home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 5, 2016

Jordan Spieth

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

ALEX URBAN: We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth to the interview room here at the 2016 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Last season was a great season for you: Five wins, two major championships, youngest player to ever win the FedExCup, Player of the Year honors. Obviously we're here partway into a new season, but we're here starting a new calendar of year. The Hyundai Tournament of Champions, this is your second time here. You were runner-up a couple years ago. Maybe some thoughts about being back here in Maui and just some overall thoughts about your season last year.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think it was after Tampa when we had that second PGA TOUR win. I think I said it in the interview thereafter, maybe on live TV, that I was excited because we were coming here. Obviously we were going to be in the Masters already, so that was kind of a perk, so the Masters and here. What a beautiful place it is. Great way to start the season.

Last year I didn't start until Phoenix, and it was tough to watch my peers play this tournament without being able to be here when I felt coming off the end of 2014, I felt so strong. I felt like I kind of belonged in this tournament, but it's just the criteria. Very pleased after that first win to know I was coming back, and then from there I guess me and Jason helped knock down the field a little bit last season, the field for this event. But yeah, came here, came runner-up to Zach Johnson two years ago, had a chance coming down the stretch, and I'd like to kind of avenge that.

I still remember two of the holes, 14 and 17 -- 16. I had pretty makeable birdie putts that would have got me back to tied for the lead and I could have birdied for the tie, eagled for the win, instead of having eagled for the tie. So I'd like to kind of make up for that.

Q. In the Bahamas you said you really hadn't had a lot of time to kind of reflect on what you did last season. You've had a little bit of time now. When you reflect and you think about what you accomplished last year, how do you improve going forward? I think that's what you talked about in the Bahamas.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I mean, I reflected on how fantastic last season was, and then I sat down and Cameron and I went to how can we improve, and we did that strictly by going over statistics. We went over and figured out for me that specifically my wedge play needs to get better, proximity to the hole and up-and-down percentage, from really 60 to 140 yards or so. We got reports from Mark Brody on all the strokes gained from every category, Cameron did, and he narrows it down and he asks questions before I even look at them, like what do you think about your play, your mid-iron play, what do you think about how you were off the tee, and then wedge play, and I told him when he asked me that, I said I felt like my wedge play was average last season, and it was as average as any category that we had.

I can get better at certain putting ranges, and you can always get a little bit better driving the ball off the tee, the combination. But strokes gained was pretty high up, which is ultimately what you're looking for.

It's also interesting that with all that being said, the Masters, the World Golf Championships, there's a number of tournaments in there that -- the U.S. Open, the majors really, I think there's one of the majors he was able to get, but they had already been calculated. So that's a big positive going forward when I think about that because my wedge play at the Masters was great. I remember that, but he wasn't able to get the stats there.

We just nailed down specifics on what I need to work on each week, sand save percentage, and we kind of picked a plan that I'm going to go through each week.

Q. Do you think the public will measure your year based on your peers or based on what you did last year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Measure this year? I'm sure they'll measure it based on last year. I mean, that seems to be what -- the easiest thing for me to look at is Rory in the past, and after his 2014, they'll compare 2015, and after -- I think 2013 was the year which he considered a letdown for him after a major championship in '12.

It just seems that you're judging from the previous year in my mind. That's the general public, so I give you my perspective as being in the general public for somebody else. For me, I'm not even thinking of it as a new year. I'm just thinking of we had a three-week break and we're just continuing to hopefully stay at the same level.

Q. What's a great year for you?
JORDAN SPIETH: What's a great year for me? Last year. (Laughter.)

Exactly? I wouldn't mind it.

Q. What would you consider a great year come December next year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, got to close tournaments out, so it goes to victories. Specifically I'm going to keep a lot of that within our team on the actual, but certainly got to be there in a couple of the major championships come Sunday and have a chance to do what we did this past year, which we had a chance each of the four Sundays. So if I can get there at least a couple times this year again, that means that our plan building up to the majors is working, continuing to work, and then it comes down to each individual event, being able to close them out. I've been close a lot and closed out a little, and you've got to have the breaks go your way, but closing it out is something that's a different mental edge than I really knew the last couple years prior to the 2015 season.

Q. You just mentioned the mental edge and your young body and old head. I just wanted to know about when you go through this exercise of trying to improve things if you also go through with the strategy of how you play tournaments or how you approach them from the mental aspect.
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, it's an ongoing thing, and honestly probably should sit down and talk about that more than we do. We just kind of assume that it's a strength because we believe it's a strength, but your strengths can still improve, especially you can't ever get too strong mentally in this game.

So I think it's something that we can continue to do. I think it's something we maybe don't do enough, me asking Michael what he thinks, about what he heard on the course from me. I mean, we've done that some where he says, hey, you were just angrier starting today or you kind of were a little more negative today for some reason. He'll do that here and there, but I think more conversation off of the golf course can help. I think it's something that we definitely need to continue to do between Michael and Michael relaying it to Cameron and Cameron when he's there, but he's never really there during the tournament rounds. Cameron, too, I consider my mental coach, with Michael being someone who can relay and be the one that listens to my voice.

Q. Just curious, from the first time you were here to this week, what's the difference in your mental attitude from '14 to this year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Quite a bit. I felt pretty good, obviously, coming off that season. I would say there were more similarities from '14 to '16 than there was '14 to this time last year. '14 I came off of not having -- I turned pro at this time, whatever, three years ago -- four years ago now. Wow. No, three years ago. And all of a sudden within a year, I mean, we went from thank you, Jay, for getting me a start in Panama, having a connection at the Panama Web.com event, to all of a sudden we played the Presidents Cup.

I felt like that season was more important than this last season was almost, just because I got a job and got secured into the World Rankings and could get into all the events I had dreamt of playing as a kid and the opportunity to win them.

So I came into this year in '14 feeling confident, feeling like I could close out tournaments, because I at each level -- I had gone up a few levels in that season.

At the same time, now I feel like we have an edge if we're in contention. I wouldn't have felt like we had an edge in '14. I feel like now in '16 we have an edge based on maybe other people who were in contention, they know that we're capable of closing.

Q. Did you have the same group with you in 2014?
JORDAN SPIETH: I was alone in '14. Well, I was with Jay, sorry.

Q. You got here on Friday, I think, and Mark Rolfing told me you were maybe the first guy here, at least one of the first guys here. How much do you enjoy this course, and how good does it feel to be back here where you feel like you belong?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, we were here Wednesday, and we -- I don't know if we were the first ones over here. A lot of people, a lot of the players were over at Makena checking that new place out. So we just came straight here.

Yeah, it's beautiful. It's fantastic. We were jumping off the cliff house, doing a lot of snorkeling, spear fishing, whatever. Look forward to some more activities we don't get to do throughout the year, kind of take advantage of where we're at. We've had just a fantastic time this week, and I do love this golf course. I love the grainy Bermuda. It's fun. The elevation changes, having to judge the elevation change with the wind, the ball just kind of does some crazy stuff out here as it kind of shoots over into that setting.

This is one that we strive to make each year, and if I am eligible to play in this tournament and I'm not, I hope every single one of you calls me and bashes me for it.

Q. How is your technique with spear fishing?
JORDAN SPIETH: Oh, it's one of the bands. I've got a little rash right here from it. I tried. I'm empty handed. Michael is the one who's caught a few, which means whatever technique I have is not working.

Q. We have 1, 2, 4 and 6 in the rankings here and a lot of other really good guys. How good does this feel this week and how special is it to -- pretty impressive field, short of majors, right?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's a fantastic field. We have got all the majors here, which is pretty cool. Seems like there might be some guys maybe coming off a lot of a break, but after playing with quite a few guys, seems like everyone is kind of mid-season form, almost like this wraparound season has caused people to continue to practice and try and take advantage in the fall and early into the season. Rickie was kind of on fire out there today. Looks like he's got things ready to go, and really everyone seems to have played a lot of golf recently. I think we might see some fantastic golf this week, and I think it may be stronger for the way everyone is playing compared to mid-season form than we're used to seeing, but I don't know if I'd consider it a field maybe close to majors because there's only 32 guys, but the strength is there.

Q. You mentioned the grainy greens; they're obviously different than what you see usually on TOUR. How much more difficult are they to get used to or adjust to than the average TOUR stop would you say?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, we don't see Bermuda that often. I grew up on it. I really love grainy greens. It's just what I've always played on. I love -- I feel like -- Jimmy Walker loves Bermuda greens, right; that's what he grew up on. When you grew up in Texas or Florida, you're used to it, and along the southeast coast. So it's not that much of an adjustment for us because it just feels natural.

But it's something that you have to think about when you're chipping, whether you're off the fairway or out of the rough. You have to play it differently than you do out of other grass. You just have to get over here early enough and make sure you get enough repetitions. But with this grain, there's also the effect of the hill. You look up to the highest point, the hill is shooting away there and sometimes the grain is just a little different. The ball seems to be rolling with the grain over anything else out here.

Q. You guys looked like you were having fun out there, playing in a five some. It looked like it was you and Justin versus the other three. How did that match turn out?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, we played a round-robin match. We played against three other twosomes we played, and we were 1-up going to 18 and we botched 18 up, so then it was tied all the matches, but it would have been cool if we would obviously have won all of it. But Justin hit it in the hazard and I hit a poor third. It was our worst hole of the day. We played pretty well. It was a fun match. Yeah, we had a good time. Those guys are great. It was supposed to be two on two and then Brandt decided he would bug in, so we had to figure out a different game.

Q. You kind of touched on this a little bit, but in the most simple of questions, what do you do for an encore?
JORDAN SPIETH: Doesn't an encore mean that the show is then over? I hope I've got like 40 years out here. If we're calling like I've just had my first half of my career, and here's the -- I'd like to just, again, to be honest, I'm not thinking of this as anything different. This is just -- we're just continuing -- the month changed, the year changed. When you write the date, that's about it in my mind. I think we've just had a little bit of a break, and I've had plenty of playing and practice to be plenty ready to try and win this week and then take our game over to Asia in a couple weeks, then I'll come back here and get to my normal schedule.

Q. You said a minute ago you're looking at this like this was a short break; are you talking about from last season, the start of the wraparound season, or --
JORDAN SPIETH: Tiger's event.

Q. Are you just looking at this as just part of your career?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think that this season more so than in the past because I didn't have much of a break. I had a five-week break and a six-week break after last year's season. This year, this past season, the most I had was three weeks, and I came down here early, too, so it's not even really considered -- it's two and a half, three weeks, whatever.

Q. Is this a continuation of --
JORDAN SPIETH: A continuation of the '15 season, the '14-' 15 season. I would consider this more a continuation of last season than I would the whole career, I guess. I guess either way, but in my mind I just look at, okay, I played a few weeks ago, what do we need to work on, now we're ready to go. We just had a long enough time for me to sit down with Cameron after some time off and say, all right, here's what we're going to start to do. We have a little more time to work on things than we do in the middle of the season, but in my mind it's just my -- whatever you call it, 80th, 85th, whatever, TOUR start. I don't know what the number is actually.

Q. Along the lines of the greens feeling comfortable, Bermuda greens feeling comfortable, it's a very small sample, I understand, but your best finish on the West Coast Swing is here. Is there something about the other venues that you have a hard time adjusting to and is that something you feel like you're going to work towards? And again, a very small sample, I understand that.
JORDAN SPIETH: Two things to that: One, it would have been hard to finish better than second. I would have had to win one of the others. But yeah, I'm not a strong poa annua putter. I don't know, I feel more comfortable if it's bentgrass, paspalum, Bermuda, whatever. Poa annua throws me off with my speed a little bit. It takes breaks a bit different. So I've struggled a little in San Diego putting. Here and there I have good putting rounds, but I would say that that makes a difference being on comfortable grass versus the normal California tournaments.

Q. Best thing you got for Christmas?
JORDAN SPIETH: I got a really cool ping-pong table from my parents. It was really hard to put together. It was really heavy. It's got to be legit. But we put it together, me and my dad. We had the screws out, we had the toolbox out, and we unpacked it and put it together, and I didn't have a ping-pong table. It's funny, my roommate got one, too, for Christmas, and we went from having zero to now having two, and we don't know what to do with two.

Q. Who gave it to you?
JORDAN SPIETH: My parents.

Q. A home and away table?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, indoor and outdoor.

ALEX URBAN: Thank you, Jordan, for your time. Good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297