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April 10, 2015

Jordan Spieth


MODERATOR:   Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We are pleased to welcome to our interview room, a young man that continues to shine as one of golf's promising young stars, Jordan Spieth.
Jordan is in his second Masters appearance, finished his second round with a 66, 14‑under par, that included six birdies.¬† Through 36 holes, Jordan has compiled 15 birdies and one bogey.¬† He now has the record for the lowest first 36 holes in Masters Tournament history.
Would you like to tell us about your great round?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It's cool.  Any time you can set a record here is pretty awesome.  I'm very excited about today and the way you struck the ball.  I struck it, I thought, better than yesterday.  Didn't rely on the breaks as much.
But yeah, very pleased.  To have one bogey through 36 holes on this track means that I'm putting well and putting from short distances well.  I've just got to keep my head down and find greens in regulation so that I can continue to have looks.
I'm getting some putts from mid‑range to go, and I don't really need to force anything.

Q.¬† Last year you had the 54‑hole lead.¬† What did you learn‑‑ obviously there's more than that to go, but what did you learn from last year and what do you take into these next two rounds?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Just like I've said each time every day, what I learned was patience.  What I learned was that the weekend of a major, those rounds can often seem like two rounds in kind of the mental stuff that's running through your head; the stress levels, and sometimes they are higher.
The hardest thing to do is put aside wanting to win so bad, and just kind of going through the motion and letting whatever‑‑ letting my ball striking and putting happen.
I got off to a great start and had a chance to win last year on Sunday.  I'd like to have that same opportunity this year.  Again, this is only the halfway point and I'm aware of that.  Not going to get ahead of myself and I'm going to try and stay in the moment and very patient these last two days and understand it's going to feel like a whole 'nother tournament.

Q.  What's the closest you even came to making a bogey, and how many putts like 18, where you just missed, did you have out there?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I had a couple, 18 and 9, were the two putts that I'd say maybe should have dropped, given the length.¬† They were just mis‑read; I actually hit them where I wanted to.
I don't know what the closest was I had, probably three or four feet today, which is cool.
No. 1, I had a 4‑footer.
No. 3, I made about a 6‑ or 7‑footer, I think may have been the longest one today.¬† So ideally that happens the next couple days to take those stress levels down, even two‑and‑a‑half‑footers here can be played outside the hole, so they are not easy.
You've got to grind on them and just keep the ball below the hole as best we can.¬† It's tough, though.¬† These pins are right above ridges, and if you land it just short, it's going to come all the way down the ridge.¬† If you land it just past, then you are left with a downhill six‑footer that you've just got to touch and hope it takes the right break.
It was challenging on a few of the holes today, and given the pin positions; and if they were firmer greens, they may actually have been easier, and I'm sure the greens will be firmer tomorrow.

Q.  Your play on 15 today versus yesterday; there was some conversation about club selection.  Take us through the thought process.
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yesterday was a left‑to‑right wind, maybe a little bit of help.¬† I got it up there a little farther, and I was in between hybrid and 4‑iron.¬† No part of me was going to lay up today.¬† Chose maybe to be too safe there instead of just striking a good 4‑iron.
Today it was actually a good hybrid number.  I think I had to carry it and adjust it 222 or something to get over that left side.  And then if it were the wind that it was for most of the day, it would have been a perfect hybrid for me, but the wind had flipped on 14.  It turned 90 degrees and came more straight into us there.
Just with that back pin, I knew that I could hit off the downslope and kind of pitch something back there, and I knew if I could get it down to where I had a 60‑degree in, I could at least give myself a good look and if I mis‑hit the hybrid, it's not going to get over.
It's tough, because I just want to hit hybrid.  I want to get it on the green in two.  But at the same time, Michael talked me out of it, and it was the right decision today; obviously, in hindsight, but it was.

Q.  Jim Furyk said after the round, he said, not taking anything away from you, but he said the scores are out there, the greens are soft and he was able to stop irons that he hasn't been able to stop.  Is that true, and if so, why are you and Charley the only ones able to do it?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It goes back to the pin positions today being difficult to tell yourself to throw it all the way back.  Because you think about the speed of the greens; you think about the fact that you just don't want to be above the hole; but at the same time, the only way to get it on the correct tier is to get aggressive and throw it all the way back to the hole.
Holes likes 6 today, holes like 9, there's a group of them, even 7, if you're just a little uncertain or you don't have a great number, you just have to 2‑putt from 30 feet and take it.
But the greens are soft where if you get good numbers that you're comfortable hitting a nice, full solid shot into it, it will land by the hole and stay there, and then you just have to make a putt that breaks or a downhiller.
Even like 16, it's just‑‑ I don't know why.¬† I only saw the other two guys in my group, and they played well and got some tough breaks and some lip‑outs.¬† Mine have been lipping in, and I guess that's part of the difference.

Q.  I'm curious your thoughts on this being Ben Crenshaw's final round today and sort of the unofficial passing of the Texas baton off to you, and just your thoughts on his passion for this place and now your feelings on it.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I'm sure it's going to be an emotional last couple holes for him.  I certainly would like to be there.  I'm not sure what time he's going to end up finishing.
But been a mentor to me, somebody that's been very helpful, especially around this place, and a guy who carries‑‑ you think of Ben Crenshaw, you think of Augusta National and the Masters and his victories that were, what, 11 years apart from each other; and the emotional last one after Harvey Penick's death.¬† Everybody in Texas growing up knows that story.¬† And for this to be kind of the end for him, it's tough.¬† It's tough.
He's obviously going to be here.  He's mentioned to me he's going to be here every year anyways and be as much a part of the tournament as he can be.  He joked that he'll be sitting with a beer and a sandwich in the crowd on 15 or something (laughter).  I highly doubt that (laughter).
But yeah, it's very special and it's really kind of a shame and sad for the tournament to be losing him, just as legends have to go at some point, right.

Q.  There's only one guy within nine shots of you, but the fact that Charley will be with you, and he is not far behind, does that help keep your mind from wandering?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I think it might.  I think it might.  It's certainly a good thing.  I think at the same time, I still need to not be focused on anybody else, no scoreboard watching, set a goal and understand that the course is going to be harder and have that affect my goal going in, and then just try to strike the ball the same way I have.
I know where to hit it to the best pin positions and I know where the best leaves are, and I really need to pinpoint those spots and work on my speed control on the greens.  But yeah, I think it will be helpful.

Q.  What did you mean a moment ago when you said that the next two rounds are a whole 'nother tournament?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I meant each round on the weekend of a major in contention can a lot of times feel like you're playing almost two rounds in one, just givenwhatever.
It just feels like it's a long day and you just can't get too up or down at the beginning of the day, the first nine holes, with whatever's going on, and understand that at a place like Augusta National and a tournament like this that there's a lot of stuff that can happen, a lot of lead changes can happen.¬† Holes can lend birdies and they can lend double‑bogeys.
So you just have to really be patient, not try and force anything, and allow the angles to play themselves out.  When I say that, I mean, allow myself to hit these shots on the par 5s, like I have been the last couple days, in the right spot to have the right angle into to the green to have a really easy pitch where the worst I'm going to make is par.
So that's what I meant.  I meant that you can get ahead of yourself and it can feel like it's two rounds in one.

Q.  You told us yesterday, it's hard to sleep on a lead.  How do you deal with that?  What do you do between rounds?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Well, yesterday, by the time I got home, I was going to bed an hour later to get up.¬† Now, I think they are late tee‑‑ if I remember, it was after two o'clock on the weekend here last year.
I feel comfortable this week.  I haven't really felt very nervous.  I've felt in a good place.  Certain shots, certain putts; you get on 12 tee, you're always going to have your blood running.
I felt good.  I slept well last night.  Going to be just hanging with friends and family and taking it easy and hopefully just acting like nothing's going on (laughter) and just get ready for tomorrow, understanding that this is just the halfway point.
Anybody in this field that's playing well is capable of possibly shooting 14‑under the last two rounds, and I've got to be able to counter that with better than how they are doing right now.

Q.  This golf course can intimidate, and for young guys, it's usually a long learning curve.  Curious why you think you've jumped the curve.
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't know.  Seems like there's been quite a few guys that have had success at a young age here.  I think Seve won it when he was 23, and Tiger at 21.  And obviously I'm not comparing myself to those guys in any way; but I'm saying, it's only taken them a time or two to figure it out to get into contention and to close out the tournament.
It means that it can be done.  Why for me?  Maybe, I would just go back to, I got the awe factor out over six months before I even played the first time here.  I got here and obviously the awe factor is always there at the Masters.  But to get here and to play rounds ahead of time; to play the golf course that I grew up watching and admired; and after getting into contention last year and seeing what Sunday in the final group was like, now it feels more like a regular event.
I think just having the experience of playing it a few times was all I needed to feel that way.

Q.  When you got to your ball on 8 in the bunker, what did you have there and did it look like you were going to be making 4?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† No.¬† When I hit the tee shot, I played a draw off the bunker, and I knew that if I just hit it hard and straight, that that wind would take it and it would go in the lip.¬† Because I hit the same exact shot on Tuesday‑‑ or Monday.¬† It went right up in the lip of the bunker.¬† It's my driver's perfect distance to where I can't carry it and it gets right in front of it.
I got into it and it had come back, but it had not come back enough to where I could get even a wedge struck solid on it.¬† It was sitting up against kind of where it was like a rake print almost just from, whatever, from how the bunker was originally done this morning.¬† I knew I actually couldn't get a clean strike on the ball, even with like a 60‑degree, given the angle I would have had to go in on it.
I took a 52‑degree on it and told Michael, this isn't going more than 20 yards.¬† I just needed to get it out.¬† At that point, it really didn't matter.¬† I was actually left with a good hybrid number and hit one of the better hybrids I've ever hit, to hit right on that line that we were looking at.
I've seen the replay since.  I saw where it landed and rolled to, so it was nice to get the break, because if it lands five yards further, it's towards the back edge of the green.
No, I didn't think I was going to make four.  I was really hoping for five and stole a shot there.  If only I could hit my tee shot where that second shot went.

Q.  Billy was shaking his head when you hit that third shot in there.  What did he say to you when you came up that ridge?
JORDAN SPIETH:  What did he say?  I don't know.  I'm trying to narrow down all the things Billy said today (laughter).
It was‑‑ oh, Micah, his caddie was walking up with us, and he goes, "Man, that was good even for you," or something like that (laughter).¬† No, we were messing with each other today.¬† It was good fun.¬† Would have liked to see a couple of his putts lip in.¬† He had a couple 90‑degreers, but it was all good fun.
Just like I said yesterday, I was really happy about the pairing this week.  I really like playing alongside both of those guys.

Q.  How was the crowd with you today?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Great.¬† Yeah, it started out from the get‑go, it was fantastic, and then as we made our move to the back nine, it just got bigger and bigger.
16 was cool.  It was a sea of people.  I got standing ovations walking to multiple greens.  I mean, that's something you can only dream about.  It's Friday, too.  I'd like to have the same thing happening on Sunday.  Got a lot of work to do before that happens, but to see the Patrons here are what makes this tournament so special, and they were great.  It was a lot of fun.

Q.  You mentioned family.  Is your sister here?
JORDAN SPIETH:  She's not.

Q.¬† How often‑‑ did you speak with her today?¬† How often do you talk to her?
JORDAN SPIETH:  On a tournament week, I talk to her every other day or something.  When I call my parents, she's with them.
My parents are here.  She's staying with friends this week, which is where she goes when they come to the few events they come to without her.
Yeah, I don't know if I'll talk to her tonight or not.  Probably.  But I'm sure she's having a good time, and loving watching the coverage.

Q.¬† It's a small sampling, only six rounds, but you've been out of the top three for only one of those and you'll be leading for the third of those six.¬† I think in a way, even though that's not a lot of experience, it's enough experience to feel comfortable just in that‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I think so.¬† Yeah, I think so.¬† I mean, like I was just saying, I have felt very comfortable this week.¬† I felt similar to the way I just felt the last couple weeks as I was contending, and I think that has to do with having‑‑ seeing putts go in out here and understanding that I feel like the golf course plays to my game.¬† Yeah, I mean, that's probably it.

Q.  You're used to playing in the afternoons here, that's for sure.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's nice to get some sleep, and this third week in a row of being in contention, it kind of wears on you, so it will nice to get a good night's sleep.

Q.  You looked pretty upset on18 after you missed the birdie putt.
JORDAN SPIETH:  I think "upset" may be the wrong word (laughter), but I wanted it bad.

Q.  What word would you pick?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, I was surprised, is a better word, just on that specific putt.  I wasn't trying to make a statement or reach a certain point.  Didn't know what any of these scores meant in history or anything like that.  I just knew I had a good look at birdie and had a good read on it, and it was just like 9, barely off.  It's a tricky pin there.  It's kind of a little valley effect.
Henrik's ball breaks off to the right pretty good and from down the hill, mine should break right some.¬† I just put it on the edge and it never left it.¬† Still hit a good putt.¬† I'm okay with mis‑reads.

Q.  You stepped back after 18, that final putt; did you just want to collect yourself?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, I was a little outside the comfort zone.¬† I didn't want to force anything at that point.¬† I had an awkward stance with Henrik's line, and there just was no point‑‑ there was no point ‑‑ I was going to make it if I stepped off, and there was no point in allowing anything else to happen.¬† Surprised I did step off, though (laughter).

Q.  You had a little bit of a wait on 15.  Was that difficult?  Did you have to block any thoughts out?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Did we have a wait hitting the second shot?

Q.¬† Just when Henrik had‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, okay.  The only problem was that I had to use the restroom, and so sitting around waiting, sitting around not moving for that long didn't help (laughter).  But that was the only problem I had in my head (laughter).

Q.  Following up, can you share how or if your sister has shaped your perspective and competition life in general?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, she's the funniest member of our family.¬† I enjoy‑‑ I really love when she's able to be out there, love spending time with her.¬† It's humbling to see her and her friends and the struggles they go through each day that we take for granted.¬† Their kind of lack of patience or understanding, where it seems easy for us and it's not for them.
But at the same time, they are the happiest people in the world; and when I say they, I speak to special needs kids.  And my experience with her and in her class and with her friends, it's fantastic.  I love being a part of it and helping support it.

Q.  You've talked to your ball as much or more than anybody out here; where did it come from and does it work?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't try to.  Sure, sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.  I don't really try to.  I mean, I guess it's just the competitor in me, just wanting it sometimes.
The less I do, the better off I am, of just hitting it.  I'm not going to be able to control it.  It's just a will, a desire I guess.  I'd like to think I don't do it the most of anybody, but if that's the case, then maybe I should dial it down a little bit.

Q.  No, it's great.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, at the same time, though, just go through the motions, hit the shots, hit it to my spots and whatever it's going to do, it's going to do.

Q.  You mentioned that Crenshaw had been a mentor to you.  Was there a time that you thought about something he told you like during the practice round or whatever out there in your 130 total in the last two days?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, I had a putt on 17 yesterday‑‑ there's been a few.¬† But the first one that comes to mind, I had a putt on 17 yesterday, which he told me to hit from a certain spot, which happens to be the spot that I hit it to yesterday.¬† And he said, "Just watch how quick this is."¬† And I hit a few putts thinking, oh, it's not that fast‑‑ or, okay, I'll hit it softly to show him I know the speed or whatever.¬† Still hit it four feet past a couple times.¬† And I get into the tournament and I still hit it three feet past yesterday.
But I knew it was going to be quick and I played it softer than I originally would have and it allowed me to have two feet instead of five or six.
Gave me a little advice on putts‑‑ on where he thinks putts go versus where everyone else thinks putts go.¬† I'd rather not share that (laughter).¬† But it's been helpful, for sure, on shorter putts and ones where you've got to really commit to a line outside the hole and trust it.¬† It's been very helpful.
It's all been speed‑based on the greens with his advice, and everything else we were talking about, which is the differences in how the course played back in his heyday and now.
MODERATOR:  Thanks, Jordan, and good luck the rest of the week.

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