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February 11, 2015

Jordan Spieth


THE MODERATOR:  We would like to welcome Jordan Spieth to the interview room.  Making his third appearance at the AT&T.  Last year T‑4 your best finish here.  Just some opening thoughts about last year.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it was a fun time.  I played with Jake Owen last year as my partner.  Same as this year.
The year before I was with Romo, we were actually paired with Kelly Craft and Jake Owen.  So Jake ‑‑ Tony and Kelly weren't able to make it, so Jake and I partnered up and stayed in touch since.  And this is kind of an annual thing for us.  It's a good time.  We played yesterday together.  So, it's nice.
We have a lot of fun.  We had a really good pairing last year with Joe Don Rooney and Kevin Chappell.  This year it should be fun with the Great One and Dustin.
So I like all three courses.  They're all three different, but I think Spyglass might be the hardest scoring course, but they're all pretty similar.  The greens roll about the same too, so it's nice to have consistency.
I think that was kind of a struggle last week, was the differences in the two golf courses.  One is quite a bit easier than the other, so this is paradise for us golfers.  This is ‑‑ it doesn't get much better than this with nice weather, which is what we're getting this week.
So the courses have been really soft from the rain this past weekend, but slowly starting to firm up.  If that's the case, it should be a lot of fun playing Pebble in firm conditions.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Where did you play yesterday?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I played Cypress Point.

Q.  Spell that for us, please.  Laugh?

Q.  Very good.  Why do you like playing here?  You've been here all of three years?
JORDAN SPIETH:  This is my third year.  I received an exemption before I had status two years ago.
There's multiple reasons why.  I enjoy the pro‑am part of it.  Even though it's a long round, we get good food, it's a nice change of pace, good food, you're kind of laughing down the fairways.  It's like you're playing around on the weekend.  Jake is going to be giving me crap even though we're on the same team.  I like that, that's fun to dish it back to him.
You don't normally ‑‑ you're not normally looking across from Jimmy Walker and laughing that he just missed a putt, but can I do that with Jake.
It's a little lighter mood, makes me feel like I'm just playing another round, yet we're out here on a few of the best golf courses in the world.  Certainly the ‑‑ few of the prettiest golf courses in the world.  So that combination certainly brings me back.

Q.  That being said, obviously a lot of guys don't go for this format.  Can you appreciate that or do you not see it like that?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It's good fortune, the parings that we have had.  Some guys don't like the pace of play or a lot of guys just don't like poa annua greens, guys that grew up on Bermuda grew up in the south or even guys that grew up in the northeast are used to primarily bent grass or Bermuda grass and they‑‑ three different golf courses all with poa annua that maybe they think putt a little different.
It's just a tough adjustment when you get in Monday night or something to try and get to know the places that week really quickly.  Whether it's that, whether it's the changing around a few golf courses or it's the slow rounds, not sure.
I certainly really like this golf course and a lot of the legends of the game have liked these courses and this tournament for a lot of years, so hopefully it maintains a strong field going forward.

Q.  How would you define a successful season for you?
JORDAN SPIETH:  This year?

Q.  Yeah.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Certainly a goal is to make the Presidents Cup team and to be on a winning Presidents Cup team over in South Korea.  That's always a goal at the beginning of the year, whether it's Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup.
This year, I want to get in contention again in a Major Championship with a little bit more experience than I had at Augusta last year.  Just want to give myself some chances to win.  I feel like mentally I'm a lot different this year than I was last year.
My golf game, I've worked on areas that were maybe a little off from last year, but all in all, hopefully the consistency stays the same each year and I can just get a little bit better in certain areas.
But mentally, I think that having been through the end of last year and close out a couple tournaments and that, I believe, will help me if I get myself in position again.
Phoenix was a little late on my run on Sunday there to really feel that and have a chance to win.  Needed kind of a miracle there.  And then last week, obviously, no chance.
So looking to have that rust worn off now and I feel good.  I feel better out here this week, feel better about the way I'm striking the ball.  With this pairing, going off early at Monterey might be key to that first round.  I like our tee time.  So, really fortunate with that.
Answer the question, for the year, I have specific goals that I'll keep to myself but definitely to play well enough to make that Presidents Cup team.  That's going to be a tough one this year.

Q.  Tiger and Phil have held such a sort of captive of the crowds for so long, obviously both struggling a little bit right now.  When you think about whether it's you or Dustin or Rickie Fowler or whoever, sort of replacing them one day as the faces of golf, is it just about winning a lot do you think?  Or is there something that beyond that, that captivates the crowds?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Certainly in order to captivate the crowds and to make a name and to try and get out there and have a rivalry with some of these great young players.  Rory obviously setting the stage right now, it's going to take wins.
At the same time, this is a different age.  This is, we have grown up with these new crazy social media platforms and we have all got our own brands and you see Ricky out there with his motocross and kind of the risk taker and all that.
We're all different people.  I mean I'm a sports guy, football, baseball, basketball, kind of guy, and I like to fish and we all kind of have our own thing.  Patrick's the more serious, very competitive kind of guy that's sitting there shushing Ryder Cup crowds.  He just‑‑ he wants to play that guy that has a chip on his shoulder.
So, whether we're all captivating different parts of the public or‑‑ we have kind of grown up where we just want to be ourselves and, obviously, to get your name out there and gain those fans and to have that kind of title on yourself that those guys had, it requires winning Major Championships.  There's no doubt about that.
But at the same time, it is different these days and we're all different people, we recognize that, and it's something that hopefully ‑‑ I mean it's still too early to tell, but if we all have success then it can certainly shape up differently than it did with maybe Tiger and Phil.

Q.  You make a good point.  Patrick and Ricky are coming from very different advantage points.  How do you see that affecting sort of how they connect with fans.  Patrick with that intensity and ‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  I just feel like now people are able to connect easier with their favorite pro.  They're able to say okay well I like this guy because I like the way that he acts on the course or the way he acts off the course, or whatever it is.
It's not like there's a good or bad way to do it, its personal preference.  There's not like a right way to gain everyone's ‑‑ some people really like the way Patrick does it.  If that's the case, they probably are more a fan of him than they will be of Ricky.  They will still like Ricky.
But we're able to get ourselves out there more than Tiger and Phil ‑‑ we're able to open up more than Tiger and Phil were way back when ‑‑ I say way back when, sorry.
A few years ago.
So, people just, I think, are starting to get to know us a little better.  That's pretty cool.  It's cool to have people come up and say, how is your sister doing or something like that to me or someone goes up to Ricky and says, dude, I saw you out there at whatever it was at the X games or something.  I just don't think that was ‑‑ I saw your post about the X games.
That wasn't able to happen quite a few years ago.  So it's really people are able to connect with us more now and I think it's pretty cool.

Q.  You eluded to the Major Championships, the Masters last year.  How much have you replayed what went on at the Masters and specifically Sunday, and what do you get out of that last round?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I haven't replayed it much since soon‑‑ the first couple weeks after.  And then again revisited it probably in October with my coach when we were looking at the year as a whole to go into our fall tournaments, how we can improve.
But not much since then, no.  I know the strategy that we have, that Cameron and I have kind of intended when I get into those kind of positions now.
I know‑‑ I have a better understanding of my tendencies from the Masters and the Ryder Cup, because those are the highest pressure scenarios I've ever been in.  So, we're able to learn a lot from those.
Then we kind of created, okay, this is what you need to do, this is the way to have enough patience to pull it off next time.  Whether it's the Australian Open or it's the Masters.
So, I haven't looked back much at it, but we do have a strategy now that I use on the course.  That kind of strategy isn't the same that Bubba Watson uses, it's not the same that Tiger Woods uses, everyone's coached with a different way.  But I think we found a good way at least now, and learned a lot from near misses.  And certainly, I'll certainly have my near misses in the future and that will shape my strategy going forward.

Q.  Your the first guy since Tiger to have AT&T on the bag.  I'm curious what kind of responsibility you feel like you have to a corporate partner like that and in your eyes, where do you bring them value?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Well, on and off the course, but yeah, it's an honor because it really was a big investment for them to get back into having branding on the golf course.  They were almost, from what I had heard, kind of set on being very hesitant in doing that going forward when the split happened with Tiger.
So, it really was kind of a perfect scenario for me being Dallas‑based myself.  Somebody who I was an AT&T customer my whole life and got to know a few of the executives because their kids played ‑‑ John Strege's son, Brian, played basketball with my brother so we became family friends with them.
The club I play out at Dallas is where Randall Stephenson plays.  So getting to know them there and really when you get to know them, you really get to know kind of their values and the company, their brand.  I really enjoyed that.  I thought it would align well with mine.  Didn't know if they would want to align with me, and when they did, it really was a great scenario for the both of us.

Q.  You signed last year spring last year?
JORDAN SPIETH:  We signed around June for name and likeness and then the golf bag was put in play in China.

Q.  Then, just curious, there's sometimes we see ‑‑ I don't want to name any names, Phil or anyone like that, you just see like a Barclays sitting there.  How much‑‑ you get the exposure on the golf course.  How much more do you do, or do you think you do, in terms of kind of being part of their team, meeting with them, doing whatever.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, we do, I do go into headquarters, been a few days go into headquarters and whether it's like PR meetings and learning more about the company so I'm educated on it.
Or it's social, posting stuff that kind of helps both of us.  Or it's meet and greets or it's golf days.  I was fortunate I went with Randall and some of his buddies to Augusta and right after Tiger's event, spent a lot of time with them there.
But, yeah, I mean there's golf days, there's meet and greets, there's signings and there's kind of social posts that are all part of our deal.

Q.  Golf day at Augusta, do you get that a lot?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, no, that's nice.  Fortunate he's a member.

Q.  A lot of veteran players are quoted talking about your calm for being such a young guy.  Some kind of ‑‑ the way you handle yourself.  Where does that come from?
JORDAN SPIETH:  As opposed to being what?

Q.  You know, just sort of antsy and jumping all around, maybe being a young guy, 21 year old‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean.

Q.  Everybody's going crazy but you're just calm taking it in.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, certainly that was something that I had to learn and get over just by learning through example.  That happened my first year out here.  It was an emotional time trying to get job status and didn't know where I was going to end up, whatever.
So when things weren't going my way, I was more of the whine and 16 year old Jordan, just out there wondering what's wrong.  And I still have some of that and that's a competitive nature, but it's not going to help you the more you do it.
So I watched a lot of veteran players that I was paired with and when they weren't playing well, see how they handled it, how they reacted and how they bounced back from it.
When you see whatever, 10, 20 guys that are‑‑ that I'm paired with that are really good veteran players.  That I can then see how they're handling certain situations and I can get a good kind of grasp of how I can do it successfully when things are going wrong or how I can cope with my emotions a little better.
So, over really the course of a couple years, and this is a learning progress going forward, you can always get better at it.  But it's been the biggest change, I think, in my game from 2013 to now, is being able to kind of shake off things that aren't going well.  That's nothing other than watching the guys that do it the best.

Q.  How restless are you to win again?  You're obviously ranked very highly in the top‑10, I believe.  Based largely on being in contention as often as you've been.  But I think you've only had that one win.  How restless are you to repeat that and what sort of separates ‑‑ how would you articulate the difference between being in the hunt and finishing it off?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I was certainly very restless the end of last year with the Australian Open and Tiger's event, I count those.  They're good, strong fields and I count those as wins.  Whether they go down as FedExCup wins or not, they're still professional victories.
So, if I have won Tiger's event or I won the Frys, in my head it wouldn't have made much of a difference.  I would have been just as pleased with either one.
So, restless, I mean that was only a few events ago.  So I just want to get back in contention and try it again.  It was a long layover.  I wish that was in the middle of the season last year when that was happening, I could just keep riding it.
But I'm just trying to get back to that place, ball striking and more importantly, with my putting that I was at the end of last year, because that's what closed it out for me was my putting inside 10 feet.  I was so confident with six foot par saves, on even the ones on Friday and Saturday that just keep that round going, allow you to shoot 7‑under instead of 4‑under.
It's just those momentum changers where you think you really got into trouble because you had a bad swing, but you didn't lose a stroke.
So, that's mainly it.  I'm not restless for a win, I'm just ready to get back into having a chance to win.

Q.  Which veteran when you looked at impressed you the most with their demeanor?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Probably Phil.  Playing golf with Phil, it was, I mean Tiger as well.  Those are the guys where, obviously, the first time I'm paired with them, I'm very much paying attention to what they're doing, because they're guys I idolized growing up and have won, they're the most successful players that are out here in the course of their careers.
So, the way Phil plays golf, I enjoy it.  He gets frustrated, but he stays focused.  He'll get frustrated, which you need to, you can't be pleased with something that goes wrong, but he bounces back, he putts a smile on his face, he goes to the next hole, it doesn't bother him at all.  He'll still walk down the fairway and tell you a funny story.  That kind of stuff, where you know that it's really not eating inside of him into the next hole.
With a lot of players growing up, including myself, I wouldn't talk to anybody on the next hole if I'm you upset.  That still happens to this day.  I'm still a work in progress.  But that's what truly showed me that he put it completely behind him when he stepped on that next tee.  He picked a plan to make birdie on the next hole.  That was extremely impressive and he's probably the No. 1 guy.

Q.  Speaking of frustration, have you noticed a difference in the level of irritation or length of irritation missing the cut from your first year through your second and now?

Q.  Longer, shorter?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I might get more frustrated now missing the cut than I did then.  It's easiest for me to look back at last week's event, The Farmers, where I missed the cut now twice there.  I missed cut first year and then played well.  I was leading for a lot of the tournament last year, and then missed it this year.
So, being in the same place my first pro tournament versus now, I was probably more frustrated now.  Yeah, it's bothering me to this second that I missed the cut last week.

Q.  Sorry I brought it up.
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, it's all good.  It's not fun.  It's not fun.  I went out there Saturday to hit balls in the back of the range and I hated every minute of it.  But it made me, obviously, work really hard because you don't want to do that anymore the rest of the year.  You want to be out there getting ready for your tee time, not practicing while you hear the roars on 15 or 16.  So, probably get more frustrated now.
When I'm out there, though, at the same time, back then I was more thinking about the cut, now, I don't.  If it gets down to the last few holes and I know I need a couple birdies, then I'll certainly play differently.  I'll play more aggressive.
But at the end of it, yeah, it doesn't bother me on the course but then afterwards, if it happens, yeah, it's not fun.

Q.  Or a guy brings it up in a press conference afterwards?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah and then I ramble on and on.  Thanks, Doug.

Q.  You mentioned Tiger and Phil, but you're 21 years old and you're playing against guys sometimes who are more than twice your age.  And I wondered if there's some other component against you, or for you, when you're playing guys who are could be your grandfather?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, I don't think that ‑‑ I don't really think much of that.  I just think of everyone as a peer now.  That's the way it's always been.  I can't tell you how many times people have come up and said‑‑ joked around because all that's said on TV is 19‑year‑old Jordan, or 20‑year‑old Jordan, or whatever they probably still say 20, only 21 or.  I got over that pretty quickly.
The only way to win out here is to get in contention and then act like you're supposed to be there.  Act like you are the veteran that's been in those cases and believe that you're the veteran and that you're going to get the job done and it's not a big deal, even though it's difficult to do.
But if you start thinking about these guys being more experienced than you, then you're setting yourself behind.  Those guys are really nice guys and have had the full support of them.  It's fun to play with them.  I've watched them for a lot of years and, obviously, a big fan of golf and I can't get enough golf myself, so I've always watched them play.  So, it's nice to have that be a reality now.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jordan.  Good luck this week.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Thanks, guys.

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