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August 14, 2015

Jordan Spieth

Kohler, Wisconsin, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, welcome back to the 97th PGA Championship here at Whistling Straits. We are here with Jordan Spieth, who fired a 1-under 71 yesterday and followed it up with a 5-under 67 today. Maybe we'll start with the conditions of the course, if you could contrast yesterday afternoon with what you experienced here this morning.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, very different. I felt like for us at least three shots difference. I think we were actually talking about it, I think the actual difference between the two waves was only a stroke and a half, which was surprising, but it felt like, as far as rounds under par, I think there was less than half.

So, it was definitely gettable today. Got off to a good start making birdie on my second hole, and then the one on 18 was a great spark to get things going, get a little confidence, a little pep in my step. I was staring 1-over on the round down and instead make the turn in 2-under. So that was a nice kind of two-shot swing in one shot. Then I was able to take advantage on the front.

JOHN DEVER: Did anything change in your game? You seemed to flip the switch on No. 16, and then it leads into 18. But was there anything that's changed for you?

JORDAN SPIETH: Not really. I'm still not pleased with the way I'm driving the ball at all. I'm hitting some quick draws when I'm playing a normal shot, which is weird. I haven't had that really this whole year. So I was kind of just trying to guide the ball off the tee.

And then my ball striking into greens is pretty good. I made a couple putts today. But with a couple chip-ins for the week and really smart course management and good speed control, we have been able to hold ourselves in there.

But in order to keep shooting the rounds like today, I'm going to need to drive the ball a little bit better and make a few more putts, which are really the two keys for me this weekend. Because it's just going to get more challenging with pin locations and firmness of greens.

JOHN DEVER: Questions, please.

Q. It seemed like particularly on the back side, your back side, you were maybe two feet cumulative of putts away from maybe being 8- or 9-under. Do you walk away from this, I mean obviously feeling good about a 5-under score for the day or do you lament leaving some stuff out there at all?
JORDAN SPIETH: Certainly, at the end of the round there, I could look at it that way. But I also, when I look back at the round and in its entirety, I see breaks like 18. I had a couple other pretty good breaks throughout the round. So all in all, I felt like I scored the way I played today, given I was really a little cautious off the tee with the way I was swinging my driver.

But, yeah, of course, right at the end of the round there, those, 8 and 9 were both in the middle of the hole and I thought I hit them with enough speed and they just didn't quite get there. So I was obviously kicking myself a little for not just giving it a little extra go.

But in a good position. Probably, in my mind, I'll be four or five back, I think. Maybe four back, hopefully, if it's not too bunched up. But the conditions don't seem to be getting much worse out there. The greens will bake out a little bit. We got some work to do this weekend. I'm going to have to shoot a couple more rounds like today.

Q. 16 holed chips this season. How do you explain that? Why are you so good at that shot?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't know how that compares to anybody else, it may not -- that may be a normal number. If it's high, then I don't know. Good lies, I guess. The pins seem to be soft when I hit chip shots sometimes. The ones that are hit a little hard seem to somehow find a way to rail the pin and drop, not just hit it and go to the side. So, yeah, I mean, the fact that they go in versus settling close to the hole is a bit of luck and I'll take it.

Q. You were chatting with Rory McIlroy throughout the round today, I was wondering, do you guys get along, what's your relationship like?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, we hate each other, it's very challenging to talk to him (Laughter).

Yeah, Rory, I've been friends with Rory since maybe middle to end of the first year that I was out here, when we first played together and whatnot. Obviously have a lot of respect. His game is extremely exciting. Watching him drive the golf ball is just inspirational. It's unbelievable when he is hitting his driver good. I would argue there's nobody like it when he's hitting his driver good. And really the entirety of his game.

So, yeah, we had a good time out there, talk about anything, same with Zach. It was a really good pairing for us. Maybe we would have liked to have been on the flip end of the draw, but that happens sometimes.

Q. Can you describe that bunker shot on 18, whether you thought you had a legitimate chance to make it.
JORDAN SPIETH: I didn't. It was -- that bunker, I actually talked to local caddies ahead of time, that bunker and I think there is one other one, always have much more sand than the rest of the bunkers on the golf course.

When I was hitting my approach shot in, I knew that because it was a hybrid, it wasn't going to plug. If it went into that bunker and it was on the flat or the upslope, it wasn't a bad place to be. You didn't want to be long left to that pin today. So I hit it over there and I thought it was going to be okay, just be in the flat. And it ended up being kind of against the back lip, because it didn't hit firm, it hit soft into there.

We were thinking about playing 10 feet out to the right just given my back swing. It had to be almost straight up and straight down. And the chances of hitting that the right way are so slim you could easily catch that thin and then you're left with a very likely double bogey.

So I lined up a little to the right and as I took it back just tried to kind of cut across it a bit. I just struck it absolutely perfectly. It was sitting nicely on top of the sand, to where it was possible, but, no, I was not looking to make that. I would have taken four and walked off very, very happy guy.

Q. You being from Texas, I don't know, do you consider this a hot day and do you play better when it's particularly warm?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it was hot out there. It got hot quickly. But I thought it was nice. There was a little breeze. It's not as hot as it is at home right now.

But compared to the last couple weeks we had some nice weather, so it was getting up there. It will be probably over 90 degrees for the guys this afternoon and I just hope the wind picks up a little bit. (Laughter.)

Q. Kind of answered my question on the bunker shot on 18, so I'll shift gears. I don't know if you saw out there, they were pointing on TV, Aaron Rogers out there following you a little bit. Do you notice that? Do you get at all kind of star struck and think it's kind of cool when you see that out there?
JORDAN SPIETH: He's definitely one of my favorite athletes and I think obviously voted by everybody else as an MVP, one of the best football players there is. I wasn't aware that he was out there, but I think it's really cool that he's a fan of the sport and that he would come down to watch considering they were, they had a game last night.

So, yeah, I don't really get star struck, no. But it would be cool to meet him. It's awesome that he was out there.

Q. How different did the course play today and how did that help you have a better round?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, it was just easier, yeah. The wind went from being gusting to 20 miles an hour, which affects not only your ball striking, but it certainly affects your putting when the greens are as fast as they are.

Today it was down at seven to ten maybe. That's not going to move the ball on the greens very much. It's also going to be easier to control into the greens. So, just given the wind, in itself, that was it. That's what made it that much easier.

Q. Coming into this there was a lot of talk about No. 1 versus No. 2. Obviously it's only 36 holes, but for those of us who have to write about this game or get to write about this game all day, every day, what can we glean from the first 36 holes?

Q. About No. 1 versus No. 2 and who is No. 1.
JORDAN SPIETH: Rory is ranked No. 1 in the world, so he's No. 1.

I think he, for the first two days back in competition after that long layoff, he seemed to swing very freely, no restrictions. He said there were no restrictions. It's great to have him back. We get along great. That's just a ranking system and obviously it's a ranking system that I strive to be at the top of at some point.

As far as the first two days this week, yeah, it's just 36 holes. He got a tough break on 18. I got a good break and you switch those around and it's a different story. So, the rest of the week will tell, as well as going forward. So wouldn't look much into it for these first two days, other than we're just trying to give ourselves a chance to win this golf tournament and we don't think about that.

Q. When you talk about your drive shape today being a slightly quick left, when did you have that before? How did you fix it? And can you explain what kind of a shot you hit as a go-to shot to keep it from happening?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't normally have an overdraw. It's a very rare scenario for me. But it's not, it wasn't Major. It's not like I was hitting quick hook, they were just moving too much in the wind.

Ideally, I like to play a very straight ball flight, a slight draw. So it's not far off where it needs to be. I started to get a little bit of the hang of it. It's so hard to pick the right shot and to pick the right alignment in these cross breezes. Almost every single hole is a cross wind. You get about three or four of them total that are more straight into: 18, 9, 1, and maybe 10, maybe 5, something like that. But almost every shot has a left-to-right or a left-to-right cross wind and that's very challenging to stay patient with it with a consistent ball flight. Because you want to be able to work it into pins.

So I tried to stick to the flight I'm comfortable with, I went away from it a bit today and it got off with the driver, but I'll go fix it just by a few balls on the range, just getting back to better posture, better alignment for me, as always, just the basics to get it back in shape.

Q. Tiger always talked about how mentally draining it was to play on or near the lead in all these kinds of events. You're at the end of, near the end of a five-month run of being in that situation, how mentally fatigued are you at this time? How much are you having to try to keep your self fresh?
JORDAN SPIETH: I feel good. I got a chance to win a Major Championship. Just thinking about that gets you enough adrenaline to that there won't be any issues. Sure, it's definitely -- I noticed last year for the first time I felt fatigue and felt like I had overworked and kind of burned out the end of the year, as we had to go through the four playoff events without a break and then into the Ryder Cup, being -- PGA into those four, into the Ryder Cup, being -- well, I guess, and a World Golf Championship, we had seven of the nine biggest tournaments of the year right away. And I felt like by the TOUR Championship, I had kind of worn myself out.

This year I've done a better job of when I take time off, when you limit the practice coming back, how to prepare. But as far as mentally in this position, the way the year's gone, I approach each event as if it's the only event of the year when I stand on the first tee. So, that gets me through it. And that, just looking at the board, grinding it out, I don't feel any fatigue. I'm sure at the end of this year, it will be nice to sit back and hang the clubs up for a couple weeks, but until then we have got a lot to play for.

JOHN DEVER: Jordan, thank you.


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