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August 31, 2017

Jordan Spieth

Boston, Massachusetts

EMILY TILLO: We welcome 2015 FedExCup Champion, Jordan Spieth, into the interview room.

Your game is obviously in a good spot. You're No. 2 in the FedExCup standings. Talk about how important it is to be in the top five in the standings with two more events before THE TOUR Championship?

JORDAN SPIETH: Well, it's vital. It allows you to control your own destiny. This week for me is really just about playing the Dell Technologies Championship. I'm not thinking much about the FedExCup. There's not a whole lot I can do for myself at this point other than if I could take care of business here, you jump one spot.

I think with the second-place points, I essentially got enough points that would be equivalent to two regular season wins, something like that, which puts me at, you know, over five on the year and puts me in a position where I see myself, you can drop -- I can drop to No. 5 within the next couple weeks, which isn't exactly where you want to be; but likely to stay in the top five, which is a really good feeling. And it takes a lot of -- any added pressure off of these next couple of events.

So I'm just trying to play the Dell Technologies Championship here just strictly for the tournament and not really thinking much about the FedExCup this week.

Q. Last week, are you over it? And if you are, how long did it take?
JORDAN SPIETH: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I went up against another guy I consider the best in the world, and we had a good battle. And it went his way. I think there's a couple times he's battled against me he wished it went his way and this is one I wish went my way.

In the course of a year, be a part of a few battles like that and I seem to have -- the only two guys I've really battled a lot with are Henrik and Dustin; guys multiple times I've battled with. I was over it that night. You know, I was in a good position to win, and certainly in a good position through the beginning of the round, but tournaments take place over 72 or sometimes 73 holes, and whoever has the lower score, wins.

It's hard on a tough golf course to compete with five birdies and no bogeys. I think we did a really good job coming down the stretch of giving myself opportunities and a couple putts just didn't go.

Q. Can I just follow-up? Do you enjoy coming to the Boston area for things other than the golf: The food, the culture, the land, the experience?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, this is one of the only areas I ever come to outside of golf; the reason being, my brother went to school in Providence for four years. I didn't really spend much time in Boston other than flying into there and training down or whatever.

But in this New England area, I've really much enjoyed it, for the food, the atmosphere, the people. Real passionate sports fans up here. They have been pretty fortunate in some serious success over the last decade, too, which I'm jealous of. But yeah, love coming up here. The off-the-course stuff, it's a couple of the best restaurants we eat at all year this week. Have a good time for sure.

Q. Obviously there's a lot of great golfers out here but do you consider Dennis Johnson to be your chief rival -- sorry, Dustin Johnson. Can you talk about your rivalry and your relationship with him?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, I think there's still a very-much-alive Player of the Year race this year. I think it's four guys in my opinion, with Justin Thomas and myself and Dustin and Hideki. So the race is alive. It kind of depends on, you know, who wins the FedExCup out of the bunch, probably takes that prize.

So as far as a rivalry, me and Dustin, no, I don't think there is one. You know, I think here and there, you get these questions asked about rivalries and I've been asked about five different players if I have a rivalry with them. So obviously there isn't a rivalry going on. It's always a what-has-happened-recently that creates this maybe-it's-a-rivalry scenario.

Dustin has played better golf than anybody over the last two years. That's why he's No. 1 in the world and he's somebody, it's pole position that I'm envious off and would like to get back to and would like to work hard to do what I can in the next few weeks to do so.

As far as it just being him, you know, we have a great relationship. I mean, I texted him that evening saying, "Man, congrats, that was a good battle, let's do it again next week."

He said, "Absolutely. I had a good time. That was my turn." We understand the battles we have with each other. It's no rivalry. It becomes a stressful fun, if that makes any sense, right. Your heart's beating faster and your adrenaline is rushing and you're trying to win a PGA TOUR playoff, a FedExCup Playoff event.

But at the same time, it is exciting to be in a one-on-one-type situation. The Open Championship, the last week I was in that, it is fun being in that position, almost like creating a match-play scenario out of a big TOUR event or a major.

It's just everybody starts to come to your group and you just start feeling this energy and it's really cool.

Q. Despite that sort of excitement and sort of that one-to-one struggle last Sunday, do you learn anything from that sort of situation; that disappointment going forward?
JORDAN SPIETH: Again, people keep using the word disappointment. It wasn't a disappointment. It was a great week. Look, it was a fun battle. I thought everybody enjoyed it. I asked Jay Monahan what it looked like from the viewership and he said on a regular PGA TOUR event, he said it was as exciting as it could get. It was one of the highest-rated events they have had in a while. That's awesome. That's awesome to be a part of it.

But it wasn't a disappointment. I don't think of it like that at all.

What I learned from it: I won the tournament, besides the shot I hit in the water on 6. The shot I hit in the water on 6, my ball speed was the fastest ball speed clocked in the last ten groups on that hole. Yet, it went the shortest, which just tells me it was a wind gust.

So I didn't do anything wrong. My ball speed was faster than Dustin's, who hit right after me, and his carried the water. He chipped a 7, so the spin rate was down and he had similar wind. But he was able to learn from mine; he wouldn't have hit that club had mine not gone in the water.

So really, last week, off of a really good finish, which you can learn from wins and losses, and it being a loss, there really isn't much I can take out of that. I was correcting mistakes that I had made in other losses. I was correcting tendencies and did a great job of it.

I really just got kind of unlucky when we played the sixth hole and it knocked two shots out and brought from a five-stroke lead to a three, which on that course is much more manageable.

And from there, I hit some good putts that didn't quite go in, and I hit some good putts that did go in. So I shot a 1-under round, which is a better-than-average score that day, and when you're in the lead by three typically that's good enough to win.

Q. Can you talk about your friendship with Tom Brady? Have you heard from him this week and do you expect to connect with him at all?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I've been fortunate through Under Armour to have that connection. We have played some golf together, a couple different occasions. We did a mentor-type shoot together in Los Angeles, the first time I met him, three or four years ago.

And this week I texted him saying -- because I'm planning on going to the game tonight. So I was just, you know, saying, hey, looking forward to kind of seeing the Pats last preseason game, and he texted back, offering anything that I needed or whatever; we were pretty much all set.

Other than that, not much this week. But it's cool when -- during The Open Championship, we were texting quite a bit and there was some social media posts. I was wearing some of his sleepwear, and he was posting that we had matching pajamas on. It seemed to have worked that week for me; it seems to work pretty well for him.

So that's not a sell for pajamas, but if you like what we've done, then you might want to go buy some (laughter).

He's a tremendous guy to have in your corner. When he's rooting for you, you feel like you just have -- I keep using the word "energy," but you really do feel like you have something else when you get guys like him on your side.

Q. Are you going to start eating like him, too?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I have been. I've tried some of his stuff. I know it's good for me. I'm not quite dialed in on the eating as he is. I don't think he was when he was my age, either. He's really got it down to a science. It's something he's extremely passionate about. It's not just a sell for him.

I mean, he's extremely passionate about this. He had all this stuff at Augusta when all of us were just, you know, having some wine -- on a fun round, having some wine and steak and potatoes, and he's, you know, he shipped all of his stuff into there to have it as snacks and protein powder and all this stuff. It's obviously elongating his career and doing well for him, so I'll do whatever he's doing.

Q. Going back to the Player of the Year race, it's obviously ongoing but sort of curious where you put yourself in that conversation right now, I guess, and where you would kind of rank yourself.
JORDAN SPIETH: If the four of us that I mentioned finish 20th here on in, I think it comes between -- it's probably Justin's. But I think that, again, it's very much in the air. I mean, he's got four wins and a major. A major, it depends on where everybody -- and we're going to have a pretty good taste of what everybody equates World Golf Championships, majors, whatever it may be.

But if any of the four of us were to win the FedExCup title, it's Player of the Year. But I would put myself in third behind Justin and Dustin.

Q. How important is it to you in the grand scheme?
JORDAN SPIETH: Very. It's an MVP. It's an MVP award. You are the best player at what you do at the highest level. So it's extremely important. It's the most important end-of-the-season award I think you can win.

Q. With the proposed reordering of tournaments in 2019, there's speculation this stop would fall by the wayside. Would you be disappointed not coming to Boston and what do you think of the reordering?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yes, it's very much up in the air. I'm pretty involved in the talks with it and I know it's very much in the air still on if we were to go to a condensed schedule, there's still a chance that we would still move up here every other year or something. So there's still a lot of options available. There's not much set in stone right now.

I think a shortened, condensed season ending before football is better for us because it gives us an opportunity to have these end of the season events that are big events for us. Our Playoff race and our TOUR Championship, and it's not competing with football, and it can significantly help grow the sport. It can bring it to the common sports fan that would watch football over golf, which I would, as well.

It's an opportunity to help us grow ratings going forward and it creates a bit more of an off-season for us. So I think it's a win/win for us.

Q. And when you say "every other year," would it be this time of the year and in the Playoffs?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, I mean, during the Playoffs. I'm not sure. What I'm trying to say is there's a lot of speculation still and I know for a fact nothing is set in stone on if it's going away. This tournament/if, if it did, would we -- I know that the TOUR really still wants to come up into this area and the people up here and the sponsors up here still want to be here, as well.

So there's going to have to be something to make it work, I think for us to come up here, which whether it's an every-other-year or third year or rotation or whatever it may be in the Playoffs.

Q. The 18th hole here is one of the easiest finishing holes on TOUR. What's your basic game plan when you come in here to play this hole?
JORDAN SPIETH: Fairway, green, 2-putt. I mean, it's actually a good driving distance for me. I can carry the bunkers in the middle of the fairway and I don't worry too much about it reaching any other trouble.

So it kind of forces you into a certain area and it forces a probably 225-yard shot into a pretty shallow green that you've got to bring in with some height.

It's tough. I've had triumph and failure on the hole, and it is a really good finishing hole that can yield a bogey or an eagle. So the tournament's never over at this event.

EMILY TILLO: Thank you.

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