June 1, 2023
Dublin, Ohio, USA
Q. Jordan, a 69 today. The conditions the way they were, with the course the way it was, how good did that feel?
JORDAN SPIETH: It felt like a great round. It was nice to beat a tough golf course. I did that on Sunday at the PGA, and then a place that historically has been, I think, the best place for me as a professional, at Colonial, to miss the cut there was just, was such a bummer.
So to come out and put good work in, feel really healthy, and get a lot of short game work in and get my touch -- feel like my touch is back. It started on the first hole today. I mean, I feel like the bunker play is one of the strengths of my game, and the last couple tournaments it's been really poor, actually poor enough to not allow me to have a chance to win golf tournaments.
I hit a pretty fantastic shot there and it just gave me a lot of confidence. Like, all right, my entry point's back, I feel good about sliding the club under the ball and stuff like that and scrambled really well. I didn't strike it particularly well at all, but I don't feel like that's far off. I feel like it was actually like kind of an off day in that and I got away with a lot by the way I scrambled.
Q. 68 leading a tournament, any tournament, major or not, is kind of unusual. Did that get your attention when you go out here and it did live up to your expectations?
JORDAN SPIETH: This is one of those tournaments you look at the app and you see where everyone's hitting shots and what they're making and where they're leaving it to certain pins, like you pay more attention to it because you just have to think your way through this course so much, and especially when it gets like this.
So U.S. Opens are led with 4-under to start the round, so they have the ability to do, I think, whatever they want with the greens and really the golf course here. So I don't expect it to get absurd like it could other places, but I don't think it's going to be any easier. So I would imagine single digits and maybe even low single digits.
So having said that, I don't think you approach it any differently. That's how I thought about today's round was just trying to shoot something under par.
Q. What made it so tough, particularly today?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, the course is just really firm and fast and the rough's up. The fairways are bouncing more than normal. We normally get rain here. So you can talk about the greens surfaces, but they were appropriately firm, I thought, and extremely pure. Probably the best surfaces I've ever putted on in an afternoon on a Thursday. You really just didn't have to fix hardly anything. I was shocked at how fantastic they were.
But it's really just -- all the fairways are like half the width that they normally are. I think that's what make it's such a challenge, because if you miss 'em, you really almost can't -- I mean, there's only a couple greens you could hold. So I thought playing 7 and 11 really well was important, having two eagle putts there. That's what you got to do, you got to try and play the par-5s under par and hold on on the rest.
Q. 16, 17, 18 were the hardest holes. What makes those so difficult, especially today?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, 16's just not a great hole in pretty much everyone's opinion that's playing today. So you're just trying to get a ball, get a putter in your hand for 2. It's just -- it's 203 yards adjusted into the wind with a firm green that runs away from you on both sides and has one shelf that you can land it into. So it was nice to kind of have a putter in my hand there.
17, it got lengthened, so you hit it to the same spot, you just have to hit driver now. It's a driver. 7-iron into that tiny green that, again, pitches away from you for the first half of it. So you just have to hit these like -- it requires a lot of imagination and then you got to pull 'em off. You got to hit these like floating iron shots in places.
And then 18's, it's always a beast. I don't think 18's much different. But 16 and 17 are as hard or harder than ever right now.
Q. How much did Rory help you basically on 18?
JORDAN SPIETH: Rory help me on 18?
Q. In terms of going first.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, so I think he hit a 9-iron trying to just open the face and explode it out. I was thinking about that and I went to a wedge. I was actually fortunate that I hit it at the bunker instead of up the center of the green because it wouldn't have gotten there. So I got a good break there for sure, having watched his. But I didn't hit the right club either. I needed to open a 9. His lie looked worse, but it came out hot, and mine looked a lot better and came out very normal.
Q. Kind of warmish?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's just the thing is you just can't land it on, but if you land it short, it comes back 50 yards. You don't want to be there, especially in two. I felt very fortunate to get in in 5 on 18 today.
Q. If last week was the worst of your bunker play, what did you find in the three days since then that you were able to do what you did today?
JORDAN SPIETH: I just got thrown off at the PGA. I had a lot of really weird, difficult bunker shots there. I think I just lost a little of my entry point. I had a lot of like plugged lies. I had some like 30 yard ones from up slopes.
And then Colonial is normally the best ones and I just -- I think I sent one too far once, and then I just bailed on a bunch. So I just needed to get in, just get in and work on it. It's the one part of the game I've worked the least on since I injured my wrist because it's the one thing that hurts the most, is flicking a bunker shot over like that. So we held off on that for a couple weeks, and then I put a lot of work in this week with it and it felt fine and it certainly yielded results today.
Q. Not going to bother you every day the rest of your life, but a month after it hurt, how is it doing?
JORDAN SPIETH: It's fine. I wouldn't, I don't notice it. It's random little things like pushing a door wrong or getting jammed. It's not a bother out on the golf course at all. I just tape it up to make sure that it doesn't get any worse.
Q. Wanted to ask you about your day yesterday with Steph. Looked like a pretty special day out there. What were your thoughts?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it was great. It was like the one pro-am that I wish I played 18 holes in. They went to the 9 and 9 and I was like, Oh, I'm having a lot of fun, let's go to the back. But I play a lot with Jake and I've played with Steph before, but I got out, they out struck me significantly. They striped it. I was all over the map to start yesterday morning. And I was like, Man, these guys are showing me up. They don't even play golf. So it was a blast. You see the influence that Steph has in between the ropes we're walking and no one's even looking at me. They're all looking back for where Steph is. I'm like, All right I'll like just walk right through to the next tee. Just the influence he has on every generation. He's just done things the right way. I'm such a massive fan of his that it's just cool to spend time talking with him.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports