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March 22, 2018

Jordan Spieth

Austin, Texas

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth to the interview room after 4 & 2 victory today. Talk about today and the match coming up tomorrow.

JORDAN SPIETH: I played better golf today. It was great to see. And I was rolling it a bit better on the greens. And then overall score-wise was better in what I thought were tougher conditions. I thought yesterday was more gettable.

They made the course more fun today. They moved the tees up on the holes to -- off the tee, going to probably need to drive the ball a little better tomorrow afternoon in some heavy wins. But progress day-to-day so far.

Q. Do you like playing in the wind? Did you think it gives you an advantage?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect. Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them. But holding shots in the winds and letting it turn with it, being more feel-based, which can either be because of wind or it can be because of severe slopes and fairways, like Augusta has, where you have to fight against something. That's normally advantageous for me. I enjoy it, Patrick does, too.

Tomorrow with heavy winds forecast in the afternoon, that plays to both of our strengths. And we're not going to score, it's to beat each other. So probably going to have to shoot under par, which will be well done tomorrow.

Q. Which domes did you play in this year?
JORDAN SPIETH: I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions. Mexico was like that. Certain places. Year to year depends.

But I don't go to the desert. I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. It's just -- if you have a -- you obviously can't play every week. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.

Q. Before we get into anything else, I was curious about the kind of pitch and run you hit on 13, which looked like it turned out well?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yes, so 13 --

Q. Did you aim into the crowd?
JORDAN SPIETH: I didn't aim it into the crowd, but I couldn't quite carry all the water on the front of the green with how much wind was there. But I thought with the pin today, a wedge is nearly impossible to get close. And if I were to hit driver and I do miss it right into the crowd or grandstands or whatever, you end up getting a drop. And it's only about 60 to 70 yards to get it on to the middle of the green there, which is the best you're going to do with a wedge there.

So playing the percentage play there, I hit driver, a more aggressive play. It covers more of the water, and I'll have a lob wedge in my hand with no water in my way. So I had a clean shot. It was obviously a bonus for it to get to tap-in range. That was fantastic. But I held like a pitch shot into the wind a little bit to come down as soft as possible, and it released perfectly.

Q. How much momentum did you get on 12 after halving that hole and Li missing the short putt?
JORDAN SPIETH: I thought that was a big moment in the match. He makes that and we get back to tied, with him having the tee and get in the fairways and put the pressure on.

He hit a great putt there. I can't believe it missed right. If anything, I would have said after he hit it, even from my angle it looked like it would potentially miss left with the wind and the slope. He couldn't believe it either. He got a couple of tough breaks on the greens. He hit some really good putts and he's a phenomenal player. That was a key moment to stay in the lead.

And then obviously the next hole, 2-up with 5 to play is big on this golf course, because these last five holes, you play them 1-under, and that should take care of business.

Q. Is it easy to not think about the last 48 hours or did you let your mind drift at all even for a minute?
JORDAN SPIETH: I didn't, no. There's so many scenarios. If I lost today, I could still win tomorrow and get through. So it frees you up a little bit. But I never thought -- I hadn't thought about Patrick or my match against Patrick and probably won't until tomorrow when I'm warming up. And even then, with what's forecasted it's more just play the golf course and play the spots versus playing an individual. It's going to be challenging tomorrow, I think.

Q. And you had mentioned a couple of days ago that one of the keys is to not piss him off.
JORDAN SPIETH: I've been very nice to him this week.

Q. Have you sent any baked goods or sent him a card?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I've just been -- no. But that was more of a joke. Just sometimes it was -- because we're so competitive with each other within our own pairing at the Ryder Cup, we want to outdo each other. That's what makes us successful.

Tiger says it's a phenomenon, it's not something that he's not used to seeing in those team events. Normally you're working together, but we want to beat each other every time. So even when we've been on the same team, it's been a match against each other. In alternate shot, if we don't win a hole, I want it to be his fault and he wants it to be my fault. So it's just -- we've almost played every single match we've been involved in together against each other. We just happen to be wearing the same colors for a lot of those matches.

Q. On 13, after he pitched out, he tapped you on the shoulder and you had a laugh about it, is there something to that as far as how you played the hole?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I think he had like tripped or something. And I was like, Are you okay, bud? And just tapped him on the back.

But he gave me a fist pump there and was like, Hey, man, what a great shot.

I was like, Yeah, I'll take that one. A bucket of balls and couldn't hit it better. We were pretty excited there, as well. So it was one of those two reasons.

Q. How much have you played on this golf course, going back to college?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, in college, it was always qualifying, so it was kind of a total score thing. I don't think we laid any match play on this course. We may have. We always had an inter-squad match play event but I don't know if we played any here at ACC. I can't remember. It's so long ago.

HaoTong asked me today how many times I've played here. I probably played here 20 times in college, so not that much. But enough to get around the place and really know it.

Q. (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I didn't. I told him probably 20, because I didn't go to school very long (laughter).

Q. 2-up for the first two rounds, but it's a toss up come tomorrow. Is that something you like about this format, is that frustrating that you play well, you win your first two matches and it all comes down to this Friday match?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, now -- the Friday match, no matter what, since they changed the format after Harding Park, there's no gimmes on Friday. So no matter what, you have to either win all three matches or you're going to have to do something like, you're going to have to birdie the first hole or the first two holes in a playoff.

The one thing that stinks a little bit about this is when it used to just be 64 players in a bracket and just go. You had to win one less match. I would have been in the round of 16 already, versus having to win to get to that round. But that doesn't really matter. You still have to keep winning.

Q. I know that you probably noticed the following that you've continued to gain, especially at the majors and here in Austin. And two part question: Have you seen some of the videos of Arnold Palmer's Army? And some of the people out in the gallery, they say they would like to call yours the Spieth Mob, are you okay with that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, sure, that would be -- the more people on your side, the better, especially in a match play format, just to continue to push. It's almost like you have two teams, right, in the match play, versus just rooting for the individual to shoot the lowest score.

Yeah, I've seen videos of it. There were stories of balls that were in pretty questionable spots that got kind of kicked out that Arnie ended up playing and being okay when he hit it into some rough spots. Just the support that he had was incredible.

I feel here in Austin that it's as good as anywhere. And try to feed off that this week.

Q. Why do you think people are so interested in you and Patrick? Do you think it's the couple of playoffs you had? I understand that. Do you think it's more of Patrick's histrionics, for loss of a better word, at the Ryder Cup or what?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think it's because we've been in recent memory in team events the last four of them now, I think, the common pairing. I think most other pairings have been mixed and matched. But our pairing has been as common as any. And then maybe the success we've had in those team events, not to mention the times battling it out on the outside. But honestly I'm not really sure.

I was surprised I was asked to come into the media center. And then once I realized -- I'm like, wow, there's really a lot of interest in me versus Patrick.

Q. (No microphone.)
JORDAN SPIETH: Okay. Cool. But for us, too, it's a familiar person to look across, whether it was on a team or trying to beat each other. So maybe the other people recognize that. But, yeah, we've been successful as a team and it's been from trying to outdo the other.

And I would say in our history of President Cups and Ryder Cups, it's been pretty equal on picking each other up when the other is not -- I was really off at the '16 Ryder Cup in a couple of those matches, and Patrick put the team on his back. And there's been times in the first Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup match where I had it going and rolling. So it's a rivalry within the team that might be intriguing to people.

Q. How much do you think the knowledge you acquire with your coach lasts?
JORDAN SPIETH: The knowledge that I got with my coach here lasts?

Q. Yes. Like, this week you practiced with him, you learned something new or you already know. Sometime it fade away or it lasts?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, it's a constant -- for everybody it's a constant, people run into tendencies or you hit balls into the wind a lot and you start leaning into the wind. It's nice to have Cameron around to check all the boxes, everything is good. This is what -- and if there's something that needs to be worked on, he can see it and you kind of know something is off, maybe, in the chipping because you're not having the right contact, flying it to the right area, but you can't really figure it out and he can tell you.

How long does it last? Hopefully until the next time I see him. But every time it's a little bit different. Sometimes you just have off days and you can't figure out why. But that's part of the sport. And sometimes it all clicks together.

In a format like this, no one plays great golf every single match. You have to have a bit of luck and win when you don't play as well. That's what happened to me yesterday. And I don't expect that to be the case anymore. Hopefully whatever we were doing keeps clicking.

Q. Let's get a little bit of a scouting report for tomorrow. What's that one strength of Patrick's game, especially in this format that you know you have to overcome in order to make it to Saturday?
JORDAN SPIETH: He's a phenomenal putter. He really is, especially in this format where he putts aggressively. And he walks into every putt really looking like it's going in. So you kind of want to have those putts to win the holes instead of him having that in his hand.

If I can have the ball in my hands more by the time we're hitting our closing putts on the greens then certainly that's a big advantage when you have a great putter like Patrick.

MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in, Jordan. Best of luck tomorrow.

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