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January 10, 2018

Jordan Spieth

Honolulu, Hawaii

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth into the interview room. He's making his third career start at the Sony Open in Hawaii, including a third place finish last year.

Jordan, just get some comments on being back.

JORDAN SPIETH: I'd like to make these two weeks a regular step every year. I really enjoy this golf course. The first year I played it, I didn't -- you actually have to learn quite a bit of how to map yourself around this place, and the ball rolls a lot more here than it did any place else, and I tried to do a little too much. I remember hitting driver, 3 wood a lot the first year I played it and missed the cut. Then last year played pretty smart, didn't putt very well.

So I'm just on the greens this week putting in a lot of work. I feel better and able to put more energy into my practice this week. So hopefully making progress on that front.

THE MODERATOR: Just assess your play last week in Kapalua and then what you're expecting.

JORDAN SPIETH: Just kind of -- it was a see where things are at after not having a lot of practice time in the month of December. It was close. I didn't play the easy holes very well, and that was kind of a difference maker for me. I fought really hard after that first round and worked my way into a top ten finish. So really proud, after shooting a couple over there at Kapalua, which is one of the easiest spots of the year.

So that was not a great round and a really good rebound round and then kind of some solid play from there.

Q. Jordan, would this week be an easier week to gauge what your game is compared to last week, where there's a lot of idiosyncrasies to the golf course and so forth?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think so. You have to work the ball both ways more. Last week you can kind of pick a ball flight and hit whatever you wanted. Here you have to kind of work even irons off the tees a certain direction on one hole and hit a 3 wood the next hole that works the other way. You've got to pick smaller, more specific targets here and think a little bit more than you do at Kapalua.

Kapalua is more of a feel, judge off the lies, work with what the lie gives you and the wind gives you in order to hit those big greens and put yourself in a position to make birdies. Yeah, I think it will be a better gauge this week.

Q. You were paired with J.T. last year on Thursday. Was there anything about that round that stands out or surprises you that you remember?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, the most surprising thing was that I was like a stroke and a half or something better tee to green than he was that round, and I got beat by like seven shots. It was really, really cool to see. It was pretty amazing. You get these -- we've all had these rounds where we kind of get it going through nine, ten holes, but in order to keep that going and actually cap it off into a 59, I've never witnessed that in my life.

It was really cool being J.T. and being in the same group and being able to kind of root for him on that last green. I think I might have fist pumped harder than he did. I think he was kind of in the zone. I don't think he knew where he was at the time. But it was a really special day and a really special couple weeks for him that capped off an incredible year -- or that started an incredible year.

Q. If I can, just a quick followup. I know you watched the game with the Bulldogs last night. Your impression on that?
JORDAN SPIETH: How'd you know that?

Q. (No microphone).
JORDAN SPIETH: Oh, okay. (Laughter). I don't know if that's less or more concerning.

My impressions of the game? I thought it was a great game. That first half -- I have no skin in the game. I was hoping for something like last year, and that's what we got. It was -- obviously, the crew we were around, that wasn't exactly what they were going for, but for somebody who just wanted a good game, at halftime I was a little disappointed, and then pretty ballsy move by Coach Saban to throw in the true freshman and sling it around the second half.

Boy, what an amazing finish that was. Yeah, it was really fun to watch that. It's actually really awesome being in Hawaii and watching those games because then you go to dinner after the games, and you still go to bed early. It was nice.

Q. Two things kind of following up on what Rex brought up a minute ago. When you've done things like you did to Henrik at the TOUR Championship with some of your putts and other people in some of your wins, and you have something like that with J.T. last year, do you ever stop to think that you are getting what you've given so many other people? Now you know how they feel type thing?
JORDAN SPIETH: A little bit here and there, but it's so much easier to take it -- it's so much easier to be on the good side than recognizing -- you know, just being, I guess, a competitor or -- I was frustrated with myself after that first round last year that I wasn't able to do what he did. I was obviously really happy for him at the time, but it was frustrating because I knew that I had as many or more opportunities than he did that round, and I didn't feel like I -- I saw what, I guess, you should get out of that round, and I felt like I left shots out there because of that.

Now, if I wasn't playing in this group, I probably wouldn't have thought that so much. That being -- I think it was the first round. Maybe it was the second round. I can't remember.

That being a Thursday or Friday round, I didn't really have those kind of same feelings that I've had, say, D.J. at the Northern Trust this year, where it was -- he used his advantage that he has. Like maybe my advantage is being able to make putts outside of 20 feet. He used his advantage of length off the tee. That's where I get that feeling. Okay, I see how this feels now, where other people kind of use their advantage over me, and you can kind of see the other side of it. And I've seen that with -- Henrik and I have actually had those battles equally at the TOUR Championship in '13 and again in '15.

I think it's fun. It's a part of the game. It's a matter of who going to use their higher strength over the other person if you're both playing well, and that's ultimately what we're trying to get at every week when we step on the 1st tee is to be in that position to see what comes out of it. And you're going to have it sometimes, and sometimes you won't.

Yeah, so I've gotten a taste of it over the last couple of years.

Q. Secondly, if you look at the skill set, broad skill set between players out here, 1 to 100, if you want to go that deep, do you think what separates them more is the skill or the self belief? How would you break that down?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think it's a lot -- I'd break it down maybe like 75-25 in self belief to skill. There's an extraordinary amount of talent, and it's a matter of stepping on the 1st tee kind of expecting to get into contention, and that just comes from, I think, years of experience. I say -- it's not like I've been out here for ten years, but I've had a lot of experiences that have given me the opportunity to stand on the 1st tee and kind of be frustrated if I'm not in contention versus maybe a rookie or second year player that got their card back or had a great season to get their card, and all of a sudden, it's what's next? How do I get to that next level? Versus believing that you're already on it and that there's no other way about it, like almost believing that's the norm versus trying to create that to be the norm. It just comes from experience and certain moments where you kind of -- you've got to step on the gas pedal and then do it.

Q. What's your first PGA Tour event as a professional?
JORDAN SPIETH: It was Torrey Pines. I missed the cut. And then I played Pebble, and then Puerto Rico is my next PGA Tour event.

Q. (No microphone).
JORDAN SPIETH: I did. At the time, Q School wasn't good, and then after Torrey and Pebble, you get, what, six starts? Six or seven starts? Seven. So I was left with five left, and I made, I don't know, $65,000, and I had to make $600,000, and I didn't know where my starts were going to be.

It was pretty worrisome for a little while there, but the Web gave me the freedom, okay, I can play the Web.Com Tour and work my way on, and that freedom helped Puerto Rico and Tampa, I think.

Q. You talked about J.T.'s 59 and being there, but what about the entire week in terms of his scoring? He broke records at 18, 36, tied 54, got the all time record. Can you just quantify that a bit.
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't remember. I don't even know what par is at this course, to be honest. I just -- I haven't played it as much as other golf courses. But I remember just him being out in front, and I remember being on -- making the turn, getting to the back nine, and it was really -- I felt like there was a second tournament for second place. And that's big out here. If you can get solo second with the points you get out of that and world ranking points, let alone FedExCup, it's pretty significant.

There are plenty of times -- there's been times in my career when I've been the one out front and other people are doing it for second. There's more times when I've been doing it for second and someone else is out in front. It can be a fun battle on its own. That's what I remember. I wasn't even thinking about Justin he was so far ahead. I think that's respect, in a way, to the scoring record.

Q. This year just started, and there are so many tournaments coming up. Could you tell me what's going to be your goal for this season.
JORDAN SPIETH: My goal is very similar to the last couple of years, which is to focus on the Major Championships and try and be in contention to win on the weekend in at least a couple of those. So this time of the season, these next four or five events that I play, I'm not really thinking about the Masters, but once we get into kind of March, that's where the real preparation starts.

So there's goals within each kind of section of the season, and then this section is to try and win a tournament out of these next four or five events, and then as we go into the Masters, I kind of set a bar for the next -- March, April, May -- and then you get into each major season.

Q. Two things just quickly. How familiar are you with the other Major venues for this year? Any experience?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't. I have not played any of the other three. I know of Shinnecock. Michael's played it. He told me I'm going to love it, but he kind of has to say that. Carnoustie, I honestly, I could probably recite the back nine to you just by watching on TV. There's been so many memorable Opens there, famous and infamous, and just how difficult it is. I don't know much about -- is it Bellevue?

Q. Bellerive.
JORDAN SPIETH: Bellerive, sorry. In St. Louis. I've got a lot of family in St. Louis that have played it, like my mom's cousins, and they tell me about it, but I don't know much about it. I'm definitely planning to get up to Shinnecock before the tournament in a trip, and then Carnoustie probably is similar to what I did for Birkdale, which is to get there the weekend before.

Q. Did you think about sneaking over to Shinnecock when you were at (indiscernible)?
JORDAN SPIETH: No. It probably would have been a good idea. We went up into the mountains -- I say mountains, like the -- and did like a Pro-Am that next day instead and then went over. I know Justin and Ricky did it, went there before. I went to Liberty before. But hopefully make it up there before the Open this year, the U.S. Open.

Q. I was just curious. Totally unrelated thing. I talked to Morgan Hoffmann this morning. Didn't know if you talked to him at all or reached out.
JORDAN SPIETH: I read his story.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to him?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not really. I passed him and just said, hey, happy new year. I haven't had a chance to talk to him. I know Morgan well, but not like extremely well to where -- but obviously, hoping for as much recovery and health as he can possibly have. It stinks for him. I know he's just a huge fitness fanatic and has been for a long time. For somebody that's so engaged in that part of the game, that's a very, very difficult thing to swallow, I'm sure. So obviously wishing him the best mentally and physically.

Q. Jordan, new year, new man. You're an engaged man. What kind of joy does that bring to you in this new season being engaged?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think it really has much of an effect on the golf course. I try to keep personal life and golf life very separate, but certainly very excited on both fronts.

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