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November 4, 2015

Jordan Spieth

Shanghai, China

CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome Jordan Spieth to the interview room at the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions. First start of the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season after an historic season last year.

I know you had some fun in Shanghai last night. Talk about expectations coming into the HSBC Champions here in Shanghai.

JORDAN SPIETH: It's nice to be back here. This is our third year straight. It's always nice if you're here. Means things are going well.

Yeah, this past season was spectacular. We just did some unbelievable work throughout the season to start strong and finish strong. I still consider this in my mind part of 2015. Obviously it's part of the wraparound season, but this would be the icing on the cake if we were able to compete and capture a win here, obviously that's our expectation.

But I am aware that it's going to be a little tougher than normal given I took off a lot of time in the last few weeks. I haven't played much golf and a bit rusty. So I have some stuff I'm trying to work onto get ready for this week, the end of the season and into next year, and so having said that I want to obviously win this week, I do expect a bit of rust to come out, as well, and hopefully we can get over that and it won't affect too many shots.

Q. When you spoke about the things you're working on, what could you possibly do better do you think in 2016, given how successful you've been doing what you were doing, where do you think that could get you? What's the game plan in that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, specifically what I'm working on is just stuff in my swing coming off of -- I didn't touch my clubs for two weeks, which is the longest time by a week that I've taken off since I was probably 12 or 13 years old.

So coming back, it's just getting into a rhythm, and I had some stuff that wasn't -- my angles were a little off, and my clubface I'm trying to rotate open a bit more; it was a bit shut. That's more specifically what I'm trying to do.

As far as the whole season improving, yeah, there are definitely ways that I can fine-tune and get better. That's what we try to do each year. That's what we've been able to do each year. Obviously I would like my short game to stay consistent with how it was this year and I can certainly improve tee-to-green in different categories.

But I can get longer, is something I can do over the off-season. It's a combination of swing and what I do in the gym. But there's definitely stuff that we can fine tune. It was a short off-season. I've got a longer break coming in December, and those are kind of what I consider my times to really make some changes.

This three-week stretch I used more for rest. The next one I'll use more for work to get ready for next season.

Q. Presumably it's more difficult to look for that improvement; when you get more and more successful, how much further you can go, how do you balance that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, it's easy. You can look at -- you just try and get very specific with it. And the more specific you get with it, you find out that there are certainly ways that you can improve in every single category.

We probably go about them the same way as this past year. I'm not saying that I'm going to change anything but I can focus a bit more on certain shots. I can just dial in a bit more in where -- for me, I've already looked at some of the stats from this past year, and it was 125 to 150 yards wasn't consistent with where I was inside of that and outside of that compared to everyone else on Tour, strokes gained.

So there's certain categories that I can improve on and maybe spend a little extra time.

Q. Given that you're young and you played so regularly, and as you said, having two weeks' rest was one week too much for you for the first time in your career. How much have you started appreciating this rest period, given the last couple of years? And how big a role is that going to play in your schedule next year, and are there any changes you would like to tell us about?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's a good question. It's a good point. I've learned over the last couple years how significant even just a few days away from the game and away from just being able to settle down, what kind of impact it has, and it's significant.

So to be able to have some extra rest -- I learned it in 2014. I didn't rest much. I was trying to, I probably hit too many balls, too many putts late into that season, and by the time the Playoffs came, the FedExCup Playoffs, I just didn't have enough gas to hold on. I ran out and ran out of strength at the end of that season.

So this past year, I did a better job of conserving energy. Even though I played a lot, I took some more time off and I limited practise at the back end of some of my three-, four-week stretches to be able to save energy, not only for that week but for the next stretch. We did a good job of that.

This next season 2016 is going to be a difficult year: With the Olympics and the majors pushed up and closer together, I don't think it will affect the amount of tournaments I play. I think I will play in anything one or two less in total, on the PGA TOUR season, it will be less because I'm taking advantage of opportunities overseas.

But as far as total events for the year, it will be pretty similar and hopefully -- we had the strength at the end of this past season and it showed in THE TOUR Championship. If I can just kind of stay consistent with what I did this year, that would be the goal. But it is important to take this time off and again have a break.

Q. We've seen the mosaic bearing your likeness in downtown Dallas and when you arrived in Shanghai airport there's a billboard of you as a superhero. You're a pretty grounded individual; what it's like for you to see these things, how you deal with it and whether there are adjustments to be made to your changing status?
JORDAN SPIETH: It's spectacular what AT&T did for me in downtown Dallas in that park. And then arriving here, I took a picture and posted it on social media of -- they had in baggage claim. It was me, Rory and Bubba and Bubba was the magician and Rory was fire, and I'm not sure exactly -- I was ice man or something. (Laughter). Yeah, it was cool. And we had our avatars when we were in Korea.

So it's portrayed in different ways around the globe. It's really cool to see golf have recognition and fans around the world -- it's a dream come true for me, it really is. To have young juniors walking in our group today in 12 holes in the pouring rain, it's just something that I probably didn't even see in my wildest dreams.

So to have it take shape is spectacular, but also with it comes a responsibility. When you're known and your face is part of the sport, as this year has now made it so for myself, as well as a few others, there's a responsibility to carry that torch on and off the course. And we also have to continue to have years like we did this last year to keep it that way.

If you don't play well, you're not going to see yourself in the airport in Shanghai. It's just not the way it works. It's cool. I certainly embraced it. But I do understand that it comes with a responsibility, as do the others that also are there.

Q. Does that responsibility also include playing globally? There's some talk that The European Tour might change their membership laws. If the number came down to play, would that be -- membership of The European Tour, would that be something that you would consider?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think it's -- I don't think it's a responsibility to us to play globally but I think for me personally, I think it's something that -- I love traveling across the world to play golf. I think it's cool to see the different golf course, the different fans, the knowledge of the sport across the globe.

I'm not sure of the specifics of The European Tour, but I know that I do play at least eight events -- at least eight or nine events a year that count towards that schedule. I don't know the specifics but it sure would be something interesting to maybe look at in the future.

I'm certainly busy enough as it is right now, so it's not something I'm currently looking at, but you never know, down the road. I do want to play more golf in Europe. I do enjoy coming over to Asia as well, and I love my time in Australia. Who knows; this sport can take you anywhere.

Q. I read some quotes attributed to you about your Mum this week about how you're not the type of person to keep too many trophies around the house, or, indeed, at their house. Do you find that the more of a superstar you become, the more escapes to normalcy you crave and the more you need to feel like a normal person when you're back in Dallas or wherever?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think it's a need to feel like a normal person. It's never something I've done. I've never wanted to just display stuff. I just always -- that's what we try and win, and when we win, we get satisfaction. It's very satisfying and then we go on to the next goal. We go on to the next trophy.

Right now I have everything from this past year, every one of the trophies, jacket, whatever, just sitting in my room. And I have a place in my house with a pool table where I have other stuff from all -- me and my two roommates, I have my first John Deere trophy and Rookie of the Year and whatever.

But the jacket, the U.S. Open trophy, they are sitting in different places in my room. It's just I feel uncomfortable if it's all out in The Open. I don't know why; I just do. I've just always been that way.

I'm not searching to get back to normality by any means, but I feel like maybe that's just how I am. I don't know, it's hard for me to say. But when you achieve those goals and you have those trophies in your possession, that's what's important to me, not showing to, other people already know that I won. So what does good it do for me to have my friends over and just flaunt it in their face? Just keep it in my room and go for the next one.

Q. Is your mind-set this week any different to your mind-set you have before your break?
JORDAN SPIETH: Mind-set for this week before the break? Or just going into the tournament?

Q. The mind-set this week -- yeah, exactly.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think it is. I wish it weren't, but going into THE TOUR Championship with The Presidents Cup and you name it, a Playoff event, I was expecting my A Game, A Plus Game. That's what we show throughout the year.

Coming off this break, coming in here and just what I've experienced within the last four or five days at home and here, I'm not hitting the same shots that I'm used to seeing. It's getting close; the more balls I hit, the more consistent it's getting. But I just have this stray one -- just getting it back.

So my mind-set this week is going to be to stay focused, to try and play with a smile on my face. Obviously I still believe that I can get out there and compete. I still believe that my best stuff can come out. I just know that I haven't had as much practise as I did in previous tournaments, leading into the previous tournaments.

So it's going to be maybe a bit harder to maintain the consistency. But I'm aware of that and I think that that's important to be aware of that; so if a stray shot happens, just understand that this is part of this part of the year, work on some things, get a bit better. And this is one of the biggest events of the year, but you need rest. So coming off rest, it's a lot harder to play your best.

Q. At this tournament a year ago, you had one professional win and that was it. When you look at it in those terms, does it feel like it's been longer than a year, and was there any inkling here that you're about to go on the run that you did?
JORDAN SPIETH: It's actually the way that I have thought about the entire year. I included Australia and Tiger's event when I thought about 2015, because they were so important in this year. I thought of that as really part of the season, as far as worldwide wins for our team.

No, I don't remember there being anything this week that was a spark. This was -- I played solid. I think I finished in the Top 15 each of the last two years. I'm not sure exactly, but we've played solid golf here. So that was great.

And then I went home for five or six days and went back to Japan and that's really what started the run. Finished second or third there, and gained some momentum into Australia and Tiger's event.

Yeah, one professional win at this point last year; and now worldwide, I think it's eight total; seven from this point last year. I like to think of it that way, because those other two -- most people just mention the PGA TOUR wins. I like to think of those other two wins as being as important as any. It's really cool.

If I can sit here in the next position as what happened in the other 365 days, I will certainly be pleased. I don't care where the wins come from or where they are.

But I don't remember there being anything specifically this week that sparked it. It was another solid week but it wasn't anything spectacular. It was a week coming off of some rest. I had a five-week break before this week last year, and then really -- as I was working on things like I am this week, they started to come together the weekend and then into the next few events.

Q. And then just given the youth movement we've had in golf, just curious, what would you consider somebody to be old -- like Dustin Johnson, is he middle-aged to you? How do you rate that?
JORDAN SPIETH: DJ finds a way to, even though he's a middle-aged guy, I think of him as younger (laughter). DJ brings out youth. I think that 24 is probably old (laughter).

No, it doesn't really matter how I answer that question. I would be offending somebody, so I'm just going to go ahead and pass (laughter).

But I think it's spectacular what we're seeing at the start of this season. I think it's something we'll continue to see this year and next year. To have the last four winners on the PGA TOUR be class of 2010, 2011 high school, with Smiley being one in 2010 and Justin and Emiliano and myself; it's just so cool. Because it really wasn't that long ago, I remember all four of us playing in a junior golf event and trying to battle it out.

Just the fact that it seems so soon and I know it happened with Russ and Scott Langley a few years ago, that was their first professional PGA TOUR start as a member in Hawai'i. It's certainly happened over the last few years, but now that I'm experiencing it with my peers; I can look at Emiliano and I can remember watching that guy hit balls when we were 15 in Ohio at the Junior PGA Championship. I remember staying, rooming with him -- and obviously Justin.

And it is really, really cool to experience. And to root for these guys, and feel like they are some of my best friends. I have such a passion for when they are competing, as long as I'm not the one against them, then I'm certainly rooting against them (laughing). Certainly trying to beat them just like we tried to beat each other back in the day. But to be able to be on your couch and be that vested in the finish of those tournaments is cool.

Q. Do you feel older than them, based on what you did last year?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I don't. I don't feel older than them. I feel the same age just like I always have. We've always been measured on high school class or college class, and that's the way I still see it.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Jordan. Good luck this week.

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