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May 29, 2016

Jordan Spieth

Fort Worth, Texas

JOHN BUSH: It's an honor to welcome the 2016 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational champion Jordan Spieth. What a round, what a finish, three consecutive birdies to get your first PGA TOUR victory here in Texas. Just comment on how much that means to you.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's really special. Had some close calls even here in the past. Last year, actually was a stroke out of a playoff. Pretty close in San Antonio and in a playoff in Houston. Fort Worth was the first one. This is a very special place. This tournament gave me a champion's exemption back in 2013 when I was searching for exemptions. They gave it to me before I even had status, so I actually owe a lot to this event, and it's very special to me, and to give me a chance like that early on -- yeah, I mean, the fans were fantastic today, great energy in our group, playing with Ryan and Webb, two of my favorite people to play golf with, just made it a really special Sunday.

JOHN BUSH: Your eighth PGA TOUR victory, your second this season. You join Adam Scott and Jason Day as multiple winners. Comment a little bit about how this gets you on track with Oakmont coming up in a couple weeks.

JORDAN SPIETH: It's really nice. Actually at this point last year we had two wins, so we're kind of right on track. Obviously we had a major last year and almost one this year, but things seemed to be kind of back on track, in contention three of the last four events, and that's the way we've tried to keep on looking at it. Michael has really kept me focused on that. Don't listen to the noise, focus on the fact that you've had a chance to win three out of the last four events, which is pretty special, and that's not easy to do.

Finally to close this one out feels really good, and yeah, I mean, it's always nice to see those kind of putts and even chips go in when they really matter on the back nine Sunday, and that's going to serve me well heading into this U.S. Open.

JOHN BUSH: Jordan moves to No. 3 in the FedExCup standings, as well.

Q. Jordan, the shot on 17, can you take us through that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah. I caught a flier, obviously, and I was very fortunate that the grandstands were there because I was able to get a drop, and the nearest point there was no closer to the hole happened to be below the hole versus having to go over to the right. So I got a good drop, just fortunate that it ended up back where it was. It went to a decent lie where I could just kind of -- I didn't have to try and play an explosion. I didn't have to do too much. That's still a really tough touch shot to hit when there's that much pressure on. It's tough to control your hands and control the club face the way that you would when you're just practicing it. There's no way to practice for that kind of pressure, but it came out a little knuckler that landed on the fringe, and it was lucky for it to go in, obviously, but I was very pleased with the way I struck it. 17 was one of the luckiest holes I've ever had personally. I hit a guy on the side on the tee ball that goes into the first cut, and then I get that drop and then chip in.

If I'm anyone playing against me, I'd be pretty upset at that.

So it was nice certainly to get some breathing room going to 18.

Q. After a frustrating round on Sunday in Dallas, what was the key for you to be able to turn things around and kind of go to the other side of the spectrum this time when you were again in contention?
JORDAN SPIETH: It all went down to ball-striking. Just needed to develop a comfort level ball-striking, and I did, and it got a little bit loose today. I hit a couple pretty big hooks with my irons, which is rare for me, on 8 and on 13, a 6-iron and a 7-iron. I also hooked one on 5, so it was a little loose today. But then the shot on 16 was right where I was looking, caught a flier on 17, and then 18 was right where I was looking, and those are high-pressure situations where I just felt like I had enough of a trigger where I could produce one ball flight, that little draw, and I knew that it would actually draw and it would be within five yards or so of where I was looking. That was the difference between now and last Sunday. Last Sunday I felt like if the golf that was played this weekend was played last Sunday, the winning score would have been 18-, 19-under.

Sometimes you have tournaments where it just doesn't take as much as you think, and sometimes you have everybody really rolling putts in, chipping in, whatever it may be. I felt like this was a more difficult tournament to win today than it would have been last Sunday in the position I was in. I don't know why or how to explain it, and there's no disrespect to anybody who -- to Sergio or to Brooks or whoever last week because there's still so many demanding tee shots. But I personally thought that the golf that was played was very special today, and it was very, very tough to control those nerves, and I was fortunate on a couple of occasions.

Q. How does that jacket compare to Augusta's?
JORDAN SPIETH: They both fit great. (Laughter.)

Q. Does this kind of get the monkey off your back when it comes to winning in DFW at all?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I didn't feel a monkey in DFW. I mean, I figured I'd be playing in DFW for decades, so sooner or later something would go my way. It's nice that it did now here. The significance of it happening now, because I wasn't sure how long it would take to get over the hurdle of having to come in to every single interview room, having to listen to crowds only talk about what happened a month ago, and it's very difficult, and I'm 22. It's not like I hadn't won -- and we've won two majors. It's very difficult to stay present, stay positive when that's happening, when those are the only questions.

In our third tournament back, to come back and close this one out the way we did is really, really special and something that I thought Michael did maybe his best work that he's ever done this week, and that's saying a lot because he's really good. And he knew what I was experiencing. He knew that it's just so frustrating when it's not going your way. Last Sunday was a tough day for me, too, given it was at home, so to get through and to come out on top here is -- this is a moment -- this day is a moment that'll go down, no matter what happens in the next 30 years of my career, this will be one of the most important days that I've ever had.

Q. We'll talk about all the birdies, but talk about the two par savers at 8 and 14 and how big those were.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, not only those two but the bogey save. That was not an easy chip on the second chip. It's very grainy there and there wasn't much green to work with. Michael called that the most important shot of the day when we were walking up to 18.

Yeah, 8, didn't put a good swing on the first shot, and then I drew a really tough lie there and then I just decelled a little bit, didn't want to chip it over and off the other side. It's not a great position to be in. I hit the putt about a cup outside left, put just -- at that point I'm just trying to get the right speed and two-putt. It's a tough putt to two-putt. Yeah, nice for that to obviously drop.

14, couldn't take an angle at the hole on the chip shot. I had to go out. We tried to hit it 10 feet right. It ended up going maybe 13, 14 feet because it went a little past the hole, and that one found around the back of the lip. Again, it was perfect speed, so it had a chance. And that was the difference in the back nine for me from the front nine.

The front nine I hit some really nice putts that had they been just a rotation harder or a rotation softer, I would have had a couple birdies there, notably 6 and 7 and 1, and 2, actually. The back nine adjusted to the speed, and those mid-rangers had a chance to go in.

Q. You were going to play here the next 20 years regardless because you live here, but what does it mean coming back every year and you're going to see your name on the wall, have a plaid jacket in your locker and you know you're coming back having really taken this course, and also, did you come here ever as a junior? I know you went some to the Nelson. Did you ever come here as a junior?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I remember coming here in 2011 maybe or 2012. I wasn't a junior at that point. I think I was in college or maybe just graduated from high school. I remember coming over and watching a round or two, and I think we came over once or twice when I was a junior.

But yeah, it's special here. It's a special place. It's a really, really cool club and a great golf course. Like I said last Sunday, I told you guys last Sunday, things are close, and now we're going to a course where I've had success in the past, and that does a lot for us. Sure enough, it did.

I love the way that we play this golf course. It fits my game very nicely, and therefore, yeah, I do look very much forward to coming back.

Q. How were you able to keep your composure on the front nine? Like you said, a few missed opportunities to separate yourself from the group and just keep that focus and turn it around on the back nine.
JORDAN SPIETH: Just a bit of experience. Just a bit of experience having been in that position before where I've gotten off to the hot starts like Ryan did, the birdie on 1 and 2 to come back, and then you just try and ride that momentum, take those putts and those positive visuals forward. But I've also been on the side that we had today where you hold the lead and then maybe it's close but it's not quite there. Again, it was really the speed on the greens.

1, 2 and 3 all were going in if I hit it with different speed. So noticing that, not paying much attention to what's going on around you, we had a goal today that we wanted two birdies a side. We wanted to shoot 4-under, and we thought that would be good, maybe win by one or two. Through nine holes we then adjusted and said let's try and get three on the back side, given we were at even par, and then, sure enough, three came right away.

So it was -- yeah, I would just say to answer your question, just a little bit of experience and knowing that the final round Sunday sometimes you just have to have patience for two rounds, just recognize that each nine can really play very different.

Q. Six birdies on the back; was there ever a point where you felt like I will just not be denied today?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not necessarily. I thought that after I birdied 12, you know, I knew that was huge. That's a putt that in the past I have a tendency to kind of not quite rotate the face through and commit and oftentimes miss it a little right. Those kind of four-, five-footers under pressure, that's just my tendency. I recognized that and made that putt, and I thought -- I was in the lead by -- I thought I was in the lead by maybe two at that point. Sure enough, I saw a board, I was tied on 15 with Harry, I think. So I mean, again, it just goes back to my point, there was some fantastic golf played over this weekend.

I was lucky enough to be on the good side of a couple breaks, but no, I did not feel that this is going to be mine. I wish I did, but that I guess was part of getting over this hurdle and closing a tournament out given past experience. I really kept on feeling those nerves, like let's pick our spots and stay true to these, but at no point was I over any shot or putt saying, all right, this is mine. But maybe that opens it up for that to happen now.

Q. How does this deal with your maturation process not only as a golfer but also as a man?
JORDAN SPIETH: Unsure, just because it's so fresh. Like I mentioned earlier, I am already looking back thinking that this will be a very important day that I'll never forget to get back on top and be in the winner's circle. As a golfer, as a person, I can always look back on this experience and say we were strong through -- really shouldn't have been tough times but tough times just given the position we're in, and that creates noise. It's great when you're on top, and it's not fun on the other side of it, but nobody in here has to necessarily experience that side of it. But it makes me really enjoy a moment like this even more. It really does.

Q. These two weeks you've faced galleries unlike any you see the whole rest of the year. What are you hearing as you're playing out there? Are you hearing old Jesuit and UT buddies, people from the neighborhood, and how hard is that to block out?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I don't block it out. It's cool to hear it. Yeah, I hear "go Bearcats," which is my middle school, St. Monica, elementary school and middle school. I spent the most time there out of any school I've gone to. I hear "Hook 'em Horns" all the time every week wherever we go, even more so here, and especially in Austin and Dallas. Fort Worth you hear a lot of, "Jordan, go Frogs," or "Jordan, gig 'em," people yelling out. I don't know why they want to tell me that, but cool, everyone has their school. But yeah, go Rangers for Jesuit. It is awesome to hear it these couple weeks.

Q. Jason two weeks ago, Rory last week, now you. I think we've asked you this before, but did you feel like you needed to answer them in a way or maybe keep up with them? How did you feel about that?
JORDAN SPIETH: There's always certainly the goal to try and be No. 1 in the world. I mean, that's just a fantastic title to own. So for me, I knew there was a large gap. I had been told before last week that had I won last week and this week, I still wouldn't take over, which just speaks to what Jason has been able to do. Rory rounding into form, he's always in form, and he's the one out of us three with double my major championships, with four of them. He's certainly a scary person to be teeing up on the other side of when he's on his game. Same with Jason.

For me it's big just to take a big step and a small chunk into Jason's lead right now, and I think we're both playing next week, so as long as we stay focused, strike the ball like we are and putting like we are, then try and work our way back into contention again.

Q. You've mentioned just here the significance of getting back into the winner's circle after Augusta. Were you actively thinking about August at all either last night entering the round, during the round, coming down the stretch?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I wasn't. But the nerves hit me more than I think they should have or normally would just from the start of the round on today, and that's probably it. Paul Tesori came over on 18 green after I had made the putt, and he said, you heard that guy on 10, didn't you, and I did. Someone yelling out from the crowd, "remember the Masters, Jordan, remember the Masters." Whether he was being positive or negative, I'm not sure, like remember, like get it back because of it, or remember what you did. Either way, there's a little red-ass in me, and it came out on the next few holes. Paulie knew it, and if it wasn't his guy, I think he was happy after that. He was walking with me after we heard that. I heard it a few times in the crowd today, you know, "go Palmer, he's going to do the Masters" or whatever, like that. I mean, that's not fun to hear. It's motivating at the time because you want to get back on top, but you can't be too aggressive. You've got to stick to your game plan. So trying to throw all that out and just focus on what me and Michael are talking about on the next shot is the toughest thing, and we got through that at the end of the round today.

Q. You obviously grew up watching a ton of golf on TV; did the back nine remind you of watching Tiger do that time after time after time where he would turn in a big putt, a big chip, a big shot and just kind of break down whoever was nipping at his heels?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, that never crossed my mind. It was a really cool roar on No. 16 today. That was a putt, I hit my spot on the 8-iron I hit on the tee, right where I wanted to hit it, below the hole, chance to make it but you're not going to be in trouble. Last year I hit a 7-iron, same situation, because I said I think 7 is the right club. I had adrenaline and I hit it above the hole and three-putted and I ended up missing a playoff by a shot. It was a mis-club on our part and it cost me, and it's just funny how things go in full circle and I'm left with an 8-iron below the hole and I make the putt.

But yeah, when that went in, Ryan gave me a high-five. I think he thought a miss and a make there, all of a sudden he's one back then of me and Harry, so I think that kind of drained a little bit, and then 17, you could see by our reactions that there was a little of the draining the chances of him winning.

But like I said earlier, really fun to play alongside those guys. They were just class acts as they always are, and they'll both win plenty of times more themselves.

JOHN BUSH: Jordan, congratulations. Best of luck next week at Memorial.

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