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February 12, 2017
Pebble Beach, California
AMANDA HERRINGTON: We would like to welcome our 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am champion, Jordan Spieth, to the interview room. Your ninth win in your hundredth professional start on TOUR. Pretty special win. You were in the driver's seat all week long.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I was, yesterday was obviously a great setup as I explained in here, grabbing three birdies in the last four to go from three shots to six is a huge difference. It gives me a bit of leeway today.
And then I also explained in here that our goal for the day was to try and hit as many greens in regulation as we could. I hit 17 of them today. The one I missed was just a jumper out of the rough that I didn't plan for. So it was just all-in-all tee to green exactly what I was looking for and it led to a lot of tap in pars.
And fortunate to get that birdie early on 2, that was a key shot. 8 was a key approach shot. And then the up-and-down on 13.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: With that we'll start with questions.
Q. You left some putts short early. Just wondering if that was sort of part of the plan was to be conservative in how you putted the greens?
JORDAN SPIETH: Ideally it was to hit them a foot past. Leave that same length, but get it to the hole to have a chance. I was a little tentative early for sure. You don't want 3-footers on these greens. It's tough to make putts on poa annua from three plus feet. You can hit good putts that just kind of bounce or miss or whatever. So that, obviously, scared me a little bit. But I was getting frustrated there for a little while, because I was hitting my lines. And I was hitting great shots and I was playing like a 3-, 4-under round through, I would say, 11, 12 holes, and I was at 1-under and only a three shot lead when I felt like I should have maintained that same lead the way I was playing. So, I got frustrated a little. Michael did a great job calming me down. I wasn't overly frustrated, it didn't lead into anything else, it was just a bit of, just like a lack of wanting those two, 3-footers coming back and not taking that chance.
But got the one on 17 to go and that was the one I definitely could leave short, and then that one of course got there and went in. But, yeah, again, it was make it as stress free as possible, hit as many greens in regulation as you can, easy pars, if they go, they go.
Q. What does it mean to put your name on that trophy with the history of this great tradition here? And what does this say about your game leading into the next several weeks, which are huge?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it means a lot. I've read a lot about the Bing Crosby. Seems like it was even a, as good a time as anybody had in a tournament back in the day. It's a special golf tournament at an extremely special place for a golfer. It's hard to beat Pebble Beach. And to play this weekend out here and walk with these beautiful conditions we had on the weekend and walk alongside good friends with Dustin and AJ and Brandt and Scotty Vail and Michael by my side and Jake and his dad by our side, it just had a lot of fun. I was smiling a lot today. I apologized to Jake on 17 tee, I said, "I'm sorry I haven't been as social today, I'm kind of grinding little bit." And he said, "Yeah, man, what's up with that?" So, he's awesome. It was a lot of fun. It's great to have your name anywhere around this place. The greats of the game all have theirs here. So it was a bucket list type win.
Q. Moving ahead?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it says a lot. I've struck the ball very similar the last four, how many tournaments have we played this year? Four tournaments. Been striking the ball very well. My misses have been on the greens. And made very few mistakes. Just been waiting for the putter to come around from those mid-range, mid-range length and it did on the middle two rounds. That was clutch. It was great. I was able to see rounds go to 7-under versus stopping at 3- or 4- because I just couldn't get them to keep falling. Kind of like today, it was similar to kind of the rest of the year.
Got a lot of confidence in my putter back this week. And it wasn't far off, I knew it wasn't, it was just a matter of one goes, they all start going, the hole looks bigger. So, that fortunately happened going from one of my favorite courses in the world to one of my favorite this next week to try and carry on this momentum as we dive into the season.
Q. You said yesterday you were having a little trouble hooking the ball. But on hole No. 6, your second shot up the hill, were you worried about that shot at all, because it was pretty close to the cliff.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I got up there and it was a really, really fortunate break. I thought it was just in the bunker. On the line I had, I thought I hit it in the sand trap there. And when they said it's in between the sand trap and the hazard, I'm like, man, maybe it's our day. I left that one open a little. It's tough because I was on down slope lie with the ball below my feet, but you got to hit it straight up that hill and you don't want to miss left. So it's like, it's just a really tough shot to get directly on line. I didn't think it was that far off. It was further off -- normally I think it's worse than it is and that time surprised me a little bit. It's one of my favorite holes in the world. I was a little bummed I didn't birdie it either day this week. But playing that stretch of -- 5's one of the best par-3s in the world, too. It's probably the most underrated, in my opinion, that there is and to play the stretch of 5, 6, 7 there is so cool. Yeah, I got a bit lucky there.
Q. The other one I wanted to ask you about was 8, where you drove left and had a very tough second shot. Was it a hybrid that you used?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it was a hybrid. It wasn't necessarily the smartest play, because I had shots to spare. I had about 210 to the hole, into the breeze from the left, had a really bad lie in the rough. If it had -- I guess it had bounced and kind of hit a guy. If it had kept on going in the trampled area, it actually would have been in a better position. So it kind of came back into the thicker stuff. I lined up in the left bunker thinking, I'm just going to kind of play a little kind of cut shot out of there, which is the shot to get it out of the rough. And if it stays straight at the bunker, then that's my easiest chance at making four. If it cuts, then great. After I struck it in mid-air, that was awesome. I think it was clear, I'm not sure if it was on camera or not, but I was very, very excited once that ball landed on the green. That was really avoiding a big number there. That could have been a double or triple very, very easily, if that doesn't come out the right way. So, that was the shot of the day for me.
Q. Do you feel that this was one of your better swinging rounds this week? Because I never seen you swing better. And also, what's your schedule for, before the Masters?
JORDAN SPIETH: I did think that I struck the ball nicely. I was still fighting a bit of the lefts. My face is just a little shut coming down. So I moved the ball a little back in my stance today and I tried to maintain my posture. And then, so I had some balls start out right and draw, but at least they were coming back to where I was looking versus the hooks. So, it was nice, especially wedge play into, like, shots like 14, being able to trust that kind of punch wedge into there. The 8-iron on 16, the shot on 17, shot on 18. Just even when they weren't right on, being able to be below the hole putting was key.
I thought that I struck the ball the best the first round and the conditions were horrible the first round. That was the best I've ever hit the ball in those kind of conditions and it was my best ball striking day of the week, I think. We had a really tough go when we caught the worst of the weather, too, right along the coast there at Monterey on 10 through 13. So, that was really nice to play those holes pretty well, given the conditions.
Q. You said the other day about the importance of winning before the Masters. We all know the cache the Majors carry in golf. How much of a direct line is there between a win like this and how you do at Augusta? How much does it help?
JORDAN SPIETH: Just recent visualization. Just being able to draw back on positive shots, positive putts, when you needed them to close stuff out. For me, this was, this was as well as I've struck the ball closing a tournament, I think ever. I've kind of make it interesting, unfortunately, in the past and I stayed true to hitting greens. This is the most greens in regulation I've ever hit on a Sunday with the lead. And to be able to come in and not really stress and just the only stress I had was why the birdie putts weren't going in. That's awesome. I can take that going forward.
I hit -- I hit two great shots in the playoff in Australia. I thought about those today, because I kind of scrapped it around a little and got up-and-down and made some putts in regulation to get in the playoff, which was kind of my forte, unfortunately. But then I got into that playoff and I said, enough with this, we're going to hit two really solid shots and trust it. What's the worst that can happen? And I hit two good shots and made the putt there. And that was awesome.
And then came into yesterday and today, where I could trust my swings, versus relying on the putter. I didn't rely on the putter at all today. And to win that day is new for me and it certainly, kept some more hair on my head. Yes, I went back to that, Doug, I know. I went back to that.
Q. Keep the hat on.
JORDAN SPIETH: With the hat on. It ain't coming off right now.
Q. You are unfairly compared to 2015, it seems like constantly, but how do you think you're a better player since then?
JORDAN SPIETH: A little bit more experience on both sides. I've seen the lows. I've seen even more highs. Every win you gain a little more confidence off the last one. And then when you have tough losses you, obviously, figure out a way to learn from those. And my ball striking's been much improved.
I didn't hit the ball great at the 2015 Masters. I putted out of my mind.
U.S. Open, struck it pretty well. Actually hit the ball the best the second half of that year. And I'm back to kind of that level of striking the ball. When the putter continues to be there like it was those middle two rounds here, then we can be pretty dangerous.
Q. Is there a tangible difference in confidence as far as hitting the ball well and wracking up Top-10s as you were and actually closing and winning? Is that something tangibly you feel?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, you know, not tee to green. I didn't feel any difference. You get, obviously, a bit more pressure when you're in the lead versus free swinging to come from behind and shoot, I think I shot 8-under then 7-under the two Sundays in Hawaii and then a 4-under in -- so I was free swinging there and nothing to lose. So you obviously have a little more pressure, so I can take a bit off of that.
But just seeing the putts go, feeling like my stroke and my speed control was much improved. Obviously, today I left a lot short, but I'm talking mainly about the two days prior. Just beautiful speed control. When the ball didn't go in, I was tapping in. That's kind of where, that's what I got back to this week on greens that I have not putted well, historically whatsoever. It's been my worst putting week going back the last four years. So that's saying something there. If you can putt well here, you can putt well just about anywhere. It's difficult to putt well here. So that was nice.
Q. Fantastic performance. I could tell that your confidence is just completely back, it's palpable. As you're playing the round it looks like it's front and center. So, do you feel that's driving the performance or the performance is driving the confidence?
JORDAN SPIETH: They just ride together. A little bit of both. Obviously, getting off to a good start this week drives the confidence up and the ball striking and then putter came with it. But, yeah, they kind of ride together. I'm not sure if I thought about either one driving the other.
Q. It's been a couple of, in the last couple years, "first guy since Tiger to" statistics that are thrown out there. Are you comfortable with those.
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm sorry?
Q. There's been a lot of quote, "first guy since Tiger" references in the last couple years, from your Major run and today with your ninth win at this age. Are you comfortable with those?
JORDAN SPIETH: Sure. Probably more comfortable than I was a couple years ago just because I recognize the longevity of a career and, again, I've seen the ups and downs. I really do feel like in the last two and a half years I've had enough experiences that people normally have in a 20-year career on TOUR. And so I think that recognizing the longevity of a career, I don't think anyone's going to win at the same percentage that Tiger won at, so that's a bit different. I started earlier than he did. No, I don't think it's fair to necessarily compare to it, but at the same time, I'm in the here to tell you guys how to do your job, so you don't tell me how to do mine, you just ask me about mine. So you guys can do whatever you want.
But we're focused -- and I think I think less of that than I have in the past and it's an honor, it really is an honor. But getting to where you're the first guy, even including Tiger, to do something, is maybe the next goal. But that might be pretty hard.
Q. Do the losses bother you?
JORDAN SPIETH: I just, I've had, yeah, I don't know if I've had enough losses to -- I mean, if you're like comparing to -- yeah, that long of a career. But I've had some, a couple tough losses. So, I've at least felt inside the ups and the downs to try and rebound from.
Q. So "Take that scums." Is that what this was this week?
JORDAN SPIETH: What's that? No. No. I shouldn't have used that word. But I was a bit frustrated.
Q. It was a good word. Let's compare you then to you two years ago, 2015, until a further -- you have a big career ahead of you, but until further notice that's the standard people are going to be looking at. How do you feel now versus how you felt in February in 2015? And do you feel a 2015-type year coming on given the way you're playing?
JORDAN SPIETH: 2015 year, takes a bit of luck. You got to be in the right position at the right time and have the right breaks. I feel like I'm in a position where I can get myself those chances. Whether it comes out with the same results, maybe not, but I don't think comparing to the 2015 as being the standard is fair because that would be comparing to someone who would win 45 Majors and almost a hundred events. So I don't think of that as the standard. I think of that as put ourselves in the right position and obviously try and capitalize each time, because we had a lot of fun that year.
I had a lot of fun last year, too. It was a great year. I'm not sure what my standard is yet. But I'm trying to improve each day, trying to improve my ball striking, which was No. 1, and we have done that. And so maintaining that and continuing to keep it consistent with short game work can put us in enough positions to have the success like we did then. But right now, not sure what a standard is. I think it takes maybe a decade to figure that out.
Q. Australian Open aside, you hadn't won a PGA TOUR event since May and I don't know if that weighed on your mind at all or bugged you.
JORDAN SPIETH: I thought about that on 18, when was the last time we were standing here in a PGA TOUR event. It was May. And I don't think I played that many events since then. I probably played a dozen. So, what is it, we have had nine in a hundred starts, that's close to 10 percent, which is pretty cool. When you're going to -- if that's the case, I should probably play 35 events a year to get those win numbers up. But, no, I feel really good about where things are. Obviously wanted to close on one. You don't want to go too long. But hopefully it leads to a bit of a waterfall affect and we can at least be in the position enough. I'm not saying that I'll end up closing them, because I was the guy that got hot this week that kind of ruined what would have been a good tournament. A lot of times you get a good tournament, guys are bunched, and someone's got to make the putts at the end. This wasn't one of those. I got hot enough the last two days to be able to cruise, kind of make it boring. That's going to happen even when, even if I play well next week, someone may be five shots ahead, just dead on. I didn't really make any mistakes this week and that's rare.
Q. Four bogeys.
JORDAN SPIETH: Four bogeys. And three of them were 3-putts from fringes off the green. So, that's, you're going to do pretty well if that's the case. So put myself in position again, see if we can go less than eight months next time.
Q. You talked a little bit about feeling a little frustrated on the greens today. Then you get on 17 and Jake said you called the putt. So what gave you, what made you call the putt?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, I didn't really call it, I was talking to myself as I walked back to read the putt and I said, "All right, let's get this one to go, Jordan." I mean this, it would be about time. And I was just talking to myself and Jake hears things that I say that I don't even think he hears. So he walked off the green and he goes, "Dude, you called that. I knew that was going in once you were calling in." And I'm like, "I'm glad you knew it was going in, I was just trying to hit it the right speed."
So, I can't remember exactly what I said, but I was just -- sometimes I'm just trying to pump myself up a little verbally and walked back and like, "all right, come on, this is the one, this one's going in, you're due." I think that is something like what I said. But I think I said it on a lot of putts today and that one went in, so I'm glad he only heard that one.
Q. At your age, getting to this level, can you talk about a lot of the preparation behind the scenes that we don't see and the sacrifice that you have?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I work really hard. I do. I'm not here to tell people that, I'm just here to play, I don't play to -- I'm not real busy on social media showing all the work, I just, I enjoy doing it because I just enjoy getting better at the game and I like being in the positions we were in today. As stressful as it can be, that's the adrenaline rush that I crave. That's my drug is the adrenaline today that I woke up a bit early and couldn't really go back to sleep. Part of you don't enjoy that, but you enjoy having to have that, I guess, if that makes any sense. So, yeah, I go to the gym, try and get better in there, just mainly for injury prevention, I'm not trying to do too much, but trying to get stronger and get more flexible and maintain kind of where I'm at. And then I've been hitting a lot more balls lately and it's shown up for me when I've been visualizing my shots coming in, I can look back to a lot of those shots I hit on the practice range. So, there's a lot of really hard working guys out here and it's inspiring and you have to continue to do that or else you're not going to be -- you may be able to have success in the short-term, but over the long-term, you got to put in the work.
Q. You said that this is one of your favorite courses, which we all understand and Riviera. Now these are both two different courses.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, very different.
Q. Yeah. Why are they so favorite and what's special or what's your approach for next week then?
JORDAN SPIETH: The design at Riviera is spectacular, in my opinion. I think it's so well designed, I think that it's a course that doesn't need much rough and it still is very challenging. Scores are normally around 10-under par, which is pretty high compared to the norm. And I think that's great. I think it's advantageous to be in a fairway and be on a certain side of the fairway. You have to work every single shot out here, it's very well designed as well. It also is absolutely beautiful. It's beautiful at Riviera, too, but you're kind of down in the canyon the whole time. They play very different. And Riviera plays more to my strength, I think. Really soft greens that spin a lot is the type of golf course that I've struggled with in the past. And that's what I'm taking the most out of this is these half wedge shots, this kind of controlled ball flight, trying to take spin off and leave the ball below the hole, and to be able to find success in that this week is something I haven't been able to do. It would be, I would say if you asked me at the beginning of the year where is an easier place for you to win, certainly Riviera, for my game. And I've had more success there in the past, I played this tournament pretty well, but I've almost won there and I haven't really almost won here. Well until today. But this is just beautiful, they're both well designed, but totally different. You're right.
Q. Justin's on top of the world and coming out of Hawaii and then Hideki reminds us of what he's done over the last four months. John Rahm's the example of the latest growing group of young stars, etcetera. How do you think, not that you care, but how do you think your win today is perceived and secondly, what's it like to see all this going around from your shoes? From your Spieth One's. You're welcome.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, second week in the new shoes.
Q. Oh, stop.
JORDAN SPIETH: They worked great. Especially in this, in the weather conditions that we had. Wasn't worried about my shoes.
Q. Okay. Move on.
JORDAN SPIETH: Okay. You can start buying them March 1st.
So, how is it going to be perceived? I'm not sure. And nor do I honestly really care. I don't mean that in a bad way towards anybody else, I think it's awesome. I think it's awesome what's happened this year in the game. I think it's seven straight winners or eighth straight winner in their 20s. It's amazing that that hasn't happened, I don't know if it's ever happened. But what Justin did was something that I've seen for a number of years, so that wasn't that surprising. Hideki wasn't that surprising to me either. John Rahm's been highly talked about, so as a player, having practiced and played with these guys, certainly saw, could see that coming. It wasn't too surprising. I think for me I'm certainly focused on what we can do leading into the Masters this year, I know that it's going to be as difficult as any to win, so, in other words, what I'm trying to say is, I'm not really focused on what the other guys are doing, I think it's great, but it doesn't change or perceive the way I think of the win today or the way that this year's gone for me, it's just kind of cool on the side, I guess.
Q. Do you ever step back and see that, knowing how tough it is to win out here, that nine at this age is pretty good?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, no, I'm very, very happy with what we have had and when I look back and see how hard it is to win, I remember walking up 18 today thinking to myself, I don't think that I've enjoyed the wins as much as I've kind of talked to myself about the losses. I don't think I've really enjoyed on the inside how much it takes to win out here and the hard work that goes into winning when you do win and just really had a chance to just thoroughly enjoy it on the inside what it feels like. It's great, but I've almost been like, okay, that's what we worked hard to do and if I think about that, then I'm going to look back a number of years from now and think, you know, man, I wish I really enjoyed these wins more, because, honestly, in the amount of weeks that you play golf, to the amount of times you actually are on top, they're very spread out. So, I remember walking up 18 and there and Augusta were probably the two times I've walked up and obviously being able to walk up and knowing you're going to win is one thing, but I really, really enjoyed it today and soaked it in at the end on the green. I just remember just kind of just I had visions of just giving myself fist pumps in there just, like this is awesome, this is really, really cool, because it is really tough to do. And I'll obviously when I'm playing next week and I have a pro-am tomorrow morning, doesn't exactly give me a lot of time to enjoy this win, but what I'm saying is, internally, looking back at the work I put in this week and in the last couple leading into it, I'm very much enjoying it.
Q. Besides the nice paycheck, that trophy is unbelievable looking. And it's big and it's shiny.
JORDAN SPIETH: Looks like the old, it looks like the old Bing Crosby maybe ones that, I mean, they always had cool paint jobs and designs. So, yeah, it's unique.
Q. So you have one week left on the West Coast, so do you put that in the box and ship it home? Do you sleep with it every night?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I think it's drinkable, so I'll probably take it with me. So I'll -- yeah, it was offered to have it shipped home and I said I'll probably just take it with us next week.
Q. You could drink from your new shoe.
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, I would, but they're not stench proof, they're just great shoes.
AMANDA HERRINGTON: Congratulations. Thank you all.
JORDAN SPIETH: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports