I will be able to close this one out, if I get an opportunity."
This will be Spieth's third start in the U.S. Open. He received a last-minute invitation in 2012 to compete at Olympic and finished as the low amateur. He missed the cut last year at Merion.
He admitted to being a little awestruck during his practice round at Olympic.
"I didn't really know what I was getting into, but I scheduled behind Rory, Adam Scott, I think it was Ian Poulter and Justin Rose," Spieth said. "And there must have been 30,000 people in that practice round group. And I'd played in front of some good crowds, but not on a consistent basis, and that was something unlike - I just wasn't expecting it on a practice round. It was just an incredible atmosphere."
Two years later, Spieth now illicits that kind of gallery when he plays. He's not as easily fazed and relishes the moment on the biggest of stages.
"I don't really notice the crowds or the people anymore, just in a couple of years of just playing in front of it here and there," Spieth said. "So as far as the stage, I feel very, very comfortable. I don't feel tension or nerves. I'm very excited and pumped to get going, but it's not nerves going into it."