BRASELTON, Ga. – Jordan Spieth, 16, of Dallas, and Victoria Tanco, 15, of Bradenton, Fla., were named the Rolex Junior Players of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association Wednesday. By earning Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors for the second straight year, Tanco has become the fourth girl in the AJGA’s 32-year history to win the award in back-to-back years.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, the Rolex Junior Player of the Year award recognizes one boy and one girl who had the most outstanding year in junior golf events at the national level. Past recipients have gone on to become some of the most esteemed players on the PGA and LPGA Tours, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan, Scott Verplank, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Both ended the season ranked No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings, helping them earn this distinction and secure spots on their respective Rolex Junior All-America First Teams.
A two-time first-team selection, Spieth ascended to the No. 1 spot in the Polo Golf Rankings after winning the U.S. Junior Amateur in July. His 2009 season also included runner-up finishes at the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods and the Junior PGA Championship. In all, Spieth posted top-10 finishes at each of the eight national tournaments in which he competed.
“It was my No. 1 goal at the beginning of the year and I’m excited to have accomplished my goal,” Spieth said. “I am looking forward to the next couple seasons because the AJGA has been such a huge influence on my life. I’ll be trying to do the same thing again next year, but knowing the competition, it’s going to be really difficult.”
Tanco earned her second Rolex Junior Player of the Year crown behind the strength of three victories and five other top-10 finishes in national tournaments. Wins at the Rolex Tournament of Champions and Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook highlighted a slate that also included a runner-up finish at The PING Invitational. Tanco joins Beth Bauer (1997-98), Kellee Booth (1992-93), and Vicki Goetze (1988-90) as the only girls that have won consecutive Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors.
“It is a great honor to be the Rolex Junior Player of the Year again,” Tanco said. “There are so many good players that I didn’t expect this and it is a great accomplishment.”
Their accomplishments during the past season will be heralded Nov. 22 during the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The awards ceremony, dubbed “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf,” will also trumpet the achievements of the rest of golf’s next generation by means of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams, HP Scholastic Junior All-America Teams and Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award.
This Rolex Junior Player of the Year Award would not be possible without the support of Rolex, the AJGA’s Premier Partner and supporter of the Association since 1983.
Along with the sponsorship of the Rolex Junior Players of the Year, Rolex Junior All-America Teams and Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, the distinguished timepiece manufacturer also continues to support two of the AJGA’s most competitive major championships: Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
Rolex is also the Founding Corporate Partner of the Achieving Competitive Excellence Grant. The ACE Grant is designed to give top-flight junior golfers the ability to play a national junior golf schedule regardless of their financial resources. In 2008, with the help of Rolex and various individual donors, 78 junior golfers were able to compete in events they otherwise could not afford.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 foreign countries.
For more information, please contact the AJGA Communications Department at (770) 868-4200.