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April 11, 2015

Jordan Spieth


MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We are pleased to welcome Jordan Spieth to our interview room.
Jordan, in his second Masters appearance finished the third round with a 70 that included seven birdies.  He is currently 16‑under par for the tournament.  Jordan is presently four strokes ahead of the field, recording rounds of 64‑66‑70.
His 54‑hole score of 200 is the lowest in Masters Tournament history.  Breaking the record of 201 set by Raymond Floyd in 1976 and Tiger Woods in 1997.
Before we open it up to questions, do you want to take us through your round a little bit?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Sure, yeah.  When I look back today, 2‑under I thought would be a good score.  The guys off early, when I was eating lunch, they were making birdies and still looked receptive and some pin positions you could take advantage of.  But I knew that something under par would be a good round.  The greens kind of baked up and got quick and slippery.
Obviously being 4‑under at one point in the round and closing it out at 2‑under is disappointing.  Obviously would have liked to have finished the round a little bit better, but also could have been worse and very pleased with that up‑and‑down on 18 that may have been a 1‑in‑5.  That just took some guts, and having been in this scenario or having been in contention enough, having been on Tour for a few years, I felt comfortable enough playing that full flop.
If you caught me a year and a half ago, I probably never would have played that shot in that scenario.  So it was nice to have seen that go that way, to play the aggressive play, and to close it out with a nice putt.
So seeing any putts go in on 18 is nice.  I would like to have maybe a couple of them tomorrow.

Q.  What were your emotions like on 17 and 18, just as you were going through that, and how big do you think that putt was for your mind‑set?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It was really big.  It was huge.  It was one of the bigger putts I've ever hit.  I was very frustrated.  I didn't do any scoreboard watching until maybe like 15, because it's just right there.  Just looked up and I had birdied 15, 16, and then I knew that I had‑‑ I was six clear, and two pars were good scores on the last two holes.
We knew 17 was a par hole.  Should have never‑‑ driver should never have come out of my bag at that point.  Not that I'm playing any differently than if I were tied or behind, but it's a downwind hole.  I was getting a little erratic with the driver and I can hit 3‑wood, 8‑iron in there and have a 20‑footer to 2‑putt.  I was very frustrated with that decision, given I don't want decision making to ever cost me in an event like this.  So that's frustrating.
But got up there to 18.  I think I took enough time looking at that chip shot to really calm myself down and pick the right play and just trust it.  When I hit the shot and went down there, I had a putt that was a little tricky, but I had full trust in it breaking to the right, and Michael had a great read there.

Q.  You said you took time to calm yourself down.  Were you also doubting whether it was a full flop or something else?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, the play up until, really, the last second‑‑ I got up there and took a swing like a flop, like a practice swing.  And then after that from there on, I liked bumping it down the hill, and it would give myself probably 15 feet or 20 feet.
It wasn't a great lie.  I didn't deserve a good lie by any means, but it wasn't a great lie, a little grass behind the ball.  And if it were downgrain, if it were mowed downgrain to the green, I could just kind of bump something pretty short and it would just funnel on that grass all the way down.  But because it's mowed into the grain here, it still wouldn't even go all the way down that hill.
I felt like the bump was just as tricky given it would be tough to judge; plus, if it took a big hop, it could go over the green.  And if it hit a little short, it could be short.
The reason I chose a flop was because if it comes out solid, it's going to fly to pin‑high and then it's going to go maybe ten, 15 feet past the hole.  And if it comes out the way I want it to, which is just a little heavy with that grass behind it, it's going to land halfway down that hill and it could be really good.  It came out just how I expected.

Q.  Great round.  Curious what you learned about yourself, you talked about it briefly, but into the day and then especially the last few holes, how do you take that into tomorrow?
JORDAN SPIETH:  A little anxious, but I actually felt more comfortable than I thought I would.  It's just so hard.  I think I finished my round 24 hours before I started my next round; and with a big lead, that's tough.  I was just anxious to get started, but when I got out there and saw a couple putts go in, I felt really comfortable.  And that's good.
I mean, that gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.  I think it's a new position‑‑ it was a new position for me and I feel like tomorrow I'm going to approach‑‑ it's not like Saturday versus Sunday should make any difference to me.
So hopefully‑‑ what I learned about myself is that I saw a lot of putts go in today.  That's something in the weekend under pressure that's kind of hurt me a little bit, and recently I've been making a lot of putts.
The downside of it was that I had to make a lot of putts today with five dropped shots, and I'm not going to be able to have that tomorrow.  I can't rely on my mid‑range putts.  I can't rely on the putter that much to save me with two major champions right behind.
They are going to bring their game and I've got to make‑‑ I've got to have a relatively stress‑free round going; and when I say that, I mean give myself some tap‑in pars and not have to make so many putts.

Q.  You were in this position, of course, a year ago, albeit now with a four‑shot lead.  How much will you lean on the experience of that Sunday and what, if anything, will you try to take from that that you will use tomorrow?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I'll just take patience.  I think I've said it each day in here and before the tournament:  There's going to be roars.  Phil is going to have a lot of roars in front.  Obviously a few groups up I think is Tiger and Rory‑‑ I don't know if they are together‑‑

Q.  They are.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Well, you're going to hear something there (laughter).
But especially in the group in front of us, everyone loves Phil.  Why wouldn't you love Phil?  And he's going to make some noise and he's going to make a run.
In our group, Justin is going to do the same and Charley is going to do the same.  It's about just throwing those out of my mind, not worrying about it, not caring, setting a goal and being patient with the opportunities that are going to come my way.
I feel comfortable with the way I'm striking it.  My putting stroke feels good.  14 and‑‑ what did I have, three 3‑putts today I think, and a couple that caught the center of the hole that may have given me four or five feet left.  So all in all, I've got to watch my speed and just have enough patience tomorrow.

Q.  How difficult was that pitch at 17 and what was kind of going through your mind as things were unraveling a little?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I hit what I thought was the smart shot out of the tree which is short right.  The reason you want to be short right there is because that green slopes that way; and if you're left, it's a tricky pitch shot.
I thought it was going to get far enough up to be on the flat or on the upslope and I just hit a basic chip shot up there hopefully within five feet.
When I got up there, it was on the downslope, and it's into the grain, which means that it's hard to judge exactly how it's going to come out.  It's hard to judge the trajectory, as well.  If I pitched it into the first false front, that would be‑‑ if it were tomorrow and I was in the same position, I would have hit that shot, because no matter what, it's going to be on the green but it's going to be probably 15, 20 feet.
Today, I felt like I could fly that, but I had to have enough spin on it because the greens were crusty, or else it would have just bounded over, and you can't be long.  So it's a really hard shot.
When I got up there and saw it, no part of me liked it.  And I just barely, I think, caught the ground right at the ball and it had to be struck perfectly to be a good shot.  It was harder than 18 probably, or about the same.

Q.  You've talked about how you've gotten these greens and gotten the hang of them in a very short time in your career.  Do they remind you at all of any greens of your youth or why do you think that's happened?
JORDAN SPIETH:  They don't.  No, they are different.  I don't know necessarily.  I like faster greens and more slope and having imagination, having to‑‑ not saying this is two balls out left, but seeing that curve and seeing where it's going to roll around, that's the way I like to putt.
A lot of times when you get flatter greens or the ones that are not as fast, technical putters putt better.  Those are not my style.  I like to be able to find and pinpoint the high point of a line and then judge the speed off that, or vice versa I guess.

Q.  Not that it's a great choice with two Major winners right on your heels, but Phil has won here three times and you played last year with Bubba in the final round.  Is there almost a bit of relief that it's not the three‑time green jacket winner that's in the final pairing with you, or does that really even matter?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, I would have enjoyed playing with Phil.  I've played with Justin last week, so that's nice.  Wouldn't have made much of a difference to me.  Just maybe would have been a little bit louder (laughter).  But other than that, that's about it.
MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jordan, and good luck tomorrow.

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