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December 6, 2014

Jordan Spieth


JOHN BUSH:  Jordan Speith joins us again in the media center after a 9‑under par, 63.  Jordan, tremendous round.
If we can get some comments.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, very pleased.  I was trying to go out today, I was in the lead by two, but obviously with a golf course that's receptive I knew that there were low scores out there.
So wanted to go out and get off to a good start and just post a solid round.  I wanted to keep the lead and then kind of keep the same attitude, mental kind of strategy that I had last week.
Then got off to a dream start with a 20‑footer and a then a good bounce on 2 and a birdie on 3.  Yeah, from there it was rolling.
Played the par‑5s well, which was important.  Played the easier holes well other than 16, and was able to hit some wedges in close and play some of the slopes.
I didn't have to make a lot of putts after really 1, and then the one on 14 and 18 were the ones that weren't really tap‑ins.  That's about it.
So that was good, but that may not be the case tomorrow.  I really got to get out there and grind and keep my head down and focus on a number.
JOHN BUSH:  Great.  Questions.

Q.  Were you going to try to make the putt on 18?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, no, I mean, I think it was probably a 60‑footer.
I was lucky this morning to have already played that hole.  But more importantly, Steve Stricker had a very similar putt to the one I had just the other direction.  I could tell exactly how fast his was.
So I got a little feel of the speed maybe off seeing his this morning, which could have been a good break for me.
But, no, that was just three‑foot circle around the hole with a great the putt, and let's get out of here with a 4.
It was actual very, very straight.  Just played it pretty much in the center of the hole, maybe just outside of the right side of hole, and tried to get the right speed.
I knew when it was about four feet to go that it was going to take a little left break.  But my putter up, which normally means it'll find a way to lip out, but that one fell in.

Q.  What were you thinking when it went in?  You had a smile on your face.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean, it's unexpected.  I would've smiled if that was the 3rd hole.  It's just cool that it was the 18th.
Kind of slipped a little on 15, 16, 17.  Didn't hit many great shots on those three holes.  Felt like I had given a stroke or two back to the field.
Just kind of smiling because I feel like I got one back there.

Q.  Did getting here early this morning to finish up the third round allow to you relax and get into your routine a little bit easier going into the third round?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't think it changed much.  I got up 30 minutes earlier than I would've strictly because it was 15 minutes of warmup here and then 15 minutes of playing the hole, signing the card.
So when I was finished it was right at the same time I would've gotten there anyway to start the rest of my day.  So I was able to fall in a routine nicely there.  I don't think it really affected a whole lot, but it was nice to see Steve's putt, I guess.

Q.  Two questions on that:  It's not the easiest up and down, but did making that little four‑ or five‑footer, did that make any difference at all on the day?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I think I that was really nice.  I was feeling the pressure on it just because it was an odd thing just going out there and hitting a pitch shot and a putt.
I wanted to close out yesterday's rounds the right way and kind of get today off to the right start.  If I had missed it, it still would've been the right decision to wait.
Yeah, I think making that putt gave some momentum.  Seeing a putt go in is always nice, and then I was able to go to the practice green and hit even more putts before I got out on the course.

Q.  What club did you hit on 2 and did you pull it?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I hit a 7‑iron, and, no, I didn't really pull it.
I was trying to work it, a little draw in there.  I may have hit it kind of at the ball.  Not fat, but kind of right at it, which a lot of times with sand it will turn the face over right before it strikes it.
So when I hit it, I hit a 7‑iron from 192.  Typically's it's a 180, 182 club for me with a little down breeze.
So I needed to hit it really hard.  I wasn't sure if it was going to carry, and once it did it kicked right.

Q.  When you go home and you are around your friends you left behind at Texas who are now in their senior years and maybe sending out resumes and trying to figure out what their first job is going to be, what's that like for you?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Nothing has changed.  I miss school.  Now when I look back‑‑ it's actually been two years.  Two years ago I was getting ready for my last finals.
But I'm starting my third year on tour, which is crazy to think about.  I guess I've already started it.  To be honest, the first year I was out I really missed it a lot.
Now it seems like it was a while ago.  I've been here on tour longer than I was in school, so it's a little different.
But when I get to the chance to go down to Austin or wherever, going to different schools to visit friends, nothing has changed between us.
You know, I still get‑‑ I'm sure if I check my group texts with a couple of my best buddies right now, they'd all be giving me crap about something I did out on the curse that I don't even know about right now.
So nothing has changed.  It'll be nice when they do graduate and a lot of them come back to Dallas and we're living in the same place again.

Q.  Quick follow‑up.  Is it the maybe one time you feel older than your years or older than you are?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No really.  Still feel like my job is fantasy land.  I mean, this is, I think, the greatest job in the world.  We get to play golf for a living and travel all over the world to do so.
I don't know, I don't feel older and more experienced or anything like that.  I think it's just a very, very different experience.

Q.  As nice as the John Deere win was for you last year, looking back, did it in any way put some negative expectations on you?  Did it ratchet things up perhaps?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't think so.  Nothing about that tournament was negative.  That changed my entire golfing life.  I didn't have full status.  I was going to gain one year status the following year, but that allowed me to play in the playoffs in 2013, which then got the Presidents Cup.
I mean, it was a huge, huge win that only gave me a lot of positive to look back on.  Any expectations that you talk about, again, I don't read or watch anything that's said about me because the expectations should be what I put on myself.
I understand that when I'm out here and one of the young guys, people want to see somebody come up and do what Tiger did and change the generation of golf.  That's not necessarily what I'm out here to do.  I'm out here to try and win each tournament I'm in.
If you happen to win majors, which is the ultimate goal, then great.  Pick a strategy to do so.
But right now I look at No. 1 in the world Rory McIlroy, what he did this year, and I'm trying to chase him more than I am anything else.
So the expectations I put on myself are probably higher than what anybody else puts on me.

Q.  Just wondering, do you believe in momentum tournament to tournament, and what kind of zone or mindset are you in right now?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, sure I do.  Yeah.  I mean, you see tendencies of guys starting to clean things up.  They go from not playing great to 20th to 13th, to 5th.  You know they're going to play well the next week if they continue playing.
I felt coming into a familiar place, as long as I got enough sleep and water and that my body felt good that I could here.  Felt strong coming off last week.  Job is not done this week, but I'm a believer in my own momentum.
I'm going to go out tomorrow with very similar strategy to today.  If the putts go and the breaks o my way, hopefully shoot a round like today.
If not, I'm still going to have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament.

Q.  With the roll that you're on, are you sort of bummed that the season is going to come to an end?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I asked Mike on one hole today, I said, Mike, is there any tournament next week we can find a way to play in?  He started laughing.
But, no, I mean, this is doing a lot more me mentally.  Last week was huge.  To be able to close out a tournament the right way playing my best golf, that helps me when I feel pressure.  This week that's going forward when the season starts back up.
So I will go about the same routine.  I had five weeks off between the Ryder Cup and China, and whatever I was doing, the stuff that we did in the gym with Cameron, was all working for this four‑out‑of‑five‑week stretch.
So I will probably do something very similar for the start of the season.

Q.  You just said you're playing some of your best golf.  How would you compare that with the kind of golf you were playing at the time of the Masters?  And second question, did you change the ball today after nine birdies?
JORDAN SPIETH:  This is the best I've played in a 54‑hole stretch in my life.  Yeah, I've never been 20‑under par in 54 holes.  I don't think I've ever finished 20‑under par for a tournament, so that is a good goal for tomorrow, to finish in the 20s.
I think I'm playing a little better than I did at Augusta.  It's very difficult to tell.  Just two completely different experiences and two very different golf courses.
That one played firm and fast, and this one is playing a lot softer.  Still quick, but different grass type as well.
So, no, I switched balls today.  I think I used two for the whole day.  I don't keep much track, but I know I did switch.

Q.  When you have a 7‑shot lead people expect you to win.  How do you guard against being complacent tomorrow?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Again, that is your expectation.  Yeah, I haven't been in this position before.  I'm certainly okay with it.  I think I've got to have a number tomorrow to go out and really chase and try and‑‑ I haven't finished in the 20s before ever in my career, and I think most of the guys that are in this event have somewhere.
So that would be a good goal, to go out there and shoot under par and close out a round in the 20s.  Hopefully it's good enough.

Q.  How much did you work on putting with Cameron before last week's tournament?  How does that compare to how much you usually work on it prior to a four‑round event?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, that was our main focus when Cameron arrived in Australia.  I was hitting it great in Japan, better than I ended up hitting it in Australia.  But I didn't make as many putts.
He found a little something that I probably wouldn't have been able to find, and I want to say we practiced more than usual, more than the usual, certainly more than this week with the way the timing has worked with the tee times and the delays and everything.
I hit a lot more putts in Australia than I did here, but I just tried ‑‑ every time I've been working on it here, just tried to do that same feeling, same drills that Cameron and I worked on Tuesday and Wednesday in Australia.
Yeah, I would say that worked quite a bit more than normal last week.

Q.  Great round today.  You talked about the first time being at 20‑under par.  I think the big key of that today was any time you were in trouble you hit great shots.  Can talk about that, in particular your approach at No. 10 from the sand?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I had 74 yards, which is not ideal out of the bunker.  But bunkers here are so flawless, so compact.  I was on a little upslope, so I may as well been hitting off a tee.
But instead of using 60‑degree, which is my normal club I would use for that yardage, I used a 56‑degree, and sand wedge, to try to take some of the spin off so I could take a little shorter swing and compress it.
It would still spin quite a bit with the slope on the front of that green, but to try and take some of it off.  If I hit a 60 degree and caught it right, that would have spun back 30 feet.
When I hit it I was aimed up a little left of the hole and came out with a little cut on it.  Got caught up in the flag stick I guess, which took a lot of the spin off.  It probably would've ended up at a similar place, but who knows.  So I'll call to a good break because we capitalized and made the three.
I'm sorry, what was...

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPIETH:  I felt like I was only in trouble on a couple occasions the whole day.  I've been driving the ball very well.  That needs to continue tomorrow.  Been hitting a lot of fairways.  The end of the round today got a little bit off.  Just go ahead and keep focused on that on the range.
But 16, you know, I played the smart shot with the lie I had.  It was kind of just wedged down a little in the grass, and kept it short of the green.  That was a big up and down for me to make a 4 there.
Henrik made 4 as well, and I didn't lose any ground when it looked like I could lose a shot or two.  Yeah, 17 was probably the only other position where I felt like I was truly in trouble, and that was the chip shot there.  I don't want that shot over again.  It's not a fun shot to have.  It's sandy and into the grain.  And it wasn't an upslope, it was just pretty flat but below my feet.  Tough one to strike right.
So I was very pleased with where the shot ended up and almost made the putt.  Been chipping well off this grass.  Been leaving myself where I can be aggressive enough through the ball where I don't have to worry as much.
That was short‑sided on 17, which is one of the first times I've been short‑sided.  So I'm going to make sure‑‑ going to need to make sure that I give myself enough room like I have been.
JOHN BUSH:  Let's take two more.

Q.  You probably partly answered this question already.  What would it mean to be sitting here tomorrow night with your name on two different trophies on two different continents in two weeks?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it would mean a lot.  It's been a heck of a trip thus far, starting with Japan, just barely missing out, and then closing it out last week.
It would mean a lot to me.  This tournament consists of whatever it is, 18 of the top 30 in the world.  This is a world‑class field by every definition of it.
These are the guys that win major championships.  Almost everybody in this tournament has won one.  I would say more than half.  You guys would know.
Yeah, it would mean a lot to me going into the off season.  It would give me a lot of confidence going forward looking to 2015 to be a year that is an improvement on 2014, which is the ultimate goal.

Q.  There was a comment on TV about you that said he doesn't do anything great, but doesn't have any weaknesses; do you agree with that?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't know.  I'm doing some things great this week and trying to limit the weaknesses.  If you look statistically, which I do sometimes, especially in the off‑season with Cameron, yeah, I mean, as long as your strokes gained putting stat is near the top, then everything else can be consistent and you're going to have a good year.
That's an important stat in my mind.  I don't think that the stats necessarily do it justice.  I like the strokes gained stats tee to green, and that's what Cameron likes.  That's what we look at to see even if I didn't miss the fairway by three feet, it's still a good shot with a good angle into the pin that day, even if on the stat sheet I missed six fairways instead of five.
So, I don't know.  I mean, certainly don't hit the long ball, and there are better ball‑strikers and better wedge players.  But if I can keep everything towards the top and my putting strong, then I'll give myself a lot of chances to win.
JOHN BUSH:  All right.  Jordan Spieth, thank you, sir.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Thanks, guys.

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