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June 28, 2016

Jordan Spieth

Akron, Ohio

CHRIS REIMER: Welcome to the Bridgestone Invitational. You just came off the course. Talk about your game and also the course conditions.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, excited to be back here, third time. Any time you're in a World Golf Championship, it's a big event. Smaller field this year, and some of the guys are over in France, but still, it's such a challenging golf course, one that looks like it's going to firm up, which I liked last year. I thought it was pretty cool when the balls would bounce in the fairway, the fairways got even smaller.

State of the game? Pretty good. Trying to ramp things up for the remainder of the season. Excited about this week.

Q. What is your position on the Olympics right now, and what could change that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Right now I'm uncertain. Always been excited about the possible opportunity, but there's quite a few different factors that would turn somebody away from going. It's not just one, there's quite a few factors.

I personally have not received enough information that would allow me to make a confident decision either way at this point, so it'll be as we gather further information I'll be able to lean one way or the other, and when I feel confident on either side, I'll make the choice.

I think July 11th is when the teams are picked, I don't think you have to make your decision by then.

Q. When do you think you would do it?
JORDAN SPIETH: Obviously it would be great to know either way as soon as possible, but I've got some meetings set up to -- pretty soon in the coming days to gather more information. I don't know if I need to know then or -- whenever I know, I'll certainly announce, because it's right to announce to Team USA, whichever side it is.

Q. What did you think of Jason and Rory's decision, and does that affect you one way or the other?
JORDAN SPIETH: I fully respect it. Not necessarily surprised, either. With Jason, obviously, in kind of the middle of having kids, he's had two and says he's planning on having more, the Zika threat is more real, as well as other security issues down there.

Rory is engaged to be married, what, next year, and so possibility in the next couple years of him is higher than one who doesn't have plans to be married in that time.

Does it change or influence my decision at all? I'm not sure right now. I mean, Jason's is so fresh. I'm not sure if it will have an impact or not. It may.

But ultimately I'll think of the bigger picture, which is representing your country versus what's the field like. That won't matter to me. There's certainly going to be a tremendous amount of talent down there, and they'll be on the biggest stage that golf has ever been put on. That's enticing.

Q. A lot of guys are talking about Zika but you said there are multiple factors. What are other factors that are weighing in your decision that might make it one way or another?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, there's other bacteria stuff, whatever it's called, that just came out, too. And then just the security threats that Brazil and Rio have. I've heard some stories on both sides, and I'm going to get answers soon on how we plan to be secured down there. Transportation is a big security issue down there, how to get from one place to another with the different kind of violence that we don't see here.

And if I feel like there's any significant threat, then is it worth it? Probably not. I don't train my whole life -- not train my whole life to play in the Olympics like some of those athletes, but now that it has presented itself, it is something very significant I'd love to be a part of.

Do I think I'll be there in four years' time? I'm confident that yes, but also it would be cool to be part of the first one. I just don't have a lot of information yet, and I will by next week, I think, have a significant amount more.

Q. We missed you at the U.S. Open on the final day and just wondering your thoughts on the play there, your thoughts on Oakmont and maybe what held you back that week?
JORDAN SPIETH: I can't really remember much right now.

Q. Maybe rightfully so.
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, I drove the ball really solid that week, which I had said ahead of time was going to be my biggest key. I didn't hit great approach shots. I had a couple tough breaks. And I really struggle with soft, fast greens. That's just something I need to work on. My ability to drive the ball lower into those -- at a U.S. Open you don't ever expect to have to deal with that. And in the practice rounds, you're practicing these high, lofting, spinning shots from the fairway, and from the rough you're practicing leaving it off the green in a location to make par, and the game plan just completely changed, and I just didn't adjust -- I didn't hit solid enough wedges.

The easy holes just tore me apart, and they almost never do. I had a wedge in my hand in the fairway and played -- the amount of times I had a wedge in my hand from the fairway I played probably 6 or 7-over that week, and that's the ones the guys are playing -- I made a few birdies with them, too. A double bogey with a lob wedge and a bunch of bogeys with pitching wedges and sand wedges in my hand, trying to do a little too much with the ball instead of accepting a longer distance for birdie. I think I just tried to do a little too much too early.

Q. Was it disappointing in the way it played out that you had prepared for one course and got another?
JORDAN SPIETH: We see that here and there. I don't think that was the disappointing part. I should be able to adjust to that, especially driving the ball well. I should be able to then hit those wedges closer.

When I look back, that's what really hurt me was the wedge play, and it's something that I've been working on over the last few days and will continue this week because when you get the opportunity here, if they're firm fairways, the course is going to play hard. Some holes you're actually going to have to get up-and-down from 60 to 100 yards for par, and other holes the drives are going to bound up there to where you can take advantage.

So it's another golf course that is very challenging and one that, because of that, your wedges need to be dialed in even more.

The disappointing part, no, wasn't in -- I personally would have loved to see Oakmont, and everybody would have loved to see Oakmont play the way it did on Tuesday and Wednesday. I think it would have been so cool. But you know, it is what it is, and I just didn't adjust the right way.

Q. Is defending the John Deere Classic something you're considering?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not at the present moment, no. Do I know -- yeah, I have no idea what I'm going to do about the Olympics, so I haven't even thought about that.

Q. On Sunday you Tweeted out regarding Dustin's ruling. I was just curious, no disrespect at all, were you aware of the rule as it's written now, or were you going by the rule prior to January 1st?
JORDAN SPIETH: I was going off personal experience, and I've had that exact -- I've had both sides. I've grounded a putter before the rule where it was a penalty, even though I didn't touch the ball, but my putter rested behind it, and then after the rule change I've had it to where, yes, it was a gust of wind on fast greens that moved the ball off of where it was located and it wasn't a penalty, and then I've had quite a few occasions where something else caused the ball to move even though I had taken my practice strokes just like Dustin did but I had not put my putter behind the ball but it moved when I was taking practice strokes, and I've never seen it called a penalty.

I think there were a couple things. I think if you ask anybody who comes in here, and maybe you have, and maybe they've given you their answer, but as far as the guys that I've talked to, no one has ever had an incident like that called a penalty, and especially not when a rules official comes in, because that's what we do. We always bring a rules official in on that. And a lot of times, especially in my case and other guys that are in here, there's a camera on just about every single shot we hit, and if we're not comfortable -- I've asked on multiple occasions to try and find video evidence just to make sure we get it right.

Dustin, I promise you, still believes that he didn't cause the ball to move, and the rules official agreed, and that's that. We've had it that way.

Q. And so your comments were not based on, hey, he didn't ground the club, it was just simply he didn't cause the ball to move.
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, he grounded the putter to take practice strokes.

Q. I know he did, but that wasn't the reason the call was made. The call was made because supposedly taking the practice strokes and then touching the ground next to the ball --
JORDAN SPIETH: I understand that. I know they didn't think that there was video evidence, they saw it. I don't think he caused it to move. Did you step on Oakmont's greens on the weekend? I'm asking you, did you?

Q. Yeah, I did. I understand what you're talking about.
JORDAN SPIETH: With the amount of slope which pins were on, on certain holes anywhere from 3.2 to 4 degrees slope on certain occasions and you're putting often from more slope than that, a 3 mile-an-hour wind can move the ball off of the top -- the ball resting on the top of the grass on poa annua.

I believe there was enough time between when his putter was there to when the ball actually moved to be confident in saying he didn't cause it to move.

Q. Thank you.
JORDAN SPIETH: And I think that it was unfortunate the way it then played out, and they agree, and they said that. And I think that what Dustin did was extremely special given that circumstance. I would have thrown a fit. I promise you, I would have thrown a fit. I wouldn't have hit another shot. I would have sat there like this is not the way this goes. Let's figure this out right now. You can't have a potential penalty or not. You've got to know in that case.

Q. One more Olympic thing: Do you worry that the guys defecting will affect the future of golf in the Olympics?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm not sure. I think, and you guys would know better than I do, but it's already secure to be in in Tokyo, right? Then I don't think so because that would be a very different circumstance.

Q. Is the annual spring break thing -- is the spring break thing going to be an annual event?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm not sure. You know, it's tough to all have the same kind of week off where we can go and let loose at the same time. But it may. It may be. We certainly all plan on hanging out. We're good friends so we plan on hanging out somewhere at some point, maybe in the off-season, and maybe we'll have more friends. We'll see.

Q. Given how things went at Chambers Bay, I wondered if you had gotten a chance to speak to Dustin since he won the U.S. Open?
JORDAN SPIETH: I texted him. I texted him after he hit a 7-iron before he had made his putt I shot a text to him. I won't tell you what was in that text for a couple reasons, but, one, I shouldn't say it, and two, it's personal. But I thought it was extremely special given everything that's been hanging over him. That wasn't easy, and he stepped up. He pulled driver out on 17. And I'm in a text with quite a few other -- like we all started a group text trying to figure out what was -- seeing if we all were thinking the same thing about what was going down from 12 on, and I'm sitting there going, what in the world is he hitting driver for. I'm like, no, don't hit driver. This is the only chance you have. Because he can fly those bunkers with 3-wood earlier and still put it in a greenside bunker or chip it up. He didn't care. He had his lines, he knew what he was doing, he had that little power cut working and he just stepped up and delivered the shots he needed, so I was very, very excited for Dustin.

As I've mentioned many times, any time I've been asked about Dustin, I've said it's a matter of time, and he's arguably the most talented golfer in the world. I've been quoted, I think, saying that quite a few times. It was not a surprise, but it was -- personally knowing him and also knowing kind of the experiences to an extent that he's gone through, I thought it was very cool.

Q. In that group text after he hit the drive on 17, did anyone say, good shot?
JORDAN SPIETH: Oh, yeah, we were all like, oh, bunker, he's fine, stuff like that.

Q. If you look at your year, two wins this year, real good chance to win a major, if you didn't have last year to look back on, would that be a decent year, and does it feel like that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah. Yes, it would be a really good year. Does it feel like one? It feels like a good year. It doesn't feel like a great year yet. And I still believe that given the events and the magnitude of the events that are coming up, I still think we have what I would consider half the season left. The number of tournaments wouldn't tell you that, but a lot of very big events left in this season to create a great year out of it. I think it's a good year still.

Q. I just wonder how much you -- I don't think pressing is the right word, but how your internal thinking is different, like it would be for anybody, coming off something like that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, what's interesting is every year from when I was about 12 years old, I had a more significant accomplishment than the year before. I felt like I was a better player than the year before, and this is the first year where I don't have, to this point, an amount of significant accomplishments that I can say, hey, that was a stronger year than last year. Every single year before that I can say that.

Even 2014 I can say it over 2013 given full season on TOUR, made the Ryder Cup team, it was a better year, and then by the end of that year, we had more wins, two wins. They weren't PGA TOUR wins, they were Australian and Tiger's event, which were very significant wins.

Each year, whether it's amount or an award or whatever it was, I felt like we've -- by the time the year was over, it was better than the one before, and this year it hasn't felt that way, because it hasn't been, in all honesty. It's one hole away from being the exact same, in my opinion. We had two majors versus one. But one hole from still having a few wins in a major, which I would say wouldn't really compare -- I wouldn't call that anything below exceptional.

Q. You're kind of hosed, aren't you? You've got to win the next two majors to have a chance.
JORDAN SPIETH: And the FedEx. So it can be done. I'm not hosed. If I don't win the Open, I'll be hosed.

Q. Speaking of the British, last year you kind of got to St. Andrews very late, didn't have a lot of time. What are you doing this year to try to prepare for Troon, and what do you know about the course?
JORDAN SPIETH: Getting there earlier. I talked to Jim Furyk a little bit about it, had some time with him yesterday. He just told me here and there, you play -- he said, it's not very long, and he said, you play the front nine and everyone shoots 3- or 4-under because it's downwind right to left, and then you flip around and you kind of grind in, try and shoot even par. Normally guys drop a couple shots and you shoot 2-under, go on to the next day kind of thing. Whoever plays one stroke better front and back than the other are the ones who are competing. So I didn't know either one of those. I said, is it like St. Andrews then last year because St. Andrews had that same wind every single day. Guys were tearing up the front nine, you flipped around and then you had to play some really difficult shots to finish. And he said, yeah, it was similar to that.

I know there's some more blind tee shots, I think, quite a few. I don't know much about it, but I'll get in earlier, yeah. I plan on getting in to be there the whole weekend before.

Q. Will you go to the Aussie Open, will you still compete at the World Cup, as well?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm not sure. I'm not sure yet.

Q. What's the deciding factor on that?
JORDAN SPIETH: What's the deciding factor? Just by that time kind of how I'm feeling with so many events left this year, if I want an extra break in there at Thanksgiving to come home before going to Tiger's event or not, or to play three weeks in a row. I'm unsure how I'll be feeling at that time. I also don't know what my schedule is going to be right after the Ryder Cup, if I'll play before the Aussie Open. There's a chance I'd play one of the Fall Series events, at least one. I don't know which one, but may want to do that. It'll be how I feel and scheduling. I'm not sure when the deadline is, though.

I'll probably have to make a decision somewhat soon on the World Cup. But as of now, I don't know. I'm a little more focused on the Olympics.

Q. On Tokyo and '20, I think the issue is the vote is next year on whether to keep it beyond Tokyo.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, okay, that's what it was. So will it impact? Yeah, I think it will. No matter what I do, it's already -- there's already been enough players that I think it'll definitely have an impact. Pending some crazy, great finish or whatever, I think that it -- I think there's a significantly lower likelihood now of it staying in the Olympics than there was six months ago.

Q. There's like five guys in the NBA going. Why is golf taking such a beating on this?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think because people understand that NBA season, they can say, listen, we're beat up, my knee is potentially hurt, and it very well -- I'm not calling anybody a liar in the NBA. I'm saying their season is long, it's challenging. Those guys on the Warriors and the Cavs and the Thunder, I mean, went through just a beating this year on each other. Their season is over. It's their chance in an off-season versus getting back to practicing again with a new team to go through the process.

For us, it's part of our season. I think people consider it almost part of the season more. I'm not sure. I think -- just assume it would be easier in the season than it is for guys who just spent that whole time -- same with actual football, with soccer players. They've all just had their -- whether it's Premier league and then played for their national team in Copa America or Euros. I think some of those guys are dropping out, as well. I don't know what impact it's having. I don't know what the public's impact is on the golfers dropping out versus other athletes, given I'm around the golf courses and tournaments, and it seems significant to golfers, but I don't know what it seems like to the average sports fan.

Q. Would you like to see them wait until after 2020 when they have more time?

Q. When there are no unusual circumstances?
JORDAN SPIETH: 100 percent. I think that would be -- well, I don't know how it all works with what sports come in, what sports don't. I don't know how that all works. But personally, yeah, I think it would be better for golf if they waited. But they have their timing for that, so I don't think that makes a difference.

Q. Do you feel -- you carry the game in many ways as one of or the most popular player. Do you feel an added burden because so many good players and top players have dropped out to not save the Olympics but help the Olympics?
JORDAN SPIETH: Let's say golf in the Olympics. Let's not put me on save the Olympics. The Olympics are going to be fine. (Laughter.) Which I know you meant.

Do I feel an added burden? Potentially. I think all four of the Americans do. All four of the Americans that are in right now do. I feel like one of four with maybe a slightly higher burden now that the guys have dropped out from some of the -- South Africans, the Aussies, and then quite a few others, Irish. And then you have even Camilo, I mean, that's big, South American. Yeah, I think I'm one of four guys who will feel a little bit to it, but again, this decision is much bigger than that. This is personal safety type and future planning type decision, which is going to outweigh any kind of pressure that we would feel.

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