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April 7, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We welcome Jordan Spieth. Jordan currently stands as the leader for today after carding an impressive, bogey‑free 6‑under par 66. He had birdies on holes No. 3, 6, 8, 10, 13 and 18. Jordan continues his streak of never carding a round over par here at Augusta National.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I would have signed for 2‑under today and not even played the round, knowing the conditions that were coming up. Got a lot out of the round with what I felt like was kind of average‑ish ball‑striking. Just scored the ball extremely well, which is something I've been struggling with this season.
I feel like my game's been trending in the right direction, I just haven't gotten scores out of how I felt I'd been playing. That normally just comes down to putting. Certainly made a lot of putts today. If I can kind of straighten things out with the iron play, hopefully we'll be in business. But, yeah, I am extremely pleased with that round today. I felt like we stole a few.
Q. Even though your score was two better the first round last year, would you make the argument this is a more impressive and better round?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I definitely could make that argument. The round a year ago, in my opinion, wasn't even an 8‑under round. It was more like a 9‑ or 10‑under round. I messed up 15, which should have been a birdie at the time, considering I only had really 4‑iron into the green. So the way I was playing, I would say, was better a year ago, but the score that came out of the round may have been impressive today. Looks like a decent chance I could even be four back at the end of the day today, the way Jason is playing right now and Shane.
So I'm just very pleased with it, and yeah, I put it up there with one of the best rounds I've played; one of the best rounds I've scored.
Q. You touched on Jason, only halfway through his round. But with you coming out, having that blistering round and now Jason doing what he's doing, how do you put that in the back of your head going into the next day knowing you already had a good round but knowing potentially you could maybe be behind Jason?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I've seen Jason get hot before. I've played with him, I want to say 75 percent of the rounds the last two months of last year's season. It's nothing new. It's nothing shocking.
We're through one round. No matter what they finish at, they'll be through one round. Jason and Shane both have the potential to get to 7‑, 8‑, 9‑, 10‑under. As long as we just recognize as a team, our team personally, that it's one round and through the course of the four, there's going to be a lot of different changes. There are going to be a lot of different birdies, bogeys and everything in between.
We just stay patient with what we're doing. We know how to win this golf tournament, and we believe in our process, and if the putts are dropping, then hopefully it goes our way.
Q. Right out of the box, you made great up‑and‑downs on 1 and 4, and then followed that with quite a few other ones. Did those two early on sort of make you believe that you were going, it was going to be one of those days where you to get a lot out of the round, even though your AGame wasn't there?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, No. 1 was really nice, especially not even really having to think much about the putt. Not having to stress too much on the first hole. It was a great pitch.
And then No.2, just made a bad decision on the second shot.
But the up‑and‑down on 4, I gave a fist pump right there, because that was a really hard up‑and‑down, coming from that side of the green. You've just got to miss the shot left off the tee. But these iron shots I hit, that was a 6‑iron, and the one on No. 1 was a 6‑iron and I'm just not getting around my body enough, which is what we're working on and it just didn't lead into it the beginning of the round today.
So I just hung them out right and short. But that up‑and‑down on 4 was huge and yeah, it keeps momentum there and it allows me to be able to adjust kind of my swing on the next iron shots that I hit without losing strokes on my misses and that's very, very key.
Q. Bryson was saying outside that walking up 18, you said to him, like I don't know what it is about the place, I just love putting here. Can you just give us a little window of what went through your mind, what inspired you to say that at that moment, what you were thinking and feeling walking up 18?
JORDAN SPIETH: He hit a shot into the green and I knew his was a good shot by the clapping. I knew it was the right tier. So I said, Good shot.
And he goes, It's no Jordan Spieth.
I said something like, No, man, good playing today. Feel like you're‑‑ something like‑‑ I felt like Bryson struck the ball much better than I did. My pace was just a little better on the first putts and then a couple of them went in.
I think that Bryson DeChambeau played, to his standards, an off‑round and shot even par in tough conditions at the Masters. Watch out for him. In all honesty, it was really impressive watching his game today. I've played with him many times now, and to see it come to kind of be as sharp as I've seen it and still‑‑ I felt like, he was a bit off on the greens and still was able to shoot even par. That's really, really impressive in your first round here.
Yeah, so we were just talking a little back and forth there about everything, and I just said, Yeah, nice to see some putts go in today. Made some putts. I can't really remember.
Q. What kind of‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH: You're wearing a hat.
Q. So are you, thankfully (laughter). What kind of shot did you have on 11 and did any thought go into the fact that it was Thursday and you were off to a good start?
JORDAN SPIETH: It should have and I should not have hit the shot I hit. I would like, if anyone gets a chance, to go look at that shot, because Michael did everything in his power to call me off of hitting that shot. I had a 4‑iron in my hands from about 210, and I had a gap where it had to rise over a tree, under another branch and split. I had maybe, you know, a quarter of this billboard to hit it into with a 4‑iron and then hold it up.
I just lovedthe ‑‑ I knew the trajectory that was going to come off of my 4‑iron and it was the right club for the distance. I thought that if it were to hit a couple of the pin needles, worst case, it knocks it down a little and it stays short. I didn't have many options to punch out. It was going to take a pretty special shot to go low and at the green to get within a hundred yards of the green. And if I went out kind of sideways or punch‑slice territory, I could have maybe gotten it to where I was 125 yards.
So I liked the option and Michael didn't, and I said, Just trust me on this one. And he said, All right. I actually hit it a touch fat, but I knew that as long as it split that gap that it should be okay. It actually almost hit that ridge and went in the water.
That was one of the best shots I've ever hit in tournament competition given where it was, and there was no camera or anything to see it. And I was laughing afterwards, that's how kind of dumb the decision was, and pulled it off.
Q. Were you tempted to look inside Bryson's bag?
JORDAN SPIETH: I've seen everything he has. We've played many rounds together. I love how confident he is in what he's doing. I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way to play golf. If you believe in the way that you're playing it and you find a way to kind of perfect or at least be very consistent in the way you're striking it and see results‑‑ I love his putter. I think it's very easy to align. And I like kind of the way he goes about his business, and again, how confident he is in his way to do things, and what anybody else says, he just kind of, you know, stays quiet and still listens to himself.
Q. He says it could change the game. Do you agree with him?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't know. I don't know.
Q. Is there a sort of an innate comfort level when you play golf on this course? And secondly, do you get more out of the fact that you made six birdies on a day you said was average ball‑striking or you didn't make any bogeys?
JORDAN SPIETH: The fact that I didn't make any bogeys with kind of the loose, kind of the‑‑ I just didn't feel confident after the first couple mid‑iron shots I hit. I didn't feel confident over the ball with irons.
The good news out here is so much of it is feel‑based, where you have so many different slopes you're hitting off of. You have a downslope off one hole, an upslope right‑to‑left on the next. You've got to work. It's most important what the ball does right at impact, and I felt like I was still there.
It was really the par‑3s and the flat lies that I struggled with today, which are the driving range shots, the shots I hit a million times. I feel I got‑‑ I feel it was extremely special to stay bogey‑free on a day like today at the Masters, yeah.
And I missed the first part of your question, I'm sorry.
Q. Is there maybe a built‑in comfort level for you around here?
JORDAN SPIETH: I enjoy this tournament more than anywhere else. It's easy for us. We don't have any or many distractions in our preparation, and we enjoy that you're able to kind of feel like you get enough done and you have enough time to do everything, and I think that's useful when we start on the first hole.
Q. Can you fill us in on what happened with the driver yesterday and how unnerving that may have been or how unnerving it could be possibly if you don't get it straightened out?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I was hitting balls and it was just a bit of an odd ball flight and there was nothing wrong. It looked like they were flying fine, but it's just a little higher and looked like it was shorter.
Cameron said‑‑ because he didn't think anything was wrong. And I said, Does that not look high to you? He grabbed the face to see if I was hitting it lower or higher on the face to produce that, and he said, We've got a problem. And it was the same crack ‑‑ actually the last three drivers, when I decided to change, all with the same crack. It's just a little horizontal line at the middle, kind of right where you want to hit the driver, middle to top of the face. And I had one in college, and then I had one the day before the 2014 PLAYERS and I went to my backup.
We happened to go bogey‑free the first few rounds using my backup. I just took the shaft off and used four different heads. Titleist was still here, and they provided me with four of the same heads. We mixed around a little bit the swing weights. I hit probably five or six balls with the four heads and chose what I thought was the best.
Obviously not ideal, but I hit balls obviously this morning before the round, and everything seemed fine. It worked out in today's round. I did hit a lot of 3‑woods today but my driver didn't cost me anything today.
Q. Paul was just in here. Were you put on the clock on 17 and can you walk us through what happened?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, we got put on the clock. With Bryson on 15 chipping it and then it goes through into the water and then has to walk around, we were just set behind. At that point we were fine, but I think because 15 just took awhile to play.
We also had to wait for a leaf blower. It's a big gallery, we've got to wait for crowds to stop. It seemed a bit, in my opinion, unnecessary, with a hole and a half to go. But I've been on the clock with a hole to go. I've actually gotten a bad time with a hole to go. So it is what it is and it really is not a big deal.
Q. What did it feel like coming off 11, going to 12, not just getting an ovation, but getting a standing ovation that was pretty long on a Thursday?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it was one of the coolest moments today. It was one of the coolest moments I've ever had here was walking up to that, because you always‑‑ I mean, that walk up to 12 tee, hopefully you've made par on 11, so you're pretty happy.
But just to kind of see everyone start to rise, it was really, really cool to kind of feel like you belong as the Masters Champion. Not that I needed any more reason, but just the gallery recognizes that you have won here and that this is a special place to you, and that's kind of what it felt like to me. I thought it was an awesome moment, and then I turned around and saw flipping winds into this tiny green. So that moment was short‑lived.
Q. Can you just tell us what your thoughts are, if we told you that a player had taken, we think seven, but possibly six putts on one green?
JORDAN SPIETH: I watched it. I was down with ESPN and they actually showed it. It was Ernie on No. 1. Yeah, I saw the putts.
Q. What do you feel when you see someone doing that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I feel obviously bad for Ernie. Yeah, I feel bad for Ernie. They then showed his highlight of making about a 35‑footer on No. 5, so it's just a crazy game sometimes. It's obviously in your head.
I've certainly had my moments, everybody has, from short range, where they just are not confident in where they are starting it. And on Augusta National's greens with the wind blowing, it's a place you certainly want to be comfortable.
Q. Can you remember the most you've had?
JORDAN SPIETH: I've probably 4‑putted.
Q. Given that, relatively speaking, you've had some struggles this year, do you think this round was a fairly definitive statement that no matter what else is going on, your driver, other things, that you're really confident in this tournament on this golf course? Do you feel like you made‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I'm still trying to figure out why people think I've been struggling. We've finished in the Top‑20 eight out of the last nine events, what am I supposed to do (laughter).
Q. Relative to your standards.
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, sure, yeah. But at the same time, that's more consistent than I even was at the beginning of last year.
I think that everything that we do is building up around the major championships, and so we are trying to peak this week. We've done as good a job or better at this point than we did last year up until now. We try and get everything obviously firing to where I don't have to think about much this week and just play the golf course.
I think this tournament could potentially make me feel a lot‑‑ obviously if we continue what we're doing right now and it goes our way, then that would be a fantastic statement to have made. But I feel great about the way things have been.
The toughest part is how to answer on why you're not finishing first every time. We're fine. Everything's been good. I told everyone the last two weeks that it's coming around, we're putting in the right work. We're just waiting for the scores and they are finally coming out.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jordan, and good luck the rest of the week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports