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January 28, 2015

Jordan Spieth


THE MODERATOR: Welcome Jordan Spieth to the interview room here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Jordan, your first start here at TPC Scottsdale, obviously, closing out 2014 with some strong play and getting 2015 started this week. Just tell us what it's like being here and we'll open it up for questions.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's a cool atmosphere. It's unlike any other FedEx Cup event. It's been a lot of fun the last couple of days, obviously. 16 is the hole out here. I think 15 is my favorite just walking up there, and I think it's a great par-5. It's been a great environment out here. I was anxious to get started. I came out here Friday because the weather has been rough in Dallas, and I have been -- it's been tough sitting on the couch watching these tournaments and not playing in them and watching my peers, you know, get out there and compete. I want to get back at it, excited to get started this week. I have a pairing where there will be a couple of people out there, so hopefully we can feed off the energy.

Q. What was your reaction when you saw that you were playing with Tiger this week?
JORDAN SPIETH: To be honest, I actually called it a couple of weeks ago to some of my friends, just because the last two times he's come back from injuries, I have been paired with him the first two rounds. For whatever reason, I just thought it might happen. I think it's cool. It will be fun playing with Patrick. We both play well together. Not just the Ryder Cup, but in a lot of events we have been paired together. It will be a lot of fun. There will be -- I probably won't get yelled at as much on 16 because of the pairings, but it will be a good time. Obviously I respect them both. Tiger, I grew up idolizing his game, and it's always fun to be paired with arguably the greatest player to play the game, and a nice guy to play with, too. Patrick, we have good energy together.

Q. To what do you attribute your success with playing with Tiger over the last year?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't know. I don't think there is anything specifically to him. I just happen to play well in those rounds. Couple rounds with Phil I have played well. Couple rounds with, you know -- I think it's just random. I don't think it has anything to do with it. It would certainly be exciting if we can all play well the next couple of days. I know tomorrow afternoon, that back 9 may get something like we have experienced or I have experienced. I know obviously he has. As we make that last four holes, if we are all playing well, it could be a lot of fun.

Q. What are your Super Bowl plans, if any?
JORDAN SPIETH: I plan on going to the game. Yeah, I'm planning to take Michael, big Seahawks fan, and I'm going to root for the Patriots.

Q. You have a close relationship with Justin Thomas. What have you seen in him to allow him to have so much success?
JORDAN SPIETH: Nothing different. I knew it was going to happen. It was nice that it happened so quickly, and he's adjusting. His last four events I think he's had three top 10s, in the top 20 or something, no surprise. He will be a consistent top player, consistently get top 10s, and I certainly think he will win at least once out here this year. I hope I'm there to see it. He's a good buddy of mine. I hope we can compete getting in the thick of things. It's been a while, a couple of college events we have been able to do so together, and, you know, I will bring up a couple of those events, like the National Championship, we played a match against each other. He hates when I bring that up (smiling). It's fun. I mean, our graduating class, 2011, has probably eight or nine tour players that will come out of it, and there is only -- well, there's what? Three or four on the PGA tour, another couple on the Web already, and we should still be in school. It's cool to see peers we grew up with for a while all making the transition pretty easily.

Q. What did you hit on that hole at Riviera?
JORDAN SPIETH: 4-iron, rolled around the back of the green and went in. It was not a good shot.

Q. To clarify, 2011 class, you're talking about high school graduation?
JORDAN SPIETH: High school, yeah, because there was no college graduation (laughter).

Q. What's the most relevant thing that happened to you in your offseason?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not a whole lot happened. I took a few weeks off from the game and started to come back, and I have never done that before. I took a couple of weeks off in the other offseason that I had in October, took two-and-a-half weeks off after Christmas, started to get back into it. The weather wasn't great. So it was a little off and on. But it was nice to see my brother. He came back from school over Christmas for a few days. Good to see him, catch up. Other than that, just been on the same routine.

Q. Who is your partner at Pebble?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm going to play with Jake again, Jake Owen, who I played with today. With that much smack talk he talks to me, I'm not sure I want him as a partner. That's fine. We will find a way to make it work. (Smiling.)

Q. How do you feel coming off this layoff? Anything special besides showing up Friday to get tuned back up?
JORDAN SPIETH: No. Just had a nice stretch of being at home to where I could get some stuff done with my trainer we couldn't do during the season, days where I knew I was going to take off from the game. I was able to try and get some weight back on that I lost throughout the year. Did some work with my coach, with Cameron. Obviously, just tried to keep things -- when I came back from not touching a club for a while, just tried to get things right back where they were. Tiger's event, that is as good as I ever played. I need putting reps, but everything is coming around where it was then. Just need to fine-tune the little things.

Q. Overall, what are some of your expectations, kind of coming into this stretch now, and what would constitute success in your mind looking ahead here?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, each tournament obviously I come to, I want to go win the golf tournament and believing that I can. Right now I want to get into contention. With the way I approached that mentally over the last two events I played was something that I put together, really, the last three events going to Japan with something that we put together in October with my coach, trying to learn from near misses last year and what went right and what went wrong and had the right mentality. There is stuff that -- it's things we are doing that I'm not going to share, but that we keep to ourselves, but they certainly help. So I want to get in contention in an event like this with this atmosphere and try and use, you know, the techniques that we are using mentally. If I'm in contention, my skills are there, I'm capable of winning. It's just a matter of controlling the environment and really feeding off the environment and hitting good shots.

Q. When you look at the majors as a whole, obviously the low amateurs at the US Open, Masters last year, how do you look at the majors in terms of one that might be the strongest one potentially down the road?
JORDAN SPIETH: Right now, just looking to Augusta. That was an incredible experience last year and left me wanting more, having an opportunity to win that Sunday. So that's the only one I'm looking forward to now, because it's the first one. They are all at incredible venues this year. I haven't played in Wisconsin there Whistling Straits, but I have played the U.S. Amateur, Chambers Bay and I have played St. Andrews a couple of times. It's going to be a really, really fun year, exciting year for the majors, but right now my mind is just set on Augusta.

Q. Has it crossed your mind that you're going for three straight wins?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, doesn't seem that way to me. That was a long time in between. Tiger's event seems quite a while ago. And it was obviously a different field there. There was, what was it, 18 guys versus, you know, a full-field event. It doesn't feel like I'm going for three in a row, but it's kind of cool to say that.

Q. If you look at the year from start to finish, how would you compare your first two years as a pro? Which one was more valuable to you?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think last year, yeah, I think 2014 was an improvement on 2013 and more valuable -- well, it's tough to say, because '13 I started with no status and went down to South America. The crazy stretch to get a tour card and then the deer, so many different levels were hit. But as far as coming closer to my goal of winning a major championship and, you know, getting the No. 1 in the world, which is ultimately the goal I have eventually. Last year was more valuable being in contention at the Masters and playing a Ryder Cup and feeling the feeling of playing a Ryder Cup is almost like each nine holes is the back nine Sunday of a major. It's like you've got contention of five majors, six majors. That right there without the Ryder Cup -- it may have been a little harder to control the environment in Japan, Australia, Tiger's event. I think that was a huge -- you know, gained a lot of experience there.

Q. Totally different tournaments and atmospheres and et cetera, what's the feeling like finishing the way you did Sunday in Australia and pretty much all week at Isleworth compared with some of the earlier chances you had that you didn't convert at the start of the year?
JORDAN SPIETH: The feeling was -- the feeling was obviously a lot better. I enjoyed it a lot more. I just had a different level of patience. Nothing was bothering me around me. Before that, I'd hear roars and, you know, I want to stay focused and I was focused on each shot, but still, when you're walking in between shots. The more you think about other stuff going on around you, the less you are on your own stuff. So, you know, Australia was great because it was a big grouping towards the top of the leaderboard. It could have been anybody's day that day. I knew I was putting well. I knew it was just a matter of time. If I just stayed on it early, and even if I missed a couple of putts early, stayed with it, I just believed that it would be my day. That's what happened. Made some crucial putts on the front nine and even some par putts towards the turn. Then from there, it was kind of smooth sailing, because I just had that level of kind of calmness about me because of the patience. Tiger's event was very similar.

Q. Justin stayed a year longer in college than you. How much do you think you influenced him in terms of turning pro? What advice, if any, did you give him?
JORDAN SPIETH: All his success is owed to me (laughter). He was there a semester more (laughter). You guys forget about my third semester, but I was there another semester. No, I don't know. I don't know how much it convinced him. We talked about it our freshman year, you know, what are you thinking? He and Patrick Rogers, Oliver Schniederjans, No. 1 amateur in the world, a peer of ours who stayed in school, and he will be out here soon. There is a group of us that we talked about it in school here and there with each other, and I don't know if it influenced his decision at all, anything I was doing, but we beat each other up for a lot of years, so it may -- just may be me coming out and gaining status so quickly had a little extra level of confidence to them. I don't know if it did or not, but if I were in his position and it happened ahead of me like when I looked at Russell Henley winning early in the season when I was a professional, I said, I played with Russell a lot, and I feel like on any given day throughout the course of a year we can beat each other up. I said, you know, I believe that I'm capable of coming out here and winning. You know, could have possibly had the same effect on them. I don't know.

Q. Did you take your finals in that all-important third semester?

Q. Why?
JORDAN SPIETH: What do you mean, why?

Q. Why did you take your finals?
JORDAN SPIETH: In case I go back to school, I wanted those hours.

Q. Are you going back?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't know.

Q. How many hours do you have left?
JORDAN SPIETH: I have only -- I don't know (smiling). A lot.
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