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July 9, 2014

Jordan Spieth


MARK STEVENS:  Like to welcome Jordan Spieth.  Jordan, our defending champion, it's hard to believe it's been a year.  If you want to kind of talk about what's gone on, the changes from this win.  Cool things like this bobble head, I guess.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean, my golf world has changed completely since last year at this time.  It feels like it was a few years ago to be honest.  I've been anxious for another win because of how good this felt last year, and I had a lot of close calls and I feel like I'm knocking on the door again.  It feels awesome to be back at a place I'm very familiar with because I've played here twice before.  This is my third visit.
So, yeah, I'm very excited to get out there and get started.  I played the back nine yesterday.  Brought out all those good memories and kind of got that out of the way.  Time to refocus and look at it as another golf tournament that doesn't matter what's happened in the past, doesn't matter what's coming up next week or in the weeks in the future this year.  It's all about how do I birdie this hole that I'm going to be on?
So the rough's up.  Yesterday the wind was blowing.  If it's like that, it's not going to be 19‑under, but it's in immaculate shape, and I wouldn't expect anything less.  It is amazing with the weather and the flood and the rain and the flooding taking place, it's amazing how good of shape the course is in, so I'm excited.
MARK STEVENS:  Okay.  Talk also about driving in the first time and seeing pictures of yourself and all the different things that go with it?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, there are a couple of billboards and that's interesting.  I've seen that once or twice before in the DFW area, but the big pictures here, the bobble heads, the poster boards, it's cool.  It's cool.  I just feel like it's almost a second home to me.  It has been for what it did for my career.  So it's nice to be back home I would say.
I feel like the support since I've been back, whether it was at Zach's event the last couple days or since I've been over here for media days a few weeks ago, and yesterday and today, I've felt some incredible support.  I’m paired with Steve and Stewart, obviously, two great guys that are always crowd favorites, so hopefully we can ride off that momentum.
But, yeah, to answer your question, it is different seeing all that.  It's cool.  It is cool, but it's something I'm not going to pay too close attention to.
MARK STEVENS:  First impression of the bobble head?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I like it.  I like it.  First impression was it's coming out of the sand, which is pretty funny.  That's pretty neat, stepping out of the lip of the bunker, the same pose.  Yeah, it's really cool.

Q.  Have you ever wondered how different this whole last year might have been without your victory last year?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean, it all would have come down to that playoff at the Wyndham.  I wouldn't have gone overseas.  My schedule would have been different just to start out.  I probably would have been in the PGA Championship, maybe, maybe not.  And in the Wyndham playoff, it would have determined if I even got to play in the playoffs.  If that wasn't the case, if what happened hadn't, which probably would have, then I wouldn't have made the Presidents Cup team, the playoffs, moved my world ranking points way up to where I could get in certain events.  I wouldn't have been in the World Golf Championships possibly.  Wouldn't have been in the Tournament of Champions, all these events, Tiger's events, all these are limited fields and great places not only for me to have an opportunity to move up in the world, great purses with really little downside, but also to establish these relationships that have made it a lot more comfortable for me to compete against the best players in the world, the top 20, 30 players in the world.
Then, I would have had to play really, really well to get my world ranking up to even make The Masters.  But without the playoffs, I don't know that that would have been possible.  So it's just a chain reaction that I don't really think about, but I understand what it did for me.  So I don't know what it was that got me as fortunate as I got last year, but I could use more of that this year.

Q.  Talking about good memories and how it feels like another home for you, how much will that help come Thursday to have that comfort factor as you get ready to go out there and swing?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I'm sure I'll have a lot of adrenaline.  Even just thinking about this week more than other weeks has brought a little faster heartbeat to me, and I think that's a really cool thing.  It will be fun when I step on the tee, stepping on the No. 1 tee, and I'm sure we'll have the afternoon tomorrow, afternoon tee time.  We'll have some great crowds and a perfect day.  So, yeah, I'll get off to the start with 3‑wood probably on No. 1, and get out there to try to make some birdies.
Like I said, I'm really excited about my playing partners this week.  I feel like I got really lucky with that group and get out there and, again, I won't get caught up in the hype.  I won't be thinking about any of that or anything that's happened, what defending is like.  It hasn't felt any different, other than seeing the posters and bobble heads and whatever, the tickets.  It hasn't felt any different on the course, so I don't imagine that it will.

Q.  You mentioned your playing partners and playing in the Presidents Cup.  Can you talk about that at all?
JORDAN SPIETH:  After that experience, since then I've played with Steve a couple times or been paired with him a couple different times.  It's funny, after being his partner and rooting so hard for him, I still do.  He's got a 12‑footer, and when he makes it, I'm almost giving a fist pump off the green and I'm competing against him here.  So that's interesting.  But he's doing the same for me and what an incredible guy.  What a great guy.
It's always an honor to have him playing in the tournament because it is rare, so to be paired with him twice in the first two rounds this year, I feel like I've played with him more than anybody else has this year.  But, yeah, he makes a lot of putts.  He keeps the game really simple, and that's very easy to play along side him.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I played with him the first two rounds in Houston this year, and I was paired with him I want to say somewhere else.  It's not coming.
MARK STEVENS:  I can look it up for you.

Q.  What about past Presidents Cups, how has that helped you?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, just like I mentioned a second ago, the fact that he makes the game so simple.  He hits the fairways, he hits that little three‑yard draw with every club.  He hits the greens and makes a lot of putts.  He doesn't make many mistakes at all, and for somebody who is in the Presidents Cup with how much I had and how nervous I was and how much adrenaline was going through me, it was nice to know that there was a simple game that was helping me out whether it was alternate shot or best ball.
I knew he was going to make some birdies, and I knew that when he didn't make birdies, he was going to make pars.  So it was all about making birdies out there.  I didn't have to worry if a shot went astray.

Q.  Did you have any funny encounters at a restaurant or where people are wow, here's the champ.  He's here?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Not really.  I went to Duck City last night which is one of my favorite spots all year.  Yeah, when we were in there couple guys that were in there from John Deere were just noticing and talking to us.  But other than that it's cool.  It's cool being back.  It's cool to know that this community rallies around this golf tournament.  The fact that I can win it or the fact that I've won it means that I'm noticed in the community.  Like I said, it feels like a second home being back with the support I get from that.

Q.  You've talked about it a little bit already.  But (Indiscernible) the course a little tougher this year.  The rough is up to four inches; it was at three last year.  Just talk about how different it's playing and what it could mean for the rest of the week?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I played nine holes yesterday.  Played the back nine, and it was blowing with gusts up to 30 miles‑an‑hour, and it played really, really hard.  The rough is up.  They're not going to cut it.  I mean there is a chance of rain I think Friday night and Saturday.  But until then, there is nothing, so they can actually firm the greens up as well.  I mean, there is an opportunity that 10‑, 12‑under could win this if the wind picks up a little and that's significantly higher than it has been in I don't know how many years.
But it looks like we're going to get good weather the first two days.  We'll see what the weekend brings with the winds and maybe a couple storms passing through.  But, yeah, the rough is a very noticeable thing out there is rough off the fairway and around the greens.  It's nasty.

Q.  Do you look forward to establishing yourself further in your career?  (Indiscernible).
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, you tell me.  It's not me that's saying it.  I would never say any of that about myself.

Q.  It's been on ESPN.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean, I don't know.  I guess I have to be 26 or 27 before that happens, so it may be a little while.  I don't know, Jason Day's 25, 26, and even Rickie's not referred to as that young anymore like he was a few years ago.  So I don't know.  Maybe sooner rather than later, but also in Rory's case, he won a couple majors and they were still calling him young phenom, but they were calling him more phenom than up‑and‑coming star.  He had already reached that level, and that is the highest level in golf is to be a major champion.
So I think that answers your question if I can pull off and try to get my second win first, and whether that comes this week or whether that comes down the road or whether it comes in a major, that's fine with me.  That's my focus foremost.  But in order for that talk to stop I would imagine it takes a major championship.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I just don't read or watch anything.  No offense to anybody here, but I probably won't read or watch anything just because I go about my own game, and love talking with my peers out there.  Anything on the outside, whether it's positive or negative, I don't think it's good for me either way.  I do my best to stay away from comments on social media or read anything else, and just go about my business.

Q.  There is a group of young man, Patrick Rodgers, Kevin Wilson, looking to establish themselves and get their status.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Out of those guys, Patrick Rodgers I've known for a long, long time.  To be honest with you, no, I mean, I haven't spent a lot of time with them because I haven't seen them at all.  I know Patrick's on his fourth straight start, and I saw him at Congressional briefly, but we had opposite tee times, so I haven't really had an opportunity to sit down and just talk.  I mean, he's a friend of mine, but timing hasn't been right.
But, yeah, I mean, Jordan I got to meet at The Masters and get to know a little bit, and Cameron I played Junior Amateur golf with.  These guys are coming up and it's really cool to see.  They all have the talent to come out and play consistently and to win on TOUR, and you'll see that soon.  I mean, who knows.  It could be this week.  I mean, these guys are able to shoot 65, 64 on a course like this.  It's just a matter of adapting to the situation.  They definitely have the game.
For me, it took me quite a few starts to win, but not too many starts to be up towards the top of the leaderboard, and it won't take them many at all.

Q.  You talked earlier about it, but when do you start to pay attention to the Ryder Cup points?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean, I'm always looking at that.  I had a couple very important goals this year, and that was to compete and contend at a major and see what it felt like and make the Ryder Cup team.  And they kind of go hand in hand because of how the points are weighted.  So I know I'm fifth right now.  I know exactly where I stand.  I know that I'm in a really good position.  I know there is a big focus on two of my next four tournaments coming up, the two majors.  Then after that I think there are just two more playoff events before the team is set.  So if I can‑‑ obviously, winning this week would jump me up and really secure my spot on that team.  If not, then another couple solid tournaments coming up in the next three with the World Golf Championship in there as well would solidify my spot.
But right now with the craziness that's happened this year, with guys just jumping out and winning two, three, four times, I mean, anybody can just go win next week and they're automatically on the team.  So I've got to keep my head down and work my butt off and hopefully that's me.

Q.  You talked about the type of hometown feel.  Do you have family that's from this area?
JORDAN SPIETH:  My grandpa on my dad's side was born and raised in Iowa City, and my dad was actually born in Iowa City before they moved to Pennsylvania, so that's about as far as I get.  I have a lot of relatives in St. Louis, if you guys consider that close enough.  That's still midwest in my mind.  But no, not to the quad cities, specifically.
But just with the welcome wagon since I've gotten here, it's been incredible.  We had probably a couple hundred kids that were just following our nine holes on the practice round yesterday, a lot of them were wearing Under Armour gear and carrying these bobble heads.  So that was really, really cool.  It felt like the tournament in Dallas, the Byron Nelson, felt a lot like it.  Obviously, with the media hype around the week and the time management, it feels a lot like the Byron Nelson too.

Q.  Have you talked to other golfers about what's happening here and what makes this the place to come to?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, for the most part I would think the guys that aren't playing this week because they're either playing the Scottish or going over there early for the British or whatever.  I would imagine they've come here in the past, and just the scheduling they thought didn't work out.  But then every one of the young guys are up and coming stars that I've talked to.  They're all trying to get into this tournament.  There is only so much that Mr.Peterson and the committee can do because it's a PGA TOUR event.  You can't exactly just hand out a lot of spots.
But every one of the young guys coming out, guys on the Web.com, guys that are in college still or even just out there trying to make it, they're all trying to get into this event because they know how special it is and what it's done for players like me in the past.  It's happened a lot for young guys to really jump start and launch their career.
MARK STEVENS:  Thank you for your time, Jordan, best of luck.

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