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Jack Nicklaus talk about Jordan Spieth and looking back at winning his first US Open.
Michael Owens

ALDIE, Va. — When legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus watches Jordan Spieth compete, he sees it playing out one of two ways.

“Well, Jordan has been really, really good, or he really struggles,” Nicklaus said.

Sunday had hints of both, but ultimately fell into the former category, as Spieth made a stunning hole-out from a greenside bunker on the first playoff hole to win the Travelers Championship on Sunday.

Nicklaus wasn’t on hand for Spieth’s electrifying victory. Instead, he was hosting a charity golf tournament in Aldie, which raised more than $1.4 million for children’s pediatric health care programs. However, Nicklaus has followed Spieth’s quick ascent over the years.

“I first saw Jordan play, I suppose, when he was probably about 17 or 18 years old, and I thought he was very impressive then,” Nicklaus said.

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Spieth has been a regular at Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament, which has given the Golden Bear a chance to further analyze his game.

“He’s not the best ball striker on tour, but he knows how to play, and he knows how to not make a lot of dumb mistakes,” Nicklaus said. “He’s way beyond his years in development. And to top it all off, he’s a really nice kid.”

While “kid” may be an exaggeration, Spieth’s age is noteworthy. He doesn’t turn 24 until next month, and with the Travelers title, he became the second-youngest player to tally 10 PGA Tour wins. Tiger Woods was the youngest, at 23 years and 6 months.

The golfer who previously held second? Nicklaus himself.

“Four or five years from now, we’ll find out just how good he’s gonna get, because he’s gonna be a force to reckon…