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January 10, 2017
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth into the interview room. He's making his second career start at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
You're coming off an excellent week last week in Maui, and you led the field in birdies. Could you give some comments on that today and also being back here?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, we certainly had the firepower last week. Just a couple tough breaks and then a couple bad swings. Certainly expected in the first week back. Unfortunately they cost me multiple shots, where last year, I probably got away with par.
But we played well enough to win. I hit the ball well enough to win. Needed to make a few more putts, but been practicing hard the last two days here, actually, and feel like I've made some strides off of last week even.
Played 18 today. Course is very firm. Ball is running a lot in the fairways and it's going to continue to, which will definitely change the golf course. It's very difficult from last week. We feel good about our chances.
JOHN BUSH: I know you have got some exciting news to share with you and Under Armour.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yes, I'm going to be heading into Tokyo from here early next week to release my first shoe. It's going to be really cool. I'm going to start wearing it right after that. Been working hard with Under Armour for awhile on finalizing it, really. It's been a year in the making, a year or over a year in the making. Really excited about what it's going to be.
So we're going to go over there. We're going to go to Seoul, South Korea, as well, and a few-day trip to Asia before coming back, and I'll also spend some time in L.A., Mexico City and then there will be another launch in London.
Really excited about Under Armour's commitment to allowing me to kind of help make this with them and to spread it around the world.
Q. Does this compare to last year when you were in the middle of that whirlwind run of playing all over the globe? Do you feel more different now, more refreshed, body and mind, compared to where you were at this age last year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Definitely. I had, really, two off-seasons, one real off-season and then one in December, the last two weeks of December. So I just had more time off. I was able to take more time away from the game. Take more time to kind of build my lower body up, get legs back under me and feel like I'm starting this year out ready to play a lot of events.
And 2016 was almost a rolling-into from '15, just a couple-week break here, a couple-week break there. '15, we went Korea, back; China, back; Australia, back; and then Hawai'i to Abu Dhabi, Singapore.
Yeah, this year being Australia and Hawai'i, but playing two PGA TOUR events here and then going back to the States with a couple weeks off coming up, is going to be really nice and I feel like it's really, really going to help me come middle of the summer.
Q. You said last week in Maui that this golf course, you and Michael had a conversation, this is one of the golf courses that fits your strength. What are your strengths on this golf course?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think it's a bit of carving the ball both directions. I think the smaller, trickier greens are better for me. Requires a little bit more touch around the greens and certainly putting.
I like the greens at Kapalua the way that they roll, the speed of these, they are faster, shorter strands of bermuda, and a little trickier to read. I think that -- I mean, we like that. We tend to putt well on those types of greens at Colonial, Hilton Head. These are the same style of green, and same style of golf courses. We feel comfortable on those types where it's not necessarily the longest, risk/reward, kind of figure out how you're feeling, what kind of chances you want to take.
There will be times this week where the ball will release further than expected and all of the sudden you have to hit a cut around the tree even though you're on the right side of the fairway, or other way around, you have to hit a draw out of a tree. Being forced to play different trajectories and ball flights I think plays into our hands.
JORDAN SPIETH: A little bit. In Kapalua, it certainly requires a lot of that. Here it requires a lot greater ball flights, as well, off the tee. Tighter landing areas. You have to have smaller misses. I think that kind of plays into our favor.
We like to think our way around the golf course a lot and miss it in the right location. Kapalua, it didn't really matter. There are a few holes that are tight. But for the most part, massive fairways, massive greens, and the way it played this year, was just kind of target practice with it being softer.
Excited about this being a bit more of a challenge on approach shots, and seeing what we got.
Q. Curious if there was in any way a different mind-set or a higher level of concentration with round four last week, as opposed to the three rounds, just because of maybe the time off or whatever, or was there a different mind-set in terms of aggressiveness or something else? Or was it just simply you played better?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, the longest putt I made was ten feet. So I didn't do anything special there. Friday, Saturday, I made a couple longer putts. And it was tougher on Sunday, I thought, than Friday and Saturday. The wind direction changed to that, I think east/northeast, which made some of the holes that were down into off the left, into off the left, which changed the game a bit on the back nine.
I didn't think I had any less or more focus or confidence. I think it was about the same. It was just kind of a couple ill-timed shots I got a couple bad breaks. I mean, one really bad swing on 17 and really rushed that hole through to make triple instead of bogey. So I cost myself mentally a couple shots on that hole on, what was that, Friday, Saturday -- Friday.
But the other doubles I made or bogeys I made was just kind of rust swing, trying to do a little too much. So Sunday it was, hey, firepower is there, birdies are going to come. I believed it. Just play to the right spots instead of just really try to get it next to every single hole. There's a little bit of, hey, I've already played three competitive rounds, and maybe a little bit of rust on my thought process had worn off, but I wouldn't say much.
Q. I'm curious also, you start the year and you definitely, everybody starts thinking about the Masters, but I wonder if you look beyond that all, for these about Bahamas vacation events, if you'll go for more than four guys this coming year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not sure yet. There's talks of where it will be, how many will be involved. Some big names being mentioned. But we'll see who makes the cut (laughter).
Q. More people in the field?
JORDAN SPIETH: Potentially. We are not limiting the field to four, yeah.
Q. What would be a successful year for you this year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Grand Slam (laughter). Honestly, I want to have a lot more fun. I want to smile more on the golf course. I want to just feel like I'm really enjoying the process of playing and living out my dream. I mean, obviously with my personality, good golf certainly helps that.
But even when things aren't necessarily going as planned, just recognizing that's going to be the case. Specifically, I want to win more than last year. You know, each year I want to win more than the year before.
Australia kind of counted into this season. Yeah, I mean, on the PGA TOUR, I'd certainly like to grab a few wins this year and definitely have a chance and close out a major championship. That's ultimately the goal, is to peak for those events.
We believe that we have the firepower and the mind to close the deal, so it's just about getting back, wherever it may be. Certainly the focus is on the Masters right now.
Q. Are you saying that last year wasn't necessarily fun?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think there were certainly times where my fuse was a little too short. I mean, people go through those kind of stretches. Just felt like I kind of -- I don't know, just here and there, complained a bit where it was unnecessary. Just when I'm talking to Michael and stuff.
And I just -- it's just not -- it doesn't do any good. So when you have time to think about the season, and think about the year and the next year, you kind of realize, hey, you know, pretty soon we're going to have been on TOUR for 15 years. Why not really enjoy that. Just keep making each year feel like -- feel like it lasts a long time and you have a lot of great times every single week and just enjoy the process.
I mean, I'm going to make doubles and triples, and I'm going to make birdies and eagles and holes in one in my career on the PGA TOUR. Not living on such a short fuse will be a goal this year, and just -- doesn't mean not be angry at bad rounds or bad holes, because that's natural and that's how you bounce back. If you were okay with bogeys, then it would be harder to go on a birdie string right after.
But it just means not taking it to that extra level and just, you know, recognizing what happened and then fix it.
Q. Have you made your decision or mind regarding the strength of field policy in adding an event you haven't played in the last five years, and if so, was it tough or hard to do, or was it relatively straightforward?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm not sure where it's going to be or what's going to happen yet. I got really unlucky with that, because I play 25-plus events I think in a PGA TOUR season typically. And then the year it was implemented was the year after I went and played those overseas tournaments, and therefore, I didn't play -- I think I played 23 or 24 last year. I think I was like one shy, one or two shy on the PGA TOUR season of just qualifying.
And 2015 and 2014, I played plenty of events, and I will continue to. I look forward to playing 25-plus events on the PGA TOUR for years to come. So I'm not sure what's going to happen yet. Been in talks with the officials, and they have been good talks.
Obviously trying to solve it by adding an event. I understand the rule. Understand why it's there. Feel like I just got a bit unlucky in the timing of it, but that also happens. We'll just have to deal with it.
Q. You were a star at 16, but you obviously weren't going to turn pro right then. Can you imagine if you had turned pro, or would you have even entertained the thought at 16, given how good you were, going pro?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I wouldn't have entertained it. At Byron Nelson, if I had gotten top three and someone said you could have taken some kind of status, I don't know exactly what -- I doubt I would have -- I would have made zero dollars, which means zero FedExCup points.
I don't think it would have made much of a difference. I think if I had won, I would have an option to have a two-year exemption. Not sure what would have happened if that were the case, but I was not prepared to turn pro after, and it didn't cross my mind after, either. I was a junior in high school. I was looking forward to going to Texas.
I had full intentions when I went to Texas of being there for four years. And when I was 16, I definitely wasn't thinking about turning professional yet.
Q. There's other parts of the world, the college system doesn't exist like it does and people turn pro at 16, 17, 18, all the time. Given younger the talent we are seeing on TOUR --
JORDAN SPIETH: Certainly 17, 18, after high school. And there are I think quite a few people right now that are under the age of 18 that are professional in other parts of the world.
And yeah, I think that that's probably likely. I mean, you go to college to prepare yourself to get a job in whatever you're studying, right. Obviously in the States, it's big about having a full experience and growing -- to get a job, but also growing as a person and just living away from home, all that.
But I still had those kind of experiences in my first couple years on TOUR and I was able to go visit back in college, too. So I felt like I was prepared for what I was going to do for a living sooner than graduation. If people feel that they are that prepared and they turn professional, then more power to them and certainly wish them the best.
It's a tough road. You have to get very fortunate at the right time. But there are ways to do it and if they want to start that process early, just full-time golf -- I think we probably will start to see that, just given the game is growing younger and younger.
But I think -- I wouldn't advise the idea to anybody that's a friend for sure, just because it requires a lot.
Q. How many times do you think you have to play around the world -- becoming a world player?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't know it's the number of times, as much as it is consistently doing it. I mean, going, not taking five-year spans off from playing anywhere else. It would be a really much better question for a Gary Player combined with a Jack Nicklaus, getting a foreign perspective and an American perspective, or players from all over the world.
I feel like I am right now. I feel like I have been the last two years. I don't think I needed to play more to be so. But it's about consistently taking those opportunities. And for me, it's very useful, because I love travelling and I like seeing different cultures, different parts of the world. So I gain these experiences out of this that a lot of people don't have the opportunity to get and I feel fortunate for that and really enjoy that and embrace that.
This year, I'm not looking to do that for the PGA TOUR season. But after the PGA TOUR season's over, certainly other options are open again going forward. I think I'll go, personally, your question wasn't even to me personally. I'm turning it to about me. But I believe that in the next ten years, I'll continue to do a similar process to what I have done in the last couple. I'll certainly adjust based on what I feel is advantageous to my golf and schedule.
But I think somebody that does it, at least plays in one or two events, probably two or three events every other year, or more, is a world player.
Q. To be a world player --
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I don't think so. I think being there, to be a world champion, probably, yeah. But to be a world player, no. You just have to go do it and experience it.
JOHN BUSH: Jordan Spieth, good luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports