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August 5, 2015

Jordan Spieth


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome Jordan Spieth here to the media center at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational. Jordan, second time, I believe, playing here in this event. If you could, just some opening comments on being back at Firestone Country Club.

JORDAN SPIETH: This is an incredible place, one of the most well manicured golf courses in the world and one of the courses with the fastest greens we putt on all year. It's a big meaty course. It's a tough one. I struggled with it last year. Just looking to really improve on that and see if we can get ourselves into contention this weekend. It's going to take some really strong driving of the golf ball to put ourselves in good enough position to hold these greens. From there, it's not over. Tee to green, I think it's a really good prep for next week, and the greens putt similar. These may even have a little bit more slope on them. So I think it's really good major prep, but at the same time, this is a World Golf Championship. This is a huge event. This is one that everyone wants to have on their resume, and there's certainly other goals that come out of trying to win this week too for me personally. So ultimately, we're working really hard for this one to try and grab the No. 1 slot.

Q. Jordan, what would it mean to win here and be No. 1 in the world?
JORDAN SPIETH: It would be another -- yet another dream come true for this year. At the beginning of the year, I wanted to work my way up the World Rankings. I didn't think I could be in this position or have this opportunity. I feel blessed with how this year's gone, and we've worked really hard as a team and accomplished so many goals. To reset them and have yet another one to work really hard for is special. Obviously, we all want Rory back ASAP. I saw the video he posted today too, and it looks like he's making tremendous progress. So hopefully, he's back soon. To not make it, to not have a chance to at least fight for it himself, which is what we all want -- and it would be really, really incredible at the end of this week if I was able to hold that trophy and have that position going forward.

Q. Sort of following on that, has there been any difficulty in trying to reset goals? I mean, certainly after winning any of what you've -- accomplishing anything of what you've done so far, you might want to sit back and enjoy it a little bit. So do you have to regroup and set them higher? Or how have you approached that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think it is an interesting fine line. How do you enjoy it, and how do you rebound? After the Masters, I really wanted to not have a lull, whether it be the rest of the summer, the rest of the year, or even further. I wanted to -- I played the next week and fought hard. I was worn out by the end of that week. And then by the time Match Play, PLAYERS came around -- I played well at the Match Play, missed the cut at the PLAYERS, and then sat back and said, okay, now we really need to regroup. We need to work hard for these next majors so that we can possibly do something special. The U.S. Open, really Muirfield, the end of Colonial, Muirfield, U.S. Open were really good finishes to prove that, as a team, we weren't settling, and that was special. Then I knew right after the U.S. Open, how to learn from what happened after the Masters, to then be ready sooner, and the John Deere proved that. So I'm hoping to kind of prove, coming off of this last major, that I've got like kind of a little bit of revenge that I need to get out from having control of The Open Championship with two holes to go and not closing it out. That leaves kind of a bad taste in my mouth, not because of the third in a row, but strictly because you don't get many opportunities to contend in a major, in an Open Championship at St. Andrews in your life. So to have that chance and to feel like I was the one in control and to not finish it is a tough feeling, and it was a tough feeling on that flight home, especially with Zach and the Jug there. I wish that it was in my possession there and not his. But, yeah, re-establishing goals, first and foremost, this week. I've also got a big one next week. There's also a FedExCup winner at the end of the TOUR Championship, and there's a No. 1 spot up for grabs. As long as I look at it that way, there's still a lot to work hard for and play for and reset.

Q. Can you talk about your scouting trip to Whistling Straits. And will you be extra cautious whenever you get near any type of sand on that golf course?
JORDAN SPIETH: When I get near any type of sand?

Q. Sand, yeah.
JORDAN SPIETH: Really? I really enjoyed the golf course. We got there on Sunday, and it was a cold front coming through. It was blowing 30 -- it was blowing almost as hard as The Open Championship when it was suspended. A couple holes, the ball was moving as it stopped on greens. So it was about as hard as I think I can imagine seeing the course, which has its advantages and disadvantages. So we got called off after 14 holes. So I didn't see the last four because the storm -- this crazy storm was coming in. But we had a great -- I had a great time scouting it. Michael was there. We learned a lot. We learned a lot about the sight lines. The second day, Gary woodland and Justin Thomas came over, and we played us three. We played a full 18 in some beautiful conditions. I really enjoy it. I think it's a ball striker's golf course. I think it's one, tee to green, you just have to be very special. Greens in regulation might be the most important stat next week. Around the greens, they're not too tricky to putt. They're subtle. There's not crazy ridges. It's not exactly like St. Andrews. If you're on the green on a lot of these holes, you're going to have a decent look at birdie if you're on the center of the green. And that's going to be the goal. There's going to be -- really controlling your distances to the green is going to be important to leave the ball in the center. But we had a good time with it. I thought it was a phenomenal golf course. I think No. 5 is an interesting hole. It doesn't really go with the rest of the course, but that's going to be a pivotal hole too in the tournament as one of the par 5s.

Q. And those bunkers?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, the bunkers, they were -- some of them had a lot of sand, and some had no sand. I was told ahead of time that every bunker is going to be played as a sand trap versus the rest of the year they play them as waste bunkers. But they were working on them at the time. So I saw a little bit of both. I saw a lot of sand. I saw some rocky bases. So I'm not exactly sure what to expect out of the sand. But to be honest, there's a number of those bunkers that are better to hit into than the rough that's right off the fairway. So I'm not exactly trying to avoid those like we tried to at The Open Championship, because they're not necessarily a hazard depending on where you go.

Q. Jordan, you've had a number of close calls this year that you've been able to bounce back from pretty quickly. What's been the balancing act like for you the past couple of weeks in terms of trying to put St. Andrews behind you and, like you said, maintain that fire and the revenge to try to bounce back?
JORDAN SPIETH: The U.S. Open, I took off a little over a week without touching a club before coming back. This time, I only took off a few days. Actually, two days. We landed late Monday night, and then by Thursday afternoon I was back with my coach. So it was different. I didn't like the extra time it took for me to feel really comfortable controlling the golf ball by the time the British Open started -- The Open Championship. Sorry. Coming back this time, I wanted to -- I knew, coming to this golf course, what this was like. When you go to TPC Deere Run, you can get away with some misses. It's not as challenging of a golf course as Firestone. I knew coming here, in order to be on top of my game, to get into contention -- and, again, just like I mentioned before, The Open Championship, to feel the pressure and see the tendencies, good and bad, that I'm into right before a major championship is important. So getting in contention this week is extremely important and how I'm going to finish out this tournament and be prepared for next week. I wanted to be on my best as early as I could, and that's why I changed to only taking a couple days off and working a little bit harder leading up to this.

Q. Jordan, despite your third disappointment at St. Andrews, which you've spoken about, given your incredible eight months this last season, do you find golf easy at the moment? And when you do walk on a golf course, is there anything that scares you?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think there's anything -- no, there's not much that scares me, but I certainly don't think it's easy. It's a game that, even when you feel like you're at your best, that next hole, there's something that makes you think that everything's wrong. It's just, in your head, you've got to be strong enough to have the patience to realize you've been playing well. You're going to continue to fine tune things and hopefully get better and better each week. I don't think it's easy by any means, but -- and I also hope that this isn't -- like I mentioned, when people are talking about this ride through Augusta and they were saying, how about this little wave that you're on? I said, well, I hope it's not. I hope this is normal. And I continue to hope that, that this is normal for me, the way that we've been playing this year. Just a little bit of extra experience on the last couple of years and a little bit of extra discipline as well in our scouting reports and how we map out each course while we're playing it, just going to hope to continue to do so because that's the way to make it easiest for me.

Q. Do you look now at just winning the PGA for the PGA's sake? Or do you still think about the grand slam's over, but there's still a chance to do three majors, which has only been twice? Also, it looked like there were some local caddies in the photos from Whistling, was that just to take the load off of Michael so he could work or some extra insight from those guys?
JORDAN SPIETH: I look at the -- I recognize that there's only been a couple times that people have won three majors in a year, and that would be just such special company. But just like at The Open Championship, when I get there, it's just going to be about that tournament, and that's all that will be on my mind. It will be easier for that to be the only thing on my mind than it was at The Open, not thinking about three in a row, slash grand slam, slash whatever. It will take a little bit off my shoulders, and it will be very easy for me to just focus on it as a tournament. So that part will be a little easier. But, yeah, I think of it as a major championship. I think of it as -- I think, by ranking, it's if not the best, one of the top two best fields in all of golf. So it doesn't make it any easier, and we're going to have to work really hard for it. But all that will be on my mind is that it's the PGA Championship. It will be easier for that to be the only thing on my mind too.

Q. My apologies up front because I've asked you this question, variations before. But if you could elaborate, please, on why the Australian Open win last year was the most important to you and how that kick started this entire thing?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'd argue the Masters was maybe the most important win for me, but I would say the Australian Open victory was very, very, very large for my career. At the time, I was -- at the time, I had given myself a lot of chances in a year and a half without winning and hadn't closed it out, and plenty of talk of just a consistent top 10 player, but doesn't win, doesn't close tournaments out. That stuff was said, that stuff was asked. That's not a fun thing to have asked to you when you feel like you want it so bad. So to come into that Sunday and shoot one of the best or, if not the best round I've ever shot in my life in those conditions and to win that tournament significantly, it was huge. It was a great field - Rory, Adam, J-Day, the list goes on. That win gave me a winning formula. I was able to just get a massive load off my shoulders and just say, okay, it's not a PGA Tour event, but I consider this pretty much the same. And it was then going into next week and validating it at Tiger's event, given it's a limited field, it's still a limited field with the best players in the world. And to go in there and play our best golf there too and just continue that last round of Australia, over the winter break, it made it a lot easier for me to go in than it was I had a five-week break before going into that stretch of Japan, Australia, Tiger's event. And I felt a lot worse that break, when I think about closing tournaments and the last year and a half, than I did going into then the Christmas break leading into the new year.

Q. I know you've been asked a lot in the past about the golfers you emulate or looked up to, but I'm curious now the impact that you're having about your thoughts on the golfers, the young golfers that you are having an impact on. Will there be a Patrick Rogers or some junior golfer -- I know Patrick is actually a year older than you.
JORDAN SPIETH: He's a year and a half older.

Q. But he talked about that at Muirfield, about how what you've done has given him confidence. I'm thinking about him and other young golfers that you might have an impact on. How do you feel about that and your responsibilities?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think it's really cool. I think it's really incredible. It's something that is hard for me to believe still because it just wasn't too long ago that I was a junior golfer coming out to tournaments and watching. As far as these other young professionals, like Patrick or Justin or Daniel, when they say it gives them confidence, that's almost an insult to me. Like, oh, well, then, they think that they can kick my butt. So now that I'm playing good, they're like, oh, I can play good too. I'm kidding. I mean, they want to beat me as bad as I want to beat the next guy, and it's cool to see the transition that these guys in my class that we grew up playing together since we were 12, 13 years old, all being able to make this transition together. It's amazing that you have so many guys now that have either Web.com or PGA Tour or European Tour status from our class. There's, I think, eight or something, which is incredible considering we should have graduated a few months ago. I can't imagine there's been a class that has had that before at our age. So it just speaks to what we've all done for each other growing up, pushing each other to get better and better. As far as growing the game at a younger age, to see and to hear these kids yelling, Jordan, Jordan, come over and sign an autograph, and to see the Under Armour hats and shirts and these kids across the country and even across the world, seeing it in Japan, seeing it in -- a lot of it this year over in the UK and Scotland. It's really cool to see the outreach that we have and that people want to associate themselves with us. It's a really humbling and a really, really cool feeling that we can make this impact, but also you can't take it for granted. These kids are now looking up to you. You need to set a good example on and off the course and the way you do your business to keep growing this game and to -- because ultimately, that's what we want to do. We want to make an impact to where down the road somebody says, I was inspired to play golf by Jordan. That's so cool if that's what is said, and to see that start to take shape with the younger generation on Tour, inspiring these young golfers, it's not me. It's Rory, it's Rickie, so on and so forth. You see these kids wearing -- you see a Puma hat next to a Nike hat, next to an Under Armour hat. It's really awesome to see the impact that these kids are looking up to us and wanting to be in the shoes that we're in, and it makes us not want to take it for granted and to go forward the right way.

Q. Jordan, what reaction, if any, did you have when you saw that the John Deere's going to be up against the Olympics next year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, that -- I think the folks there will understand if I can make that trip to Rio. It's tough. I love the people there. I love the tournament. It's also, with past history, it sets me back a little bit from a tournament that I've played extremely well the last few years, but ultimately, to be an Olympian is just a lifelong dream. It's actually not even a lifelong dream because, as a kid, I didn't think it would be possible because I realized I wasn't as good as the other sports that were in the Olympics and golf wasn't. So I didn't think that would be something I could ever consider myself. To have that opportunity now is just incredible. We're not taking it lightly. I think it would be one of the most tremendous honors of my life, and if I have the choice of either one, I will choose the Olympics, if that's what you're asking. The folks at the Deere will understand. It's tough that it is the same week, though.

Q. I just want to ask you one more thing about the revenge you mentioned. Have you felt that way about anything else, even back in your amateur days? And what was the result? Does that work out well for you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, the 2014 Masters was by far where I felt the most, even more so than this one. That one was a new position for me, and I had the lead and let it slip to Bubba just because of lack of experience and a lack of patience and not putting extremely well. This time, it just stings because the history element was there of winning an Open at St. Andrews but also with our team being able to -- our team did everything to, again, put ourselves in position in yet another major, and then it was just my execution that wasn't there. So that's tough because, as a team, they work so hard to accomplish that goal and did everything necessary. We had all the tools, but you just can't close everything out. It just proves that it's that hard. It's just a little chip on my shoulder that I'd like to get back, just not closing out a tournament. That's all I'm going to think of it as. I think I would weight it less than the 2014 Masters, which was more significant at the time.

Q. Jordan, was there any hesitation or thought of a potential jinx before you sipped from Zach's Jug?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I don't believe in jinx. If I did, I wouldn't be sitting here in front of you right now. Zach's a good friend. We were all -- there was seven or eight of us PGA Tour players on that plane, and everybody wanted to take part in his celebration. I was disappointed, obviously, at the time, and I still am, that it wasn't mine, but wasn't going to let me down from being a friend or believing in the superstition of it. I'm sure there has been people in the past that have sipped out of the Jug and then won it. I don't think if I have the chance on 18 next year, if I have a chance to two-putt for a win, I don't think it's going to force me to three- or four-putt because I sipped out of the Jug.

Q. I was asking this question of Jason yesterday, Jordan, in relationship to Tiger. Do you find it surprising there's not a category in the WGC for a guy that's won at least this tournament eight times?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think so. I'm surprised, given WGC has more impact on World Ranking, has more impact on FedExCup, has more impact in general, that there isn't some form of a category like there is for majors. Not even just that it's this one specifically, but if you win a certain amount of them or whatever -- I mean, I don't know how they'd do it, but I think that it is a bit surprising.

CHRIS REIMER: Great luck. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.
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