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January 31, 2018

Jordan Spieth

Scottsdale, Arizona

JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Jordan Spieth to the interview room here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Making his third start at this event with a couple top-10 finishes. Jordan, welcome back to TPC Scottsdale. Some comments on the week ahead.

JORDAN SPIETH: Thank you. Yeah, this is always a little different week, very exciting. Nice change, kind of a fun change with this kind of party crowd that you can certainly experience as we get into Friday and the weekend. Yeah, excited, I'm heading off late/early which kind of keeps you a little out of the madness for the first couple days and then get thrown right into it hopefully on the weekend. So game's in good shape. Had a couple weeks off. Just looking to get off to a good start tomorrow.

JOHN BUSH: The 16th hole is an interesting hole, that goes without saying. But today I know especially Morgan (Comer) from Tallahassee through the Make A Wish Foundation, I know that meant a lot to you to meet her and just talk a little bit about that.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, absolutely. I was approached a little while back and it was, what an incredible setting for that to happen there on 16. Couldn't -- it's kind of hard to talk on 16, wasn't it? It was just so loud. But then we were able to kind of get out -- and what an incredible story. You're an inspiration for all of us, you really are. Hopefully everybody here gets an opportunity to read up a little bit on your story and obviously wishing you the best as we go forward over your senior year and into college as she's playing college golf, which is incredible, she's only been playing for a couple years and during that couple years she also had chemotherapy and a couple different cancers removed. So puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Just her view on life and overall, just the way that she's walking around talking, she's just another, a normal kid and really her family's done a great job, obviously and very respectful and lovely young woman that's going to go a long way. So it's been awesome to get to know you so far, looking forward to the rest of the day.

JOHN BUSH: Open it up to questions.

Q. Cameron was here yesterday, is that part of a routine for you or is there anything specific you guys were working on or was there bad weather in Texas?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, we were just, we're keeping an eye on things. He was planning on coming out Monday, Tuesday, but I went to Cabo for a couple days and just hung out and practiced there and then came in. So then he was planning on being here for a couple days this week and then a few days at Riviera. And I don't remember if he was here last year or not, but I know he's done it in the past this week. But typically off of my off weeks he's not there, but we had, he was at the PGA Show, we had a little bit of limited time, so he made the day trip to come in and work.

Q. You mentioned this is a different week because of the party atmosphere. Do you have to kind of change your mindset when you come here to kind of get ready for the distraction and the cheering and so on and the crowds?
JORDAN SPIETH: Fortunately not a ton. The last few years it's been madness around normally the groups that we're in as we get to the last few holes anyway. Certainly heightened here. No, we're pretty in the zone once the turn starts. So nothing really has to change as far as the mindset. Just the boos you got to get adjusted to, that we don't normally hear.

Q. This is the strongest field this tournament's had in over a decade. Have you sensed even since you started to come here a change in how this tournament is perceived among the pros? Five out of the top seven in the world this week.
JORDAN SPIETH: I personally haven't sensed that. I've always thought of it as you see a lot of similar players play really well year after year here and I guess some guys -- I've just noticed, guys that are able to pick their schedule, some of them really like it and some of them many don't play well and there for they just take the week off. I don't think it's not wanting to be part of the atmosphere it's more like they just don't play the golf course that well. These other guys that do play well. But I think there's probably a little bit of a trend with it being the younger guys coming out and really enjoying this craziness, this maybe different sport atmosphere, this stadium atmosphere. You might see a lot of the, a lot more younger guys playing it and younger guys are, I think if you take an average age, it's gone younger in the Top-20, 30 in the world, so I think that would probably tell you that it makes the field stronger. So I think just age maybe a little bit.

Q. Seems like there's more guys than ever who are capable of being No. 1, quality-wise. We got an abundance of talent at the top. How much harder do you think that's going to make it to get back to No. 1 and would that make it anymore sweeter for anybody who gets there?
JORDAN SPIETH: Probably. It's honestly nothing that I'm not even -- it's not even on a goal or a radar for me anymore. It was something I wanted to do as a goal and if I were to take care of the other goals, then that becomes something with it. I took great pride in getting there, but as far as -- I'm focused on other things. So to answer your question, no, it's difficult for me to answer your question, because just my view on it is probably different from guys who are searching to get there. But, yes, with the caliber of play -- I honestly think guys would have actually taken more pride if they were to dethrone Tiger back in the day than they would getting the No. 1 right now, to be honest. Because there are a number of people that can do it depending upon how the Major season goes this year.

Q. Seems like there's more guys now who are capable.
JORDAN SPIETH: Potentially or it's just hard to tell, because one guy was just that dominant. So personally I would have, if I took No. 1 over Tiger in 2000 whenever, '97 to 2014, that would have been something that might have, I think 50 years from now, to say, oh, I dethroned Tiger, versus, you know, I think for me it was Rory, which is really special in itself, but hard to tell.

Q. I was fortunate to watch you play here at Grayhawk many years ago in an AJGA event. You were 16, I think. What part of your game has changed most significantly since that age to this point?
JORDAN SPIETH: I can't pinpoint one thing for you. I think probably just my iron ball striking as we get from really 7-iron up to 4-iron. I got significantly better from when I was -- and a lot of that is just generating more speed, being able to get into the ground better and creating more spin and therefore more consistency in the distances. So it was kind of a natural progression, which is growing up, but that was definitely something that whenever I had 200 yards in it was, how do I get this ball on the green, and now it's, okay, what shot am I playing to have a chance to make birdie. So just the mentality of the iron play has changed.

Q. What's going on with your health? I remember last time I heard you talk in Hawaii you were not feeling great. How are you feeling now?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm good. I'm good. Yeah, I had kind of a rough December, I had mono and that wasn't good, but I was fine, I got to Hawaii and wanted to get out there and get some good on course reps. So feeling good now, I've had plenty of rest and this week I'm going to try and get as much rest as possible. Your heart beats a little faster during the day out here, there's just something to it, but this three-week stretch is a lot of fun and one I very much look forward to and I feel good about it for sure. It was actually really important for me last year these three weeks in jump starting that season. I always speak about getting into contention and trying to get a win before Augusta and what that does for my mentality as I head into Augusta. So these are an important three weeks.

Q. What do you think about the new pro-am format and are you a fan and what do you like about it?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I am, I am a fan. I'm a fan as long as the sponsors are enjoying it too. They're the reason we are here, a lot of times we get caught up in what the players want and we forget about why we actually have this. So as long as they're enjoying it. I thought it was a good idea when it was proposed last year, just within the PAC because I thought the sponsors might actually enjoy it more. The opportunity to have somebody very engaged for nine holes and you get another guy fully engaged for nine holes versus sometimes it just gets long and for us players it's fantastic because I've got the rest of the day now that I can go out there and get work done. A lot of times pro-ams you don't feel like you actually have an opportunity to get practice in that day. Between trying to go to the gym, trying to rest and the round itself, the day goes by very quickly. Then all of a sudden you're starting on Thursday. So the opportunity to go out there this afternoon and actually be able to get some good short game work in, allowed me to kind of plan my week a little bit better to get prepared.

Q. Earlier you mentioned the zone. So what is the zone for you? What does that feel like, how does that work and how do you work your way into it?
JORDAN SPIETH: It's a tremendous amount of confidence and it really just comes from playing. It comes from execution on course. I'm not in the zone right this second, I'm hoping to kind of get to that position throughout the week, that's always what we're trying to do. It can come -- after three holes tomorrow I can feel, man, I'm in a nice pocket with everything, I feel great, I'm going to fire at these flag sticks, I know it's going here. It's when you get really good control of it and you start getting real dialed in on the greens. But it comes on course and it's just kind of a mentality of just a supreme amount of confidence.

Q. When did you get the mono diagnosis and how long did it take for you to get back to a hundred percent or close to it?
JORDAN SPIETH: It was like a couple weeks before Christmas and it was, I just, I was sick for awhile and I didn't know why and I've had it before and you're not supposed to get it again so I had a really mild form. But it just kind of linking neck up stuff. But it was, it wasn't a big deal, if it was I wouldn't have gone to Hawaii. And I went down there and felt good and just I was just kind of a little behind in prep and so I've kind of gotten to get some reps in now.

Q. You mentioned going to Cabo with family and friends. Did you spend any time practicing?
JORDAN SPIETH: That's why I went. I just went for a day and a half and I went there to practice. I went to the spot I go to there and got the greens perfect for me at El Dorado and the golf course is fantastic and it's desert golf, so it was good prep here. I thought coming here it was just a lot going on and I was able to go there and just be solo, be away from it and get ready for this stretch.

JOHN BUSH: Jordan Spieth. Thank you for your time. Best of luck this week.

JORDAN SPIETH: All right. Thank you.

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