DALLAS - Jordan Spieth, the two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion from Dallas and the low amateur in the 2012 U.S Open, made his long awaited decision Friday to turn professional.
"I've been fully ready to go [pro] for a certain amount of time, and once I knew it, I set a course of action," Spieth said in an exclusive interview. "The decision was mine, certainly, and one I'm comfortable with."
Spieth said failing to gain any exempt status for the 2013 PGA Tour through qualifying school this fall was ultimately a minor factor in his decision, especially with the changes to the PGA Tour qualifying for next year and beyond.
"It would have been nice to get my card for next year, but I certainly factored in the changes in PGA Tour qualifying," he said. "I know I'm going to have to play my butt off."
Spieth can accept seven sponsor exemptions in 2013 and will attempt to Monday qualify for other events. He can also gain exempt status by winning an event next year.
He first considered turning pro as early as this spring but decided to wait. He led Texas to an NCAA golf title and then played in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club as an amateur. He also played in the U.S. Amateur in August but lost in the first round.
Spieth entered qualifying school as an amateur, failed to advance to the finals, and then returned to Texas to finish his fall semester, take his finals, and officially announce his next career move.
He hired Fort Worth-based agent Jay Danzi and Forefront Sports as his representative and has begun to talk with club companies and other sponsors. Danzi, who also represents J.J. Henry and other pros, said no formal contracts or schedule were ready to be released, but everything would be in place by early 2013.
Spieth said he hoped to make his professional debut during the West Coast swing this winter. One logical choice would be at Riviera, site of the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. He played in the Northern Trust as an amateur in February, and Texas also won the NCAA championship at Riviera.
Spieth said he was celebrating his decision with his college friends in Austin this weekend, heading to a favorite Mexican restaurant and hanging out in his college apartment until Sunday. On Monday, he already has a tee time with his longtime instructor Cameron McCormick.
"I think it's the right decision, and in my heart of hearts I think he will be very successful," McCormick said.