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August 26, 2016

Jordan Spieth

Farmingdale, New York

Q. Not the start you wanted. Talk about getting through the back nine.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's moments like 11 tee box are where I really credit Michael a lot for stepping in there and being a real positive voice, saying, you got really screwed on that shot. You did exactly what we wanted to do on the second shot on 10. Let's find the fairway here, get into rhythm and pretend that didn't happen. He said, let's get two birdies before the turn.

Re-setting a goal there, is really key for me to get my mind away from what happened and look forward. I didn't necessarily early enough; I kept getting frustrated. I hit a couple wedges where I hit it fat on my shots that should be within ten feet and, I got pretty angry with myself on those. Finally just noticed that I was angry. Noticed that it was probably because I was a little groggy from not sleeping much in the break on the first hole.

But whatever it was on 17, I started smiling going to 18 and that was the difference-maker. It's easy to say that with the way the scorecard was afterwards, but it's true. That's what happened today.

Q. You mentioned yesterday, 4- or 5-under would be a good number today to put you in the mix. How do you know that would be the number?
JORDAN SPIETH: I know it's such a tough golf course. It's rare when we play tournaments on courses this challenging. Normally they are majors. But 4-under makes up a lot of ground. I was 2-over and on the cut line, having to play the rest of the back nine. At that point, I'm thinking, let's go ahead and try to get to even for the tournament.

But we started getting some momentum. Obviously the eagle jumps you up there a bit. And I got it to 4-under there on the seventh hole after a good tee shot, I was left with a pretty simple chance of making birdie. Nice to finish those last two with two pars.

Q. What's most important with your game right now, making a perfect putting stroke or making an okay putting stroke and driving it better?
JORDAN SPIETH: Ideally I'm working my butt off for both. The stroke right on -- the stroke, I've never been someone who ever said my stroke has to be perfect. If the ball starts where you're looking, that's all that matters. It doesn't matter what it looks like. Same with the swing.

But for me, right now it comes down to driving the ball. That's going to be the key for me the next couple days. I still don't feel great about the way I swung the driver. I found some fairways towards the end but I need to kind of try and figure out a ball flight I know I can play on each hole, whether it's a draw or a fade. I need to go to the range and kind of figure that out. I was fortunate on a couple of those I mis-hit them, I could find the fairway. I noticed that, and I know it needs to be better; it needs to be a better swing.

To answer your question, putting feels good. So it comes down to more emphasis on driving.

Q. What did you hit on --
JORDAN SPIETH: I hit 6-iron. I had around 200 adjusted to the front with like 206 to the hole. My 6-iron is 195 club. It was supposed to being downwind but it was almost neutral to left-to-right, maybe a little hurt, and I knew I needed all of it and I smashed it. It's as good of a 6-iron as I've hit.

Q. How would compare to how you're feeling right now to Friday at this event last year?
JORDAN SPIETH: I remember standing on this podium, I remember being right there, and it was almost like the wheels just came off the back nine the first day. I was like, you know what, it's okay, regroup.

Obviously it didn't hurt me much for the year. I knew that an extra couple days of having six days before playing again was probably good for me. I ended up missing the next cut, but I remember being okay with it there. I was obviously upset about my finish.

Right now, it never crossed my mind to think of a missed the cut last year. This is my fourth year now. There's been plenty of tournaments I've gone to after missing cuts. I've played tournaments where I've played really well and missed the cut. PLAYERS I think is a great tournament for me and I've missed the cut the last two years.

Never really on my mind to compare year-to-year, but happy to go from that cut line to contention.

Q. Do you think Russell Knox has done enough to get a pick --
JORDAN SPIETH: He's a better guy than he is a player and that's saying something. I asked his caddie, "Has Russell ever said a bad word," is what I asked him on No. 8.

He said, "Maybe once in awhile to me, but I deserved it; I'd give myself one, too."

He's a great guy. The fact that his World Golf Championships win doesn't count is a bummer. I think he would be fourth in the standings is what I had heard. I don't think there's any doubt he deserves that pick. I think it would be ridiculous if he didn't get one of the picks.

Q. You and Patrick have played a lot of golf together and he's one of the guys above you on the leaderboard. How surprising it is he has not won given how consistent he's been?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I was actually kind of thinking about that briefly yesterday when I saw him at the top of the leaderboard. It's like, all you've got to do is light the fire a little with him. If he plays golf with some -- whether it be motivation or just feeling like he's been a little off and he needs to just do that little bit extra, he always brings it.

I am a bit surprised that he hasn't, but it's not easy to win. At the same time, you can play really well and someone plays just a little bit better. As long as he's building momentum and he's bringing what we had at the last Ryder Cup, I'll be certainly pleased with that.

Q. When you talk about beating yourself up after that double-bogey to open, is that something that you've had to work on in the past almost as much as your game?
JORDAN SPIETH: I've never really been known for having a temper on the golf course, I don't think, and I think it's healthy to be upset when you don't execute to the level that you expect to execute on, or anywhere near it on a couple of those wedges.

But I still throw it away by the next shot. I may be angry walking up and kind of talking to Michael about whatever it may be, my swing or what I did there, the wind. But by the time I hit the next one, it's over.

But just the level of anger I got to where I want to just throw the club in the bag, you know what I mean, that's normal out here. You'll see it anywhere. And it's probably normal with you guys when you're on the golf course, too (laughter).

But there's nothing good that necessarily comes out of it. So recognizing that and bouncing back quicker is more useful.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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