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August 23, 2017

Jordan Spieth

Old Westbury, New York

MARK WILLIAMS: Thanks for joining us. At the Northern Trust, the first of the Playoff events. You're the 2015 FedExCup Champion, coming in here you're No. 3 in the FedExCup rankings and you've played every FedExCup you've been eligible for.

Since you've turned professional and started on TOUR, the FedExCup has been part of your life. Just talk about that a little, if you would.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's tremendous. I've just looked at it as well done by the PGA TOUR for giving us this extra opportunity and creating obviously this excitement towards the end of our year. We don't take it lightly.

These few events, these next three events are essentially four PGA TOUR events as far as getting yourself in position in that last one. The idea for the next three TOUR events is to get yourself into the top 5 in Atlanta, so you can control your own destiny, and having been able to be in that position a couple times now and in position to do so, as long as I can get off to a good start this week.

MARK WILLIAMS: Also, this may have been your first look at Glen Oaks, not sure if that's true or not, but just give us your thoughts on the golf course this week.

JORDAN SPIETH: It's a big golf course. It's a big hitter's golf course. Wider fairways, extremely thick rough with big greens. It reminds me of like a Congressional, even like a Muirfield, Jack's place. So you know, obviously you kind of need a little bit of everything. You've got to work the ball both ways; it forces you to do so.

It's a really cool golf course. It's a beautiful looking golf course. I would look for lower scores this week just because of the areas around the greens aren't too bad. There's a lot of fairway mown run offs where you can put the ball or it's a little easier to chip from. This rough is pretty nasty but there's not a ton of it around the greens.

Look for some exciting scoring. You can see some longer putts on these greens, as well.

MARK WILLIAMS: Weather looks fantastic.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, the next two weeks it looks unbelievable. Anywhere in the summertime in the States, you expect it to rain every few days. It's going to be a beautiful couple of events.

Q. When you guys come to a new course like this, obviously there's no horses for courses here. In some ways, is that kind of a bit of an equalizer for the field?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yes, I think so. When guys haven't seen the place. Then you start to play the course and try and figure out, you know, what game plan like for me, I've got to take a little bit different game plan than the guys that fly it 310. There's quite a few carries that make holes, you take different lines on, doglegs and so forth.

But I think it's definitely an advantage to, it brings in more of the field.

Q. Could I ask you a couple of questions towards The Presidents Cup? What will the likes of J.T. and Kisner and Berger, the new blood, bring to the team?
JORDAN SPIETH: Youth. Not Kis, Kis is old (laughter). It's going to be really cool. I think a lot of passion. I think really, anybody, it brings that out in anybody.

But I think those guys in particular, aren't afraid of the big moments, and you've got an opportunity to play for your country, which creates a lot of big moments. You feel kind of the pressure closer to a major championship than anywhere else.

I think it's been extremely beneficial in how I've been able to play majors, is the way that just having the experience of the team events.

Also, just getting to know everybody a bit better. Just hanging out in the team room. These events are more so, I think even more enjoyable off the course than on, and as we've shown, they are pretty enjoyable on the course.

So you get this these guys that are most likely going to be on teams for 20 years to come, and we're able to kind of all really start I think the guys that are on the team now, you've got a good group that are probably going to be on the team for the next 20 years, and that's pretty rare to have the same guys; it's a Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Tiger type thing, that doesn't happen very often.

Q. Mickelson is on the outside looking in, but if he were to either make the team or be a pick, what does Phil Mickelson bring to a team on the course and off the course?
JORDAN SPIETH: Phil brings a lot to the team room. On the course, he's very good at kind of figuring out, if players are up in the air about who they should play with, he's very good about feeling that out. As long as he knows the guys well, which he knows pretty much everybody, he's pretty good at feeling out the styles of games which will complement each other. He's just seen a lot over the years.

In the team room, he's as good as everybody. He and Furyk and Stricker, Freddie, these guys are awesome in the team room. Just keeping it light, understanding kind of the mentality what to say, when to say it, to get everybody ready to go.

Q. J.T. was in before and he said one of the absolute best things about winning the major was the happiness that Tiger took in his in his triumph. What is that like for to you have Tiger to have that guy congratulate you?
JORDAN SPIETH: It's amazing. It's amazing. I was getting texts from him each round at The Open Championship after each round, like "good start kid" and then it was "keep it going" and "you've got this, stay focused," whatever it may be.

The fact that he's interested and is watching and is kind of rooting on, really everybody, to do well, and wants an exciting finish; and then just from a guy you looked up to growing up playing the game, and you know, kind of as an I am mortal figure in the game to all of a sudden he's rooting for you down the stretch in a major, it's just well, I say that. He's good buddies with Kuch, as well, so he's rooting for both of us, right.

Just to have kind of him reach out and contact after, he and Phil, these are guys that you grew up idolizing. That's a pretty cool experience.

Q. I think everyone is kind of intrigued about the FedExCup because it's $10 million. I always wonder, when you won the ten million, did you treat yourself to anything special after you did that?
JORDAN SPIETH: I moved into a new house that fall or winter and figured that counted. I was up in the air about potentially buying that house, and then that kind of pushed it (laughter). I finished and that night, I said, yeah, I think I can justify this move now. So yeah, that's what I did then. But yeah, other guys have better stories I think for you.

Q. Just to follow up on Tiger, it's obviously been a tough few years for him for a lot of different reasons but he seems to enjoy playing that role, mentoring; do you get a sense when he's in that role that it brings out a lot of happiness in him?
JORDAN SPIETH: I do get that sense. I'm not surprised that he's been that way but after watching him just being so zoned in on what he's doing, and I mean, he was just so dominant, that you think of him as such an individual person. You don't you don't think of as like a team kind of guy, but he really is to the core.

This is just watching from the outside, right, as a junior golfer, college golfer. I mean, just you don't know the guy, so you're not sure. And then in a team room, it's just: "How can I help; can I grab your water bottle and throw it" it's like, are you kidding me? You're Tiger Woods.

Just trying to do you know, when the pin is over here, you know, do you like this shot, this club, just dissecting stuff with you. You learn a lot. He's so good at playing holes backwards. He has such a great mind for the game and to be able to complement that with what we're doing, it's the best experience we can have. But yeah, it was I think to answer your question, he find true joy in that, in those team rooms, being able to help other people. Obviously he wants to be out there doing it himself. That's what he loves to do. I still believe that, you know, in his mind, he's going to work hard to try and get back out, even though a lot of people are doubting him, which I think will only help him.

But in the meantime, he's finding a lot of joy in reaching out and doing that.

Q. And just on The Presidents Cup in general, how do you see that fitting into or helping the long term plan that Davis talked about last year in terms of The Ryder Cup and building that sense of like a long term program?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yes, I think The Presidents Cup is you know, I don't necessarily think you need an international win for it to stay around. The last time it was pretty exciting in Korea and it's great golf and great entertainment, and we love playing in it. So do the international players, from anyone I've talked to. It's a great end of the year, really fun tournament for us.

And it is vital, again, individually, for taking that into the next year's tournaments, the next season's tournaments. But also, yeah, it's very important for Ryder Cup. Ryder Cup's important for Presidents Cup. They are very important for each other in developing I remember, I stood on the first tee with Steve Stricker as my partner at Muirfield, and I couldn't move my arms, I was so nervous and I couldn't feel my hands, and I hacked it around the first five holes and Steve put his arm around me. He goes, "Take as long as you need. I've got your back, until you're ready to come in" pretty much, in a nice way. He doesn't know how to say anything mean.

I mean, that tournament brought that out of me, and then by the time I teed it up, and I got through the first tee shot at The Ryder Cup, I felt if I had not played in The Presidents Cup, I don't know what would have happened with I don't know if I would have helped Patrick on a hole in The Ryder Cup. You needed that. And then I came back to The Presidents Cup in Korea after both of those two other experiences, and then, you know, obviously last year in The Ryder Cup, and felt so much more comfortable.

So any time you get those experiences, and these guys are going to thoroughly enjoy that, those nerves and that pressure that comes with the first tee shot and getting going. But it won't be long before they get comfortable and enjoy feeding off the crowds.

Q. How important are these playoffs in terms of the Player of the Year race?
JORDAN SPIETH: Very, this year. Yeah. I think if everything is kind of blah, then you've I think it's a close race right now. I think it's between four guys, in my opinion.

Q. Are you more fired up given one of the guys is J.T.?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I think we are both pretty happy and pretty pleased for each other, as well. It's a tremendous honor, having been there, it's the MVP. You're the MVP of the league. When you put it that way, it's something that you want really badly and you want to be considered the best player in pretty much in the world for that year, is essentially what the award is, on the PGA TOUR, I should say.

So it's a fight and it's something that is keeping me going out and grinding at the end of a really good season.

Q. What do you need to do specifically in your mind to be the MVP?
JORDAN SPIETH: Win the FedExCup. I think that would probably take care of it. That's what did it a couple years ago.

Q. In order for you to become FedEx couple champion, you have to beat Hideki Matsuyama, who right now he's in first place on the ranking. What do you think his strength is?
JORDAN SPIETH: Everything. Everything. He's got a very strong mind, first and foremost. He's not afraid to take anything on. But every part of his game is very, very solid and he's been on a tremendous starting in China last year, this is a full year where maybe a few weeks here or there, he didn't have his best stuff but other that that, he has been phenomenal. To have two World Golf Championships and another big win and to follow that up with close finishes in majors, as well, he's a force could be reckoned with. He's very tough.

Q. Have you had anymore adventures with the Claret Jug since we saw you in Charlotte?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not much, no. I had some friends over this past Saturday and I think we used to pour I drank wine out of it for the first time. I waited awhile. I wanted to kind of get everything out of the way because now it's going to be pretty much solely wine in it. So I put some of my favorites in it a couple days last week.

Q. Reds or whites?
JORDAN SPIETH: Reds so far.

Q. Justin is claiming his is bigger.
JORDAN SPIETH: It is, absolutely. You know, when you combine the Claret Jug with the U.S. Open trophy (laughter) you know, it's close. (Laughter).

Q. Playing here at Glen Oaks, first time here, how does your preparation differ and what do you try and accomplish in a week on a course you've never been to?
JORDAN SPIETH: You're trying to get the speed of the greens, I think is first and foremost, what I noticed from playing the first three holes I played on this course yesterday, it was big greens that have quite a bit of pitch. Not ridges, but a lot of pitch.

So speed control is huge because you could very well end up with a 60 we will all have 60 footers plus out here. If you can get away with pars on those holes, you've gained a bit on the field. So speed control.

And out here, you've got to hit the fairway. The rough's nasty. No. 9 I was just off the fairway and I could barely move it 75 yards with a full 8 iron. It's major championship type rough but we do have plenty of width in the fairways. I think that's great. I think it's I think the TOUR has done a great job and Glen Oaks has done a great job with the way this course is set up for this tournament this week. You can have low scores but if you're not controlling the ball, you're going to have a touch time around this place.

MARK WILLIAMS: Thanks, Jordan.

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