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May 19, 2015

Jordan Spieth


THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth into the interview room here at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.  Our current FedExCup leader.  He has two wins already, of course, winning the green jacket there at the Masters tournament and also his win at the Valspar Championship.  Jordan, welcome back to Colonial.  If we can get your thoughts.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah.  I'm very excited.  I feel like I got my feet under me this past week.  Unfortunately I had a week and a half off.  Don't really like taking weekends off.
But I got to get to work early in the week.  Normally I take Monday, Tuesday off in an off week.  I had Saturday and Sunday kind of to rest.  So a little extra time to prepare.
I feel like my energy is up; my weight's back up.  I'm excited for these two weeks, and this is going to be a really fun stretch.  To come back home with the green jacket and be introduced like that is really special.  It's where it really starts to hit me kind of what it means.  And you know, I'm very excited.
Colonial is a place that's special to me.  I've played it a couple of years, had success here.  Very comfortable on the golf course, and you know, hopefully the weather holds up, but I know that the grass is healthy, so it's going to be playing the way we want it to play; thick rough, tough challenging conditions, and I think that's what everyone is looking for.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Great.  We'll go right into questions.

Q.  Jordan, can you talk specifically about some of the stuff that you've done from playing off and what are the coolest types of things that have happened with the green jacket since the Masters win?
JORDAN SPIETH:  You mean in this last week?

Q.  Yeah.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah.  So I've been in the gym.  I've been with my instructor.  Mainly practiced.  I played a little bit, but I've spent a lot of time on the practice green and on the practice range trying to get a couple of moves down that we wanted to get down before this next stretch.  Obviously these few events and then the U.S. Open coming up.
So I went to Baltimore for the Preakness kind of pre‑festivities with Under Armour.¬† It's a big weekend for them.¬† So I went up there Thursday and came back Saturday morning.¬† I didn't stay for the race, which by the weather it looked like that was probably a good decision.
So we came back and got back to work that afternoon, Saturday afternoon with Cameron, and from there I've just been practicing.  So not much has gone on other than resting and kind of getting my game right and my body right, and I feel like I've had a nice stretch getting ready.

Q.  You mentioned a minute ago obviously the physical preparation for these weeks and kind of getting back to practice, but you mentioned being introduced as the Masters champion here at home for these two weeks.  Do you have to mentally prepare yourself for that, not to kind of take it for what it is and be able to move forward?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I think that sinks in more outside the ropes.  Obviously the first tee shot when I'm introduced, it's going to feel really cool with the crowds that we'll experience these two weeks.  But then once I step over the ball all that's in my head is I need to play better than I've played the last couple of weeks.
I obviously put expectations on myself this year for these events, as I do every year.  That's not a negative thing.  That's positive.  I focus as if they're major championships, and that's how I approach them ahead of time.  So there's nothing better than playing well in front of your hometown family and friends.  So I'm going to try and do a little bit better this year than I have in the past couple of years.  But still obviously can very much enjoy what it means to come back with the green jacket, but try and enjoy that off the course.

Q.  Jordan, obviously coming here and having Mr.Hogan as part of this tournament, there's a big Texas legacy with golf here.  And I think you're the first major winner born in Texas since '97, I think.  Do you feel some certain amount of responsibility, I don't know if responsibility is the word, but just to carry that legacy?  How do you feel about that?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Not necessarily, no.  I'm just go about my business setting goals and trying to accomplish them.  Maybe 30 years down the road when I look back, hopefully that's what happened.  If I can accomplish the goals I set out to do, because I set lofty ones for myself.  But there's no carrying the torch or added, you know, title, I don't think.
It's an honor to have been born in this great state, be from this great state, spent my whole life here, and to be back playing here, the Texas tournaments on TOUR next year, we'll have five of them.  This year we have four of them.  It's really cool to be able to play in the home state.  I haven't won a professional event in my home state.  So that would be a nice goal to go for, but other than that I don't think there's anything added to it.

Q.  Jordan, just doing a story on clutch on the golf course.  When you hear people say he's clutch on the course, what does that mean to you, and also, do you think you're clutch on the golf course?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I think that‑‑ try not to pay attention to that, because that's all relative.¬† That's all based on whoever is saying it.¬† And sometimes people know what the‑‑ come from experience.¬† Sometimes people that say that come from experience, and most of the time they don't as far as having experience on the golf course in big professional events, or whatever it is, big amateur events, junior events.¬† Think that clutch is an interesting word that I think might be overused.¬† I think that‑‑ yeah, I think that for me‑‑ for me what the word means is, personally, is when I get out on the course and I'm feeling pressure, do I have a positive reinforcement, a positive memory to look back on where I felt that pressure and succeeded.¬† That's what I would think of when I think of clutch.
Now, you know, can I look back on a putt at the Masters, if I have the same style of putt and I'm feeling pressure, can I look back on a putt that I made there on what I felt like the biggest stage in golf, or the Ryder Cup or whatever it is, that's what I think of.
When you see a person who is coming down the stretch and they maybe make a bogey on the last three holes and they don't win the tournament because of that, it doesn't mean they're not clutch.  It means that in that setting it wasn't their day.  There's just so much that has to go right to win a golf tournament.
So I think that it's tricky.  When you use the word clutch and choke, kind of on opposite ends, a person is either going to be clutch or choke, I think that's wrong.  I think that it's positive experience, if it doesn't work out.  I certainly had plenty of times last year where I was told or I saw or I heard, "he can't close it out.  He's not clutch.  He can't finish.  He's not going to be able to win this tournament because he's in the lead."  I mean all it was is positive experience for them when I'm in the experience next time, I'm a little more comfortable and I was able to close them out.  And that's just what it is for everybody.
You get a lot of guys that it's tough to start to win and to feel like you know how to win out here.¬† I still don't feel like I know how to win on a consistent basis.¬† My last six months have been‑‑ with four wins, that's great.¬† But still, it's still not a comfortable position.¬† I don't know if it's comfortable for just about anybody.¬† But I think it's a word that might be a little overused.

Q.  Couple questions.  Real quick, you mentioned getting your weight back up.  How much weight did you lose?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Typically I‑‑ I mean if I'm on a stretch of four weeks, I can lose five, six pounds.¬† I started the year‑‑ I was probably down almost 10 pounds from my first event of the year by the end of Hilton Head, and then been working back up, and I'm almost back to where we were at the beginning of the year.¬† When I'm home it's a lot easier to keep weight on versus when you're traveling.

Q.  And then secondly, I was talking to Mark Harrison from the Northern Texas PGA.  And I know you announced even before the Masters an affiliation with the Drive, Chip and Putt.  And he said that there's been a spike in local kids signing up since the Masters.  I wondered if you had a sense of that.  And then also, is that important to you?  And then also, was there someone when you were coming up, was there a local pro doing well that maybe inspired you as well?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah.  Mr.Harrison has been a great guy to know, one of the best guys I've ever met, one of the nicest guys, doing a lot for junior golf.  It's an honor to be a part of what they're doing at the North Texas Amateur Drive, Chip and Putt.  Love supporting it, ever since I was out on Sunday, the Sunday prior to the 2014 Masters, and I witnessed what their championship was of the whole Drive, Chip and Putt.  Go through the local events to make it to that level, I thought it was so cool to see the kids' faces at Augusta, the ones that were making the chips or bombing the drives.  They were so pumped.  It was cool, and I wanted to be part of it.  I'm glad that we are.
We didn't have that when I was‑‑ on that level when I was those kids' age.¬† But as far as pros that I looked up to when I was young, sure, there was a lot of local guys.¬† I mean Justin Leonard won the British Open, and he was, for somebody that lives in Dallas County, he was the guy that you look up to as a major champion and a University of Texas alum, and kind of went through the whole Dallas to Texas to Dallas.¬† Same thing I did.¬† He obviously was a little smarter than me, stayed for four years and got his degree.
But yeah, I mean he was a guy that I always looked up to, and it's been great to get to know him out on TOUR, and a lot of these junior golfers that there is a spike that's really cool.¬† I'm aware of it, and there's going to be a lot of‑‑ I think a lot of professionals in the coming years that come out of Dallas/Fort Worth.¬† It's a great‑‑ or really out of the state of Texas.¬† It's arguably the strongest state right now as far as junior golf goes, and that's really cool.

Q.  Jordan, your career is being assailed at this young age with comparisons to the career of a young Tiger Woods.  Do you spend any time at all either reading those comparisons or what's your feeling about that?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No.  I didn't even know that my putt on the 72nd hole of the Masters was to break his record.  No, I try to stay away from that.
Again, it goes back to what I was saying earlier.¬† We have goals as a team that we set.¬† We set lofty ones to try and accomplish them, try not to compare to anybody else.¬† There's a lot of short‑term and a lot of long‑term goals that I have yet to work hard for, and that's all that I really focus on.¬† I try not to read or watch anything, strictly because, again, it's very tough for somebody to put into perspective if you haven't had the experience yourself, and so it's tough, because sometimes it's worded differently.¬† And I experienced it when I was in junior golf, reading and maybe looking at videos and all this of what people are saying about comparisons to different players, and it didn't make much sense to me, so I just kind of swore off of it then.

Q.¬† Jordan, you obviously are very familiar with this place.¬† You're also very familiar with the weather we've been having lately and the words firm and fast aren't likely to come up a lot this week like they would ideally hope it to.¬† Does that change your mindset, and could this be a record‑setting type week?¬† Do you need to be more aggressive mentally attacking this course this week, with what looks like we're going to have weather wise?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I'm not sure yet.¬† I haven't been on the course yet.¬† But I would imagine so.¬† I think it's going to be easier to hit fairways because one of the harder parts when this is firm and fast is holding the fairway.¬† So it's going to be easier to hit fairways, but I think if you don't hit the fairway, it's going to really‑‑ the rough's going to be‑‑ I would imagine the rough's going to be very healthy.¬† You're going to have to judge if it's going to come out fat or if it's going to come out as a flyer.¬† And if you get above the hole around here, it doesn't matter if they're wet or not, they're going to be fast, and you're going to struggle.
So it's still going to be a test.¬† I think that, yes, I think that the scores, if it's moist, they'll be lower.¬† I don't know about record‑setting, but doesn't really change much about the tournament, though.¬† It doesn't make it any‑‑ it still doesn't make it a bomber's course.¬† It doesn't make it favor I don't think any type of player.¬† It's just going to be more of a premium on hitting fairway.

Q.  Colonial has made accommodations to make sure that the Jesuit family and a lot of alumni will be here.  How will that enhance this week for you?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I think it's really cool.  I read about that.  Someone had told me.  But I think it's awesome to have more and more support.  You know, next week will be nuts being in Dallas.  This week's going to be crazy as well.
I'm expecting a lot of‑‑ I know there will be a lot of my family and friends.¬† I've got family coming in from out of town, too, for these couple of weeks.¬† So all in all, the more support, I think that I can have, the easier it'll be to feed off the crowd.¬† It's going to be fun.
This tournament, too, it's cool because the crowds can often see a lot of holes, kind of move over, see a lot of different holes quickly and see a lot of groups.¬† It's kind of an easier spectator course as far as getting across fairways.¬† So it'll be‑‑ there will be roars all over.¬† It'll be echoing.

Q.  The toughest part about accommodating everybody who's coming in?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah.  It's all positive, but that's what's changed since the Masters.  You just don't have as much time and you can't please everybody, and that's the hardest part for me.  But it's all positive.  Everything that's happened since the support that we've had it great.  I don't feel like I have a need to accommodate everybody.  I'm here to do my job.  I'm here to win this tournament this week, and I'm just going to prepare the way that I know I've had to prepare in the past in order to win tournaments.
So it'll be really fun off the course.  It'll be really fun after the rounds, but preround and in these practice days I'm going to stay grinding and stay focused.

Q.  Jordan, you mentioned playing like the juniors and things like that, but there's been some concern amongst the USGA about declining numbers amongst millennials playing golf.  What do you think golf can do to try to attract more younger golfers, more younger athletes, more younger people back to the game just in general?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I think what they're doing now, I think the push with all of the governing‑‑ the major governing bodies, the five governing bodies of professional golf and of‑‑ really of golf coming together to push this youth movement is going to help.¬† This is just kind of recent.¬† I think that younger players playing better on TOUR helps.¬† I think that tournaments giving exemptions to aspiring professionals that are at the top of their class in junior golf, amateur golf, I think that's important, because in no other sport do you see somebody that is taking final exams at their high school also going out on Thursday and playing alongside the best players in the world in what this he do and testing their game against that.
For me, you know, that was huge for me, and I know that that pushed a lot of my friends in order to get those exemptions as well, and now they've worked their way out here.¬† I think the more you can kind of see pushes from tournaments to give younger players starts, if that's possible, that also helps grow the game as far as‑‑ I say at the high school level.¬† And younger than that, I think the push is‑‑ drive chip and putt is huge.¬† I mean for kids to be able to go to the Masters and get on the greens at Augusta, Augusta National and the range and the facilities, I mean that would have been something I would have worked my butt off for to try and have that opportunity.
So I think they're doing a good job.¬† I mean it's in our hands, too.¬† I mean the younger players, you know, we want to help‑‑ we want to do our job, and I feel like that'll make a difference, too.¬† If you see guys that are coming out and able to compete quickly.

Q.  Jordan, I was just wondering if you had the green jacket hanging in any kind of special place and how many requests that you think you might have to display it publicly the next couple of weeks?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't think there will be any requests publicly.  It's just in my closet.  I think it's sandwiched between a couple of shirts.
I know exactly where it is, though.  And yeah, I go in there, I look at it, pull it out here and there and just kind of, you know, kind of just hold it as if it's the greatest trophy that I've ever had, because it is.
But other than that, nothing too special.

Q.  During the Masters telecast, I seem to recall Faldo making mention of Michael Greller's rugged good looks.  He's getting a lot of air time, a lot of publicity.  I'm wondering how he's handling his celebrity.
JORDAN SPIETH:  He's got a huge head.  It's grown.  He's got a big head.  We're trying to dial it down.

Q.  Do you foresee him doing commercials like Fluff Cowan did, popping out of suitcases and stuff like that?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Probably not.

Q.  In a more serious, what does he mean to your success?  How does he factor in to your success?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Mike's my right‑hand man.¬† He's the guy on course that is the only one that can help influence what happens.¬† He has to‑‑ with all the basics that he has to do, which isn't easy, he also has to be the one that's kind of in command looking, making sure that we're playing the right shots, making sure that he knows what position we're in, because often I don't want to know.¬† I just want to stay away from the boards, worry about birdieing the next hole.¬† And he has to step in sometimes, you know, if there's a wind gust that he doesn't like when I'm over the ball, he pulls me off.
He's very assertive.  That's what we've been working for.  There was kind of a change in how we worked in between Doral and Tampa.  We had a long meeting and a long talk, and we just wanted to kind of get it together what I'm looking for, how can he help me more on the course.  And that week we ended up winning, and we kind of found a good rhythm there that led into the next, you know, three weeks, too.
So everything's good with Mike.  He's doing a great job for me, and each week we're learning a little bit more, still are.  I mean it's still early out here on TOUR, and there's more and more to learn.  So it's nice to come back to a place that we've seen a couple times, though, these next couple weeks.  It's good to be at a familiar place because it takes a little less pressure off of more of the basic side of what he's doing, getting the numbers, knowing where the misses are, and he can focus more on kind of the mental side of it.

Q.  Jordan, obviously the schedule is what the schedule is, but traditionally the Colonial comes after the Nelson, so traditionally you'd be going to Nelson before Colonial.  How much the way things have worked out coming home as Masters champion, and you mentioned a minute ago next week is going to be even a little crazier.  Did it work out kind of good this year that it kind of flip flopped?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I don't think it made much of a difference.¬† Yeah, I don't‑‑ actually, maybe prefer it this way this year, just because then I‑‑ I mean I'm out here and then I can go back home, versus sometimes, you know, if I'm off in the morning rounds out here, I stay out here.¬† And so that's almost like you're traveling to an event any ways, even though the feeling once you start playing is like you're home.¬† You're still not in your own bed.
So it'll be, I think, nice, almost feeling like I'm away, then I'm back home, then I'm away again.  So I kind of like the change this year, but I don't think it'll make much of a difference.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Jordan Spieth.  Thank you, sir.

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