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December 3, 2014

Jordan Spieth


JOHN BUSH:  We'd like to welcome Jordan Speith into the interview room fresh off his win, last week's Australia Open.  Making his second start here at the Hero World Challenge.  Finished T16 last year.
Jordan, first of all, take us back to last week's tournament and how much that meant to your career.
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah, last week was really, really special.  Had a few goals at the beginning of the year, and one of them was to try and win twice this year.  That was kind of the one I was keeping to myself most of the year.
Obviously wanted to contend in a major and make the Ryder Cup team, but with no victories it was still pretty tough with how many chances I was given this year, especially on Sundays.
It was nice to go out there on a difficult course in difficult conditions and play one of the best rounds I've ever played.  A lot of hard work went into it the week before in Japan.  Was a close call there.  Had a chance down the stretch.
I had my instructor early in the week to knock out a couple of the kinks from when I felt the pressure in Japan, and it certainly helped a lot once it mattered this past week on Saturday and Sundays.
So it was really nice to get that victory, and one that I really tried to soak in the feeling the last few holes remembering what it was like it walk down comfortably.
It had been a little while since I had had a comfortable win.  The John Deere everything happened so fast.  It was a really good field last week, so I'm taking a lot of confidence going forward out of that.
JOHN BUSH:  Great.  Questions.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  I did it a couple times in college.  Once here at Isleworth.  Had a big lead Sunday down the stretch and played well and was able to soak that in.  That's probably the most recent.
The U.S. junior, a couple junior events here and there.  I was trying to think about it.  I thought about it on the plane.  You know, where were times when I played my best golf when I was in the lead.  Certainly that was the best I ever played in the lead.
So I just had an overall feeling of knowing I was going to win a professional tournament and played my best on those last couple holes.  I've wanted to soak in that feeling so that I could then hopefully duplicate it going forward instead of those grinding and grinding and falling just short.
It's very rarely that simple on the last few holes, but at least I can take what I did in order to get in that position the first 12, 13 holes or so and take that feeling forward.

Q.  Jordan, I gather you haven't been home yet.  What have you done with the trophy?
JORDAN SPEITH:  I flew Sydney to Dallas and took it home.  I stayed at home for a night and then flew here from Dallas yesterday morning.

Q.  Where is it?
JORDAN SPEITH:  It's at my parents' house.  It's with the John Deere one.  I'm fixin' to move into a house when I get home and I'll have room to put those couple trophies with a couple more.

Q.  Have you looked at the names on it yeah?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah, yeah.  Jack won it seven times; Gary Player six; along with Greg Norman's name on it.  Just Hall of Famer after Hall of Famer and future Hall of Famers on it, Rory obviously, and Adam won it a few years back.
So it's a tremendous‑‑ the Stonehaven Cup is a tremendous trophy to have your name on.  I knew that going into the week.  That wasn't something that I'm saying just because of the final talley.
That was a tournament is that I've been excited for since we committed back in July or August.  It was one I was targeting and looking forward to, so it was a great week.

Q.  Was there something you learned from earlier in the year that helped for last week?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah, I think each time.  Each time I just lacked a little bit of patience.  I just want to jump out too quickly out of the gate, and I didn't think of that‑‑ I mean, Sunday final round when you're tied for the lead is the marathon still.  I always thought of it as a sprint.  Each time I learned and learned.
I think the best experience I received the entire year in order to win the Australian Open was from the Ryder Cup, because it was most recent and most pressure, and it was getting some emotion back into my golf game, which I hadn't had since maybe the Deere was the last time I was really playing really well.
I played decent towards the end of the year, but not great.  Never really got enough‑‑ never got close enough to have enough fire.  The Ryder Cup brought that back.  Then had it in Japan, and last week was able to really stay calm, stay smooth, keep the basics where I needed it, which is what I learned from earlier in the year.  Whether my posture was a little off or I just mishit it because I was looking up a little too early.  Especially with my putter.  Held that together and got some fire back as well.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  Birdied 3 and then 5, 6, 7, and then a couple different times on the back nine.  Like 14, 15, 17, 18.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah, the first couple holes there was noise being made.  Greg Chalmers birdies the 1st to take the outright lead, and then Adam Scott makes a birdie on the next to get ‑‑ looks like Adam is gonna start coming back.
The first two holes were big on Sunday because I didn't care.  I didn't care if either one of them did it.  That's different from what would've happened earlier in the year.
Because my win at the Deere came from six back so quickly at the end.  All of a sudden it's match play on two other guys.
So this is one where you can feel the roars, you can feel the emotion.  Guys wanting their own ‑‑ I mean, they were great to me, but they want Adam to win.  He was the favorite there.  I felt like we really kept our compusure the first few holes.
And once a couple putts started to go in, we rode with it.

Q.  Jordan, you mentioned your goals from the beginning of the year.  Is it safe to say if you win this week you'll check off all the boxes?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah, yeah.  And I think if I don't, it's still an improvement on 2013.  That's the main goal, is to improve each and every year a little bit, get a little better every year.
Yeah, if this week were to go my way, which percentage chances say it is the best percentage chance I've had the whole year.  Last year I went ahead and got 16th, which is pretty good, top 20, but I start at 18th the final round, so I actually improved the final round.
Yeah, to be honest, that would check every goal for the year.

Q.  Do you have any goals for 2015 yesterday?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Not quite.  I've got a good break after this week, a good long break where I'll spend a couple week probably up until Christmas relaxing and not seeing my friends and family and not worrying about too much or next year and just enjoy kind of celebrating the year.
Once we start getting into preparing for my first event of '15, that's when I will ‑‑ last year I went to my instructor's house, Cameron's house, and I had dinner with he and his family.  He and I went up and sat down for hour and a half or so and thought about what the right goals would be.
You know, whether we do that same thing or we bring more guys from our team or whatever, because everything is a team effort, and it was a team win last week and everyone works together, so hopefully we can get together and maybe up the goals a little bit.
You know, see what we can do next year.

Q.  You've played a bit now in Europe and Japan and Australia.  Can you see yourself becoming more of a world player and also the benefits of being a world player?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah, I enjoy it.  I enjoy traveling the world.  I didn't go over there necessarily for specific tournaments.  More I wanted to experience golf and see golf fans and what it means and how it's growing globally.
Jay has done a great job of really pitching that to me from day one.  I've really enjoyed traveling and playing, and I look forward to doing it a lot more in the future.  There are still a few places I want to go to that I haven't been to play golf.  It's really cool.
I mean, Australia, the atmosphere, the way they love their golf there is incredible.  Japan was the same way.  It's growing there.  That was cool.  It was interesting.  Only a couple Americans and almost everyone was Japanese.  So that was a different experience.
Versus last week I did see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of guys that play the PGA TOUR.  So Japan was the first real experience that I almost felt out of my comfort zone when I got there compared to any other professional event I played.
Yes.  To answer your question, I do see myself traveling more and more.  I've enjoyed going over there.  The only hard part is traveling back from Asia and adjusting to the time zone.  That's about it.

Q.  When you sit back and digest the whole year now, where does that Masters experience sit with you at this point as opposed to in the immediate aftermath of it all?
JORDAN SPEITH:  I think the Masters and the Ryder Cup were the most valuable I've ever had.
The Masters itself was the greatest individual tournament I've ever played.  One, it's the Masters.  It's the one that‑‑ no offense to any other tournament, but I've said it at every other tournament, it's the one that you dream about winning, that I dreamt about winning as a kid.
To have the lead on Sunday and in the last group...
I played it a few times in the evening when there was not a soul on the golf course.  To tee it hen and then to see it in the final group where you can't see any of the grass, just a sea of people, and kind of soak that experience in, too.  That's one that I've just never been able to explain to my family, friends, to anyone.
Never been able to explain what that was like.  Just badly want to be back there in that setting.  A lot of greats of the game have said that you really see‑‑ Ben Crenshaw said, You really see a man's true emotion competing at Augusta more than anywhere else.
I felt that was the case, that's why it's the best tournament I can learn from in my life.  The good and the bad.  Even though we fell short, last week I was reminded Greg Norman said‑ look at me dropping names here ‑‑  Greg Norman said last week, You learn a lot more from your failures than you do from winning.
I took that to heart there.

Q.  Have you seen Elvis lately?  When do you plan to start your season year, and where?
JORDAN SPEITH:  The plan is to start around Phoenix.  It's still iffy, but whether it'll be the week before or there or after, around that time.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  Probably all of it, yeah.  San Diego.  Played well there last year.  Look forward to being back.
AT&T Pebble is a fun event.  Play with Jake Owen or Romo.  I don't know, Romo will probably win the Super Bowl the day before that tournament, so I don't know if he'll want to play.  He'll probably be celebrating.  But that's okay.
I love Riviera as well.  And then we got Matchplay on the west coast this year, too.

Q.  What was your strategy on this golf course this week?  Any one particular hole that you consider as the toughest or vital to your results in this event?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Strategy this week, you want to keep it out of the collection areas.  They're very sandy and very tight from what I've noticed.  I wasn't on the course yesterday.  Today was the first time.  But I've played now probably ten rounds out here.
Yeah, you really want to keep it out of the collection areas.  The greens in regulation are going to be very important.
The greens are so pure.  They're not too quick.  I had heard Tiger had asked maybe for them to be quicker, and he kind of has some pull here.  They might listen to him.
But they're very pure.  They're greens I'm comfortable on.  I grew up on this type of grass.  I feel comfortable reading putts out here.
Yeah, I mean, it's going to be about leaving it in the right spots.  Some of the collection areas go up and then straight down there is almost no chance to be up and down.
And then a vital hole, I think the most challenging hole might be No. 2 out of the gate, the par‑3.  Today it was 220 something to the pin in the back and the green is this narrow.
None of us are worried about the trees on the side because we're hitting an iron, but still ‑‑ if anything, it actually helps because you it helps you zero in on the green.
There is really no easy spot to miss.  You miss in the right bunker it's on the downslope; you miss on the left and it goes all the way down and you're pitching it back up.
That's a very, very tough hole out of the gate, and you just want to get the ball on the putting surface and walk away with a three.

Q.  Sounds like you haven't looked at the stats yet from this year.  Have you?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Not a whole lot.  I had a five‑week break.  Looked at stats to get ready for these past four out of five weeks.  One stat that bothered me that I improved on was my driving.  I've been driving the ball a lot better the past couple weeks than I did the majority of the year.

Q.  When you look at them, anything that surprised you good or bad?
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah, I was surprised at the overall driving stat, because the year before I was maybe top 15 or 10.  This past year I felt like I drove the ball off the tee very similar to last year, but Cameron gets the strokes gain stats:  driving, ball striking, short game, and putting, and doesn't look so much at the percentage of fairways.
A lot of times we're aiming for sides of fairways to have better angles or going for things and not pulling it off.  Doesn't look good statistically, but we're leaving it in the right spot.  I kind of go off what he says.

Q.  And then do you address that driving?  Is it a technical thing?  Is it more drills?
JORDAN SPEITH:  I just put a new 913 Titleist driver in the bag.
It's a combination.  A combination of I drove the ball really well early in the year.  Again, statistically I didn't feel like it was that far off.  I did change drivers recently and it's working out well for me.
I think, to be honest, when I looked back I was trying to work it too much both ways off the tee instead of winding up down the middle of the fairway.  Ideally when my swing is on I'm hitting a really good straight ball.
If it's bleeding one way or the other with the driver, it's not bleeding much.  I was trying to line up and work the ball through the middle of the fairway bunker versus let's pick tight lines and hit it very straight.
That's what I've been doing more of recently, and it's helped.

Q.  Can I just clarify.  You mentioned the Greg Norman quote.  You said you read it last week before the Open, was it?
JORDAN SPEITH:  I was reminded of it a couple times last week.

Q.  In the leadup to the Open?
JORDAN SPEITH:  In the leadup to the Aussie Open, yes.

Q.  Do you think that helped you in the Open?  Change your mindset?
JORDAN SPEITH:  I don't think it necessarily directly affected or I thought about it on the course at all.  It's true.  I believe that you're going to learn a lot more from your close calls, your tough calls, than you will from victory.
You can certainly learn from both, and you will lose a lot more than you win out here in this sport that we play.  It's just a quote.  That wasn't the first time that I had heard it.  It came back up last week.

Q.  (Audio cutting out.  Question regarding playing with Tiger. )
JORDAN SPEITH:  I haven't played with Tiger as a professional ever when he has won a major that year.  I played with him last year couple times late in the year.  It was a five‑win seen, and that's Player of the Year worthy.  He didn't win a major, he won the PLAYERS, and every other tournament (Audio interference:  cutting out.)
So I would say this year with his injuries it's tough to tell.  Probably six or seven times this year I think.  He wasn't playing as well because he was playing through injury.
But, no, 2013 I didn't play with him until late in the year.  I wasn't paired with him when he was killing everybody.
So to answer your question I would say I haven't.
I think that if he's 100% healthy I don't have any doubt that he'll get back to winning major championships and a lot of the golf tournaments.
I look forward to really trying to be the one that's stopping him.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  Oh, is there?

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  I was really excited about the atmosphere.  It was different.  It was different than any other round I played this whole year was that first (indiscernible).
None of us got off to a good start.  We were combined like 18‑over through nine holes.  It was sloppy.
But I think that, yeah, we're all aware when he's back or if anybody else was out and coming back.  I don't know.  I can't speak for any of the other guys because there are only a couple of us that weren't around when he was on his big major streak.  Only a couple of us here this week that weren't there.
So I don't ‑‑ there may be a fear a guy had back then of being paired with him on a Sunday at a major.  Maybe not a fear, but a...

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  Yeah.  But I certainly don't have that because since we've been playing together it's been a light mood, it's been a Thursday/Friday, first time coming back, or Saturday teeing off early in the back nine at the British.
It just hasn't been one of those rounds where‑‑ it's hard to explain.  Hasn't been one of those rounds where he's been in contention or had a chance to win and we've been grinding against each other.

Q.  Looking at your schedule for next year, what do you know about the other three major venues?
JORDAN SPEITH:  I played the U.S. Amateur in Chambers Bay, which it was really hard when we played it.  They made some changes and I've actually played it since.  I played it last summer.  The changes they made I think he were necessary and they did a great job with them.  I think it's really, really cool place.  My caddie lives there.
St. Andrews we played when we went for the Walker Cup and got to play there.
Still I think my coolest golf experience, I think Augusta is there, but St. Andrews, walking through the clubhouse and seeing a painted picture from‑‑ I think it was when royalty was playing there in what was it, 1705 or something.  When you think our country was founded in 1776, that's pretty amazing.
Was when we were up in Wisconsin for the PGA.  I don't know much about that.  That's where PGA and Martin were, right?  And Bubba.  So I know that we probably shouldn't grind our club there in the bunkers.  That's about it.
No, I don't know much about the place.  I remember watching it and it being extremely challenging and windy.  All three courses are going to play I think significantly different than Augusta this next year.
I think that you're going to be controlling your ball in the wind; you're going to have to run the ball up; you're going to have to have imagination around the greens on all three.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  Michael's wedding.  He got married up there at Chamber's Bay and I went up for it, and we played golf the day before he got married.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPEITH:  2‑under or something.  We were messing around.  Michael didn't play well.
JOHN BUSH:  Thanks for your time, Jordan.

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