Jordan Spieth and sister Ellie Spieth in the pool after the 2014 Valero Texas Open

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Sister With Special Needs Helps Jordan Spieth Remain Grounded

Her father was playing a members-only event at Congressional Country Club, but the Penn State freshman-to-be had to slip away to find her new favorite on the PGA Tour.

"Jordan Spieth is No. 1 now, especially since Adam Scott’s April wedding," she said. So when Spieth posed for a picture near the putting green before the Quicken Loans National last month, her friends probably saw it on Instagram within seconds.

Spieth, who turns 21 today, seemed unfazed by the attention. He’s dating his high school sweetheart, Annie Verret, but she’s not the only important female in his life. He draws inspiration from his sister, Ellie, a special needs teenager who is seven years younger.

When Spieth captured the John Deere Classic last year two weeks shy of his 20th birthday, he became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since 1931 and the fourth player under 20 to win on the tour since 1900. He was a captain’s pick for the U.S. Presidents Cup team, earning him a chance to play in his first World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational this week at Firestone Country Club.

Turning pro after two years at the University of Texas, Spieth became the first player since Tiger Woods to begin a season without tour status and finish it in the Tour Championship. He accomplished the feat about eight months younger than Woods. Spieth not only made it into the FedExCup finale at East Lake in Atlanta, but he also tied for second.

During his phenomenal rise, older peers have marveled at Spieth’s lack of pretension and wisdom beyond his years.

“He came up through the amateur ranks ahead of my son, so I’ve always been impressed with everything he’s done,” Davis Love III said last fall at the Presidents Cup. “He says the right thing, does the right thing, fits right in. [My wife] Robin said, ‘He just walked in the room like he belongs.’

“Every time I’ve been around him, great things happen. So I’m trying to hang around him as much as possible. I’m sitting by him at dinner.”