If he were a baseball player who’d just done something phenomenal, there would have been a mad rush to Jordan Spieth rookie cards on Sunday afternoon. Spieth, however, plays a sport that is still without a traditional trading card deal. The hottest young golfer to come around since Tiger Woods has no mainstream trading cards at all.
You’d think it would drive the PGA Tour’s marketing and licensing crews absolutely batty.
Spieth joined an elite list with his seat-of-the-pants ride through the back nine at Royal Birkdale. He now owns championships in three of the four major tournaments, joining Jack Nicklaus as the only players to have won that many prior to their 24th birthdays. Tiger didn’t win his third major until midway through his 24th year. The Texan is also the first player in golf history to own ten PGA Tour wins, including three majors before age 24.
Simply put, he’s now entered elite company and at a young age, is one of the most marketable athletes on the planet, regardless of sport. However, just as we wrote back in 2015 when he first exploded on the scene, Spieth is in no man’s land when it comes to trading cards. He also has no exclusive autograph deal.
Jordan Spieth Rookie Cards
Upper Deck has produced a few different golf products since the start of the millennium but their last was Exquisite in 2014 and Spieth wasn’t included. So, if you’re a stickler for the standard “official rookie card” designation, Spieth doesn’t have one yet.
Similarly to Woods, Spieth’s first trading card as a pro came in an issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids in June 2015 and is often referred to as his rookie card. Spieth appears on a perforated sheet inside the magazine, creating the awkward dance of collectors trying to carefully remove it so they can submit it for grading. Distributed widely enough to not only be relatively available but also relatively affordable, interest picked up following his win at Birkdale. A BGS 9.5 example sold for $949.99, while PSA 9 examples sold for around $160 and 8.5s were had for around $75. Lesser or ungraded examples remained under $50. You can usually find a few dozen on eBay at any one time.
Later that year, they produced a second card. This one carries an “All Star” designation on the front and while somewhat scarce, can be found for just a few bucks.
Leaf Trading Cards issued an autograph only card of Spieth and despite the lack of a picture, they’re usually strong sellers.
In the summer of ’15, Beckett put Spieth and Kris Bryant on one of its “cover cards” that were available at the National Sports Collectors Convention. Whether they’re actually considered trading cards is a matter of personal opinion, but the picture is nice and they’re inexpensive.
Topps First Pitch Spieth Card
In 2016, Topps used Spieth on its First Pitch insert series inside its flagship baseball product. Showing him wearing a Red Sox jersey on the night of September 1, 2015, the card is a fairly strong seller. While most will set you back only a few bucks, a BGS 9.5 Orange Refractor numbered to 25 sold for $600 on Sunday. There’s also a Topps Chrome version. Neither standard versions are expensive, but they’re not treated as common inserts either.
You may think it’s hard to call a baseball card of a golfer anything remotely close to a rookie card, but it’s illustrative of how collectors are gravitating toward anything produced by a major manufacturer…or really, anything Spieth-related at all.
2016 Titleist PGA Stars
One of the more interesting–and potentially valuable–early Spieth cards was another one geared toward young people. In 2016, four-card packs featuring current male and female tour players who endorsed Titleist were handed out during at least one junior tournament site. Spieth was included in the set.
An unopened pack with his card on the back sold for $80 earlier this summer while a complete set of 12 cards sold for $200 via best offer. No others have been offered for sale since. They’re rare and thanks to the inclusion of stats on the back probably match the age-old definition of trading card more than any of his other cardboard–a very good combination for the long-term.