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December 7, 2014

Jordan Spieth


JOHN BUSH:  We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth, the 2014 champion of the Hero World Challenge.
Wins the tournament with a tournament record 26‑under 262, a 10‑shot victory, which is also a tournament record, and he's the first player to ever win this event in wire to wire fashion.
A commanding, dominating performance.  Jordan, if we can just get your thoughts.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Thank you.  Yeah, didn't really know what the game plan was really going to be when I woke up this morning.  I've never been in this position to be really far out front starting the day.
You know, you just got to be as positiveas ‑‑ you got to really just think of it as I'm playing my best golf and it's beating the best players in the world right now.  You got to take that confidence into the round.
I made a birdie on 1, which was really big.  Just get a putt going in.  Hit three great shots there to start the round.  I told Mike, Let's get three more and we can't be caught.  That was the thing for the day.
And then by No. 7 that eagle went in and I had gotten to 5‑under, and from there I knew that if I just continued to do what I was doing that we would get the job done.
Then kept setting more goals, more goals.  After I made it the turn I wanted to get to 30.  I thought that would be a cool number that I've never even sniffed.  That wasn't going to be the case on 13 and 14 there.
Yeah, it was great.  It was great to come back and get two birdies on the last four holes, to see a couple putts go in and close out this tournament.  It was a really fun walk on that back nine.
Whether my emotions showed it or not I'm not sure, but inside we were really very, very pleased with the year and how it came to a close.  This caps off the best golfing year that I've ever had.
Each year has been a little bit better than the last.  Hope to continue to do so in 2015.

Q.  Couple questions:  Are you going to start a petition to start the next season like tomorrow?

Q.  And then also, what gave you more confidence coming in here this week, the fact that you had won a college event here or the fact that you had just won in Australia?
JORDAN SPIETH:  A little bit of both, but I think last week in Australia was certainly biggest boost of confidence.
Winning here in college and playing here twice was important because I wouldn't know the golf course, especially on short notice.  I didn't get in until Tuesday late and then we just hit a few balls.  I just saw the course in the Pro‑Am Wednesday.
So I was very fortunate to have been here a couple times versus if we were already at Albany where it's going next year.  That would've been a difficult learning process to do quickly.
But everything in my game was momentum coming off last week.  That last round I felt like I really had things under control.  There is a certain couple things that I had tendencies to do when I wasn't closing it out.  I fixed that this Australia and it worked, and I continued to do that when I felt pressure here this week and it worked here.
So that's great going forward.  Yeah, I mean, obviously we would like to keep it rolling, but it's going to be really nice to have some time at home.  I've been on a lot of airplanes in the last five weeks and a lot of long flights.
It'll be nice to take it easy.

Q.  Tiger's best‑ever score in relation to par is 25‑under, so you've done something that he's never done before.  What does that feel like?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Well, he plays a limited schedule at very difficult events, so it's harder for him to get to ‑‑ it's harder to get to 25‑under playing majors and tournaments that are won at 12‑under.
Yeah, I've only been to I think 19‑under.  Maybe reached 20 at one point in a tournament here or there, but never finished at 20 or more in relation to par.
In general, this was the best that I've ever played, which is what I said in a media center in Sydney last week.  I played better this week.  This is the best I've played.  Hopefully look back and continue to grow off this week.

Q.  Can you just talk a little bit about not but two years ago you were playing in college at Texas and now two years later you obviously came on the national stage maybe for people that weren't in golf at the Masters, but now you've not only competed and beat the some of the best golfers in the world, but dominated them.  Take us through the timeline of what went into the work and your emotions over the last couple years.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I just set simple, concise goals to achieve on the each level.  It wasn't my goal when I turned professional to win a PGA TOUR event right away.  Obviously a few other things had to happen before that was going to be the case.
Just turn by turn tried to get a little better each month, each few weeks, whatever it was.  From college on I wanted to the use the exemptions that I was fortunate to get, to get better, to use that experience, to earn status.
And then when the Deere came it shifted my goals because I could pick my schedule.  I was in the playoffs.  I was in the World Golf Championship.  It moved me far enough up in the World Rankings to be in a great position.
So, yeah, I mean, it's not like I look back and I'm any different of a person.  I just think that as a golfer, given more time and better and better competition as really every month went on, I was able to grow and get better and step up my game to that next level.
Right now it's at its highest level that it's ever been.  I believe there are things that I can do better, and I will have to play at least this well if not better to win a major championship.
That's obviously a goal that I've gotten close to now and didn't quite win.  Now maybe if I get that lead I can draw on this experience of building on that.

Q.  Your parents and the rest of your family aren't here this week.  What's it like knowing your putting on a show for everybody who is watching back at home?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's kind of cool.  I know my friends are watching.  I know, yeah, my family back home, I know they're watching.  I know they were watching last week.  They stayed up really late.
It's awesome.  I play for them.  I wouldn't be here without their sacrifices, and I can't wait to get back home to them.  I know they wish they would've come out.  I mentioned it out there that I had kind of said not to.  Don't jinx anything.  Just never know in this game.  I've got to stay focused and keep the same routine.
Sounds silly, but at the same time it was working from the getgo here.  So maybe they're a little upset they aren't here right now, but I'll be home with them tomorrow.

Q.  Two questions:  can you just tell us a little bit about the college tournament you won here three years ago.  And secondly, can you tell us something about your own charity.  This tournament is for the Tiger Woods Foundations, but you have your own charity also.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, sure.  In college we knew coming in that this was a very difficult golf course.  I remember arriving here and so much free stuff.  It was the coolest tournament.
It was one of the hardest ‑‑ it was one of the biggest tournaments, one of the best fields, but one of the most challenging golf courses, which we were all looking forward to it.
It was my third college tournament.  I had played at Muirfield and somewhere in Birmingham, both really good courses that I almost won.  Both challenging courses.
So I had the lead in those.  Didn't quite finish it off.  Then came to Isleworth and played very well.  I putted great that week.  Love these greens.  They fit right into what I grew up on.  The same slopes, the same grain.
I remember looking at the scoreboard as I walked down No. 10 and seeing‑‑ because I wanted to see how my other teammates were doing.  I knew the guys in my group, but I didn't know how anybody else was.
Seeing that I had I think it was 6 or 7 shots at the time.  Ended up being 8 at the end.  And I did the same thing today.  It was déjà vu looking over at that scoreboard.  I believe it was 11 at the time, and ended up being I think 10, I'm not sure.
Yeah, it was really cool.  What Tiger has done cannot be overlooked here.  He is our host.  This is his challenge.  This is his foundation putting on this event along with Hero and Tavistock Group.
Tiger has obviously shaped and changed the game of golf for the better.  He has been a golfing hero for me to look up to when I was young, a guy that just dominated golf tournaments and major championships as well.
For him to do this and for hearing what his foundation goes to, you know, people thank us for being here supporting the foundation, which is what we're doing, but for the most part, that's Tiger.
You know, we're happy to be involved, but what an incredible way to raise awareness and to raise money for what he does.  You know, we want to thank him for that.

Q.  What did Keegan say to you when you made the eagle?  He came over and tried to tackle you.
JORDAN SPIETH:  He came over and he goes, Nice putt.  Are you kidding me?  Something like that.  I don't know.  I was a little scared.  He's bigger than I am.

Q.  When Tiger came out here at about your age, he was unlike anyone he was playing against had seen, and it probably took them a while to get used to getting beat like that.  I'm have wondering how much of an advantage you might have had ‑‑ and Rory and Patrick and Jason and everyone your age ‑‑ to have studied Tiger and learned from him and the way he goes about his work.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I think seeing guys like Rory step up and become No. 1 in the world and win major championships ‑ he has four now ‑ for him to do that, yeah.  Jason, jeez.  He seems older than he is.  He's still young.  Patrick coming out winning three times, I don't remember that really being the case when I was a lot younger watching.  I think it is something new.
It's not just Russell Henley winning twice.  Young guys not being afraid to win, I think that was really, really big for me when I first turned professional and seeing that.
Because these are guysthat I ‑ not Rory or Jason, but Patrick, Russell and Harris, these are guys that I played within in amateur golf and briefly in junior golf.  I felt like I could compete with those guys, and obviously now they're winning PGA TOUR events.
It gave me a lot of confidence when I first came out.  Since then, in order to take it to the next level and try and win majors, I got to look to Rory.  He's the youngest guy, the one with the most success.  He's No. 1 in the world and setting the bar.  He's the one we're all chasing.
I think I did a good job of starting that chase these last couple weeks.  That's only really the beginning of what needs to happen for the ultimate goal, which is to overtake him.
That's still a long way off and a lot of work has to be involved from now until then.  But, yeah, I think the young guys coming in taking over Tiger's spot at No. 1, he has been injured on a few different occasions and pretty much a leave of absence of golf for a while on a couple different times, which doesn't help his World Ranking, but they still did it.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPIETH:  Just far away.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Following up that response, you now moved to No. 9 in the world.  Thoughts on that?  And also, how much of your schedule will now focus on the majors?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's really cool to work my way into the top 10.  I think after Augusta I was at 7 and I kind of maintained around I think 7 to 10 or 11 for a while, and then fell down to 14 before last week.
I don't really focus on that.  That's just what I've been told.  I just remember hearing that after Augusta, and I remember hearing last week I moved from 14 to 11.
That's great.  To crack the top 10, that's a tremendous honor.  Winning two tournaments and moving up five spots shows me exactly what it'll take to try and get up to that No. 1 spot.
I'm sorry, what was the other question?
Oh, yeah, it won't change anything.  That was the focus this year and that'll be the focus next year.  I don't think my schedule will change a whole lot.  I may play a couple less events to be fully 100% at the end of the playoffs, which I felt like this year was a tough schedule and I wasn't.
Just a lot of golf, a lot of playing, and not enough kind of taking a breather on Mondays and Tuesdays.  I was grinding too much to be ready on Friday, Saturday, Sunday of Eastlake.
So, yeah, my schedule still focuses on the majors and the World Golf Championship, and that hasn't changed based on the last couple weeks.

Q.  Did you learn anything in terms of pacing yourself?  It seemed like around the PGA Championship you maybe hit a little bit of a wall having played as many tournaments a you this last year.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, the PGA, around that time I still felt fully rested.  I had a week off.  I think I played Akron and a week off before that.  That was my 21st birthday, so doesn't count as a week off.
It was really once we got Denver.  That trip, short week in Denver, I think a lot of guys kind of got a little tired there.  I shouldn't have that excuse because I'm 21 and it shouldn't effect me.
But it was a lot of golf.  I don't have a problem with that as along as you pace yourself.  You don't have to grind it out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to get ready for that tournament.  We just played.  We have experience.  We know what we're doing.
Do the right practice.  Take your time getting to places.  Here again, Monday I didn't do anything.  Tuesday I flew in and hit a few balls and a couple putts and played the best golf I've ever played.
That's because I drank a lot of water and really limited the amount of practice so I could be 100% this week, and felt like I really was.  That's cool coming from the other side of the world.

Q.  You made the greens look awfully easy out here.  Was it more about your pace or reading the greens?  What was it that you really zoned in on?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, this type of Bermuda feel really confident with the way I read them.  I feel like that's maybe my biggest strength in all of my golf game is reading Bermuda greens.
It's just, you know, again, these greens, same TifEagle, same slope, same size that I played on every day since I was 9 to 15, 16.  So I think it was being confident in my reads.  My stroke was on from last week.  Just tried to maintain that.
But lining up a ball outside right and knowing that that's what the break is going to do, it's a lot easier to put the right stroke on it.

Q.  What kind of pride do you take out of finishing one shot out of a playoff, and winning your next two events by 16 shots on three continents?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, a lot.  I mean, what a journey.  I guess if I had my real caddie instead of Jay that first maybe would've been three in a row.  (Laughter.)  Oh, there he is.  Michael told me to say that.
No, I do.  I take a lot of pride in that.  It's cool that our game can travel.  That's the goal in the future:  I want to play all over the world and experience on and off the course different places and see how golf has made its way in places it's growing and see how prominent it is in places it's been for a while.
I hope to continue to do that in the fall and winter.

Q.  If you looked at any list, which one would get your heart racing a little bit faster, looking at the World Ranking or your bank account?
JORDAN SPIETH:  World Ranking.  Yeah, yeah.  Money doesn't mean a whole lot to me.  I don't do a whole lot with it; I save it.  I knew we had to win this week because I'm moving into a new house next week.
No, it doesn't mean much.  I'm very conservative with it.  The World Ranking is what really gets me going, because there is long way to go with that.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPIETH:  Quite a while ago.  Again, probably the World Ranking recently after Australia, being told that I went to 11 this week.  It was somewhat of a goal to crack the top 10 at the end of the year.

Q.  (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, no, I've had plenty of scheduled meetings with my financial advisor.  I've seen it a few times here and there.  I try and stay away from it.
JOHN BUSH:  All right.  Congratulations once again, Jordan Spieth.

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