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September 23, 2014

Jordan Spieth


SARAH GWYNN: Jordan, welcome, and thanks for joining us today. You played in the Junior Ryder Cup here at Gleneagles in 2010. Have you been giving the guys some tips on how to play this course?

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, not exactly. I remember the layout of each hole and I remember some of the shots I hit, but it's very different, different tee boxes with the rough up and different wind conditions. I'm playing from different locations. But very, very similar. I don't think any changes were made to the course since then. That's about it. I mean, these guys, if it were last year, it would be one thing, but drawing back four years ago is difficult. But we've had a good time so far. We played a sixsome yesterday and we played seven holes. That's always fun. We had a good group today. We went out there first and had a good time, played a little match. So we're getting to know the course and I'm getting to kind of re-know the course.

SARAH GWYNN: And your first impressions of being a Ryder Cup player, how does it feel?

JORDAN SPIETH: Feels incredible. I was saying this earlier, I really don't feel like a rookie, partly because last year's experience of playing in The Presidents Cup. That was at least international professional competition. And a lot of these guys are the same guys that were on that team. So having played practise rounds and gotten fitted for the Team USA clothes last year at The Presidents Cup, it was just all eye-opening, getting things ready. All the free stuff you get, just everything that comes with it off the course was such an eye-opening experience. Now, having done that, I feel like I've been more focused on my golf this week and tackling the course and tackling the matchups. That part's nice. I think that's going to help me as far as starting off. I know this is a different level. I understand that. I still don't know what to expect on that first tee. That's a pretty incredible setting that they have here, but it's a shot I'm looking forward to hitting.

Q. You said last week that you had got out all your team uniforms from Junior Ryder Cup again in your bag. How unusual is it for you to keep things like that? Do you tend to hold these things or does that show how special a moment that was for you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I don't have any of the clothes from then, but I had the golf bag, the stand bag. When I go back home, there's no point in using one of the big, heavy staff bags, so I use a stand bag and it happened to be the one from the Junior Ryder Cup. And I found one of the special Scotty Cameron putter head covers I had from then. I've been using that for a month or so. I used it through the Playoffs just getting ready. I thought it was a cool thing to do. It was cool that I still had it and hanging onto it. Looking back, I remember when I was here four years ago and I remember thinking, is there a chance that I could be here four years from now for The Ryder Cup? And kind of thinking, yeah, I'm supposed to be a senior in college, so I would have to leave school early and things go pretty well to be here. And what do you know. When I think about it, when I've thought about that, it's pretty awesome to be here having stayed in the same place, and I think the room that we had was the same team room that we have now in the hotel. Back then, they showed us videos of the Junior Ryder Cup and guys that have gone on to become professional golfers since, and I know the Junior Ryder Cup has not been going on for very long. But looking back on those videos that we watched and to know that I'm one of those guys now that's representing the United States of America, it's a really cool feeling.

Q. Did it seem like a million-to-one shot four years ago that you would be back here?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, probably. I believed that I would be here. I didn't know if I would be here in 2014. I didn't doubt that I would be on a Ryder Cup Team soon after that, but I didn't think it would be the next time that it was here. So, yeah, I would say at that time, I thought it would be a million to one.

Q. A lot of people think that you're the kind of player that The Ryder Cup just elevates their game; that they just get so jazzed up for it like Ian Poulter has become for Europe or Keegan was at Medinah. I wonder, are you finding yourself getting more excited for this than maybe an individual event?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, definitely. It's funny, because this event and the Masters are the two events that I think of that I'd like to win some day as my -- and equally. This one has no pay, but you're sitting here playing, representing all the American professional golfers. You're representing -- more importantly, you're representing your family, you're representing your country. You're chosen out of all those other incredible players that play the PGA TOUR and beyond to be part of these 12 guys that have an opportunity to win The Ryder Cup, something that we don't have a great recent history with. Yeah, I get really, really pumped up for it. I'm getting really pumped up for this. I hope that I'm one of those guys that elevates this game for this event. I think we're not able to tell yet, because I haven't been out there, but the way that I feel, I feel great and I feel calm, but I feel confident and I feel very jazzed to get going out here. And I feel like our team is really starting to gain momentum and peak together. And we've only been here a day and a half, but things are going extremely well. The initial pairings that Captain has set up for us I think are really, really solid pairings in and out, and so we'll see what kind of adjustments are made throughout The Ryder Cup. But I think we've got a solid setup to start.

Q. What is that pairing?
JORDAN SPIETH: What is what?

Q. What is those -- or what is that pairing of yours?
JORDAN SPIETH: Right now he has me with Kuch. So you know, I wasn't sure -- none of us were really sure until we got here, and just kind of told us, this is how we are going to set it out in the practise rounds. So I played with Kuch today and we'll see what he wants tomorrow. We had a great time. We played well. We played with each other the last couple days. It's very easy to -- it's very easy to be pleased with where I would be playing from if I was playing with Kuch. He hits a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. It's simple, boring golf, which is what you need out here.

Q. I was going to ask you about what we talked about at THE TOUR Championship, the Scotty Cameron head cover from the Junior Ryder Cup. Are you going to use it this week?
JORDAN SPIETH: Actually Jimmy Walker went and had a head cover made specifically for this Ryder Cup for he and Rickie and for me, and so I think I'm going to use the new one. I was using the Junior Ryder Cup one, and it would be pretty cool to use, but Jimmy -- that was a really nice gesture to go get those made, because I think us three are the only three that use Scotty Cameron putters right now. He went and had a really cool head cover made for this Ryder Cup, so that went on the putter today.

Q. Did you notice your name was spelled incorrectly on the practise range, and what did you think of that?
JORDAN SPIETH: I didn't. Of course Michael, my caddie, of course he noticed and let me know. But I saw it and I said, hey, there's no surprise there. They spelled it like it sounds, I guess. It happens all the time. It's got to be the Europeans just, you know, trying to get under your skin early (laughter).

Q. Of course you've had that Presidents Cup experience last year, but being the Junior member of this Ryder Cup Team, are you sort of nervous or are you comfortable in the presence of guys like Tom Watson and Ray Floyd and his sort of backroom staff? Do you find yourself comfortable or butterflies in your stomach?
JORDAN SPIETH: I feel very comfortable around our team, if that's what you're asking. As far as butterflies, yeah, every time I think about getting started, I can start to feel the adrenaline already. But within the team room, I've been paired in a PGA TOUR event with Tom Watson this year. I've spent a good amount of time around Tom. I only met Ray, what was it, two days ago. He walked with our group today and got to know him, and the highlights were playing from when I think he made the winning putt to win in '93 or -- I'm not sure. But they were showing his highlights. It was cool hearing some stories that he had. Obviously Strick was my partner last year on The Presidents Cup team, and Andy North was out on Tour a lot this year. Those guys I think we are all very comfortable around. I don't think there's any butterflies about being around some of the legends of the game. But when we think about teeing off, I know guys are already ready to get going, and it's Tuesday.

Q. Have you found a driver that you are comfortable with and how would you assess the state of your game in general right now?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I was caught at a really difficult time about two seconds after shooting the first round I shot on Tour and was just looking for something to say. I'm using the same driver that I've trusted for a while. I'm hitting it well. My game feels great. Made quite a few birdies out there with Kuch today. Yeah, no issues. Just I'm going to need to really have good control trajectory-wise throughout the bag, because it looks like it might get pretty windy on Friday. With how high the rough is, I'm going to really want to have all the shots, especially in my longer clubs, to keep the ball in the fairway.

Q. Did Raymond Floyd have anything memorable to say today to you?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, he was either telling stories about past Ryder Cup experiences or there was a couple different holes where he said, hey, why don't you play this shot, I kind of want to see what it does here, I think it's kind of sneaky. Whether it's a bunker shot or a putt, a bunker shot that runs away from you quicker than you think or a putt breaks a certain way or a green is pitched a certain way, he was out there telling us some of that. But specifically, we'll probably keep it to ourselves.

Q. The team room you've got this week, how is it different from the Junior Ryder Cup Team room, what kind of like beverages do you have in there?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's got a full bar. It's got a full bar. That's different from the Junior Ryder Cup. Ping-pong tables, we may have had those in Junior Ryder Cup. But there weren't pictures of guys on the team that have won many majors and many PGA TOUR events. You've got the physio boards for guys to work on you. That wasn't there for the Junior Ryder Cup. But yeah, to answer your question, the real difference is the way it's decorated and the open bar, I mean, which no one's taking part in anyways. But hopefully Sunday it empties quickly.

Q. Secondly, you mentioned a minute ago that you're playing for the American professionals, for your family, etc. Is there any part where you feel like you're playing for your Tour?
JORDAN SPIETH: I would say yes, but at the same time, I don't even know what the number is, but I would say all but three or four of the guys on the European squad play on our Tour or play the PGA TOUR. So not exactly anymore. That was probably more of the case many years ago. What I was saying for representing other American PGA pros, just because that's who we're fighting to earn this spot against. So we're representing all of America, including those professionals that we compete against week-in and week-out that are trying to work their way onto this team, as well. So with so many great talents, it feels special to be here over so many great players and so we have a job to do, and that's to play as the 12 best players in America.

Q. What qualities, both of the player's game and their personality, do you think make them a good or great match-play player?
JORDAN SPIETH: Someone who is in every hole I think is a great match-play player. Somebody who is very consistent tee-to-green is a really good partner to have, because it's a lot easier I think to gain momentum putting than it is anything else. You know, if you start missing a few stray drives, it's a lot more difficult than if you have a few putts that just miss, because then you start to see one go in, and the hole just gets bigger and bigger and bigger, especially in a tournament, in a team event. In my experience, any time you start seeing putts go in, you, your partner, seems like the entire team sees a bigger hole and it's just easier to fill it up from five feet and from 30 feet. So to answer your question, I think the best match-play player is somebody who is going to be very solid tee-to-green, put the ball in the fairway, put the ball on the green, not try and do too much. Like I said, with Kuch, he plays very, very boring golf, and that's a lot of fun to be around when you have an opportunity to make birdie on every single hole.

Q. Outside the style of game you talk about with Matt Kuchar, what do you see as far as the chemistry goes there with the two of you, and was that a pairing you thought about much, or did that kind of come out of left field?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not really. I thought -- with this team I thought maybe there was a couple pairings that we've had that these guys have had in the past that have success, but there could be eight interchangeable guys. So I wasn't sure when I was arriving. I had heard rumours of three different pairings. Captain Watson reached out to all of us to ask, what do we think, what are we thinking about, who do we like to be around, who do we like to play with. And so did Steve Stricker to me, and I think some of the other assistants talked to other guys. They had some of our input, but I think ultimately, they got together as four and picked these teams based on what they thought would be -- maybe one team they may like in fourball and one team they may like in foursomes better and just try it out in the beginning of the week. We'll see if there's any changes, but right now, the pairings that you probably were able to tell, if you saw anything today, are the pairings that look like we may start out with. So yeah, with Matt, we get along very well. Matt, he's great, super nice guy. He's funny, great sense of humor. So that's somebody who even with the pressure of The Ryder Cup, I feel like I can be in a light mood around, which may help us both.

SARAH GWYNN: Jordan, thanks very much.
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