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April 5, 2018

Jordan Spieth

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth to the media room.
Jordan shot 66 today. Congratulations, what a great round, awesome. Jordan eagled 8, birdied seven holes, including five in a row‑‑ 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. That's an incredible effort.
Jordan also made a really tricky 5, a great save on 18, and that potentially personified the round. Do you think that's fair; that 18 save was actually really important to you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Absolutely. I thought, you know, if I look back on my highlights for the day, I'd say I had three of them. Two of them were bogeys and one was an eagle. My bogey save that I made on No. 7 was a fantastic putt that kept, you know‑‑ I saw a putt go in. It was a very difficult putt, and I could have dropped to over par, and it led to, you know, stepping on 8 tee feeling like, okay, regrouped, let's grab three coming in.
I hit two beautiful shots and made a three there, and then 18 was‑‑ unfortunately, I've had to do some interesting things on 18 in my career here. It's actually one of the more comfortable tee shots for me. I just wasn't very on with the driver today, and I was playing a fade and just kind of got it there early. But it was a beautiful chip shot. Probably couldn't have gotten closer with a whole bucket of balls.
MODERATOR: Thanks, Jordan. Questions from the floor.

Q. Not to suggest you don't play well other places or that this is somehow an easy course for you, but why do you think you're so capable of putting out great rounds consistently here at Augusta?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, I feel like‑‑ and I talk about this almost every interview I do, is we build plans for the year to peak at certain times. And I believe that not just here at Augusta, but the major championships, going back a number of years, I've played really well, and I think that has to do with the work of our team.
We've got a great plan, and then gearing up myself and getting psyched for them and the right amount of kind of confidence and composure that it takes.
Out here, this golf course specifically, brings out a lot of feel in my game, and I think that's advantageous. I don't do well in domes or driving range shots, and you don't have many of those out here.

Q. How much more comfortable are you standing over a putt than you were in Austin, and how did you get there, from Austin to where you are feeling right now?
JORDAN SPIETH: A lot of secrets that, you know, maybe if it propels to anything special, I'll write about someday (laughter).
But there was a lot of work that went in mentally, physically. How comfortable now compared to then? Significantly. A lot. Yeah. A lot more comfortable.
I would say I was more comfortable, and I felt even better about my putting Sunday of last week than I did today. But if I can continue to feel a little bit better day by day, it would be fantastic.
But I had some really tricky putts today from inside of six feet, putts that I had to play outside the hole, and made a lot of them in the middle of the hole, which was a big confidence boost. So I've kind of found a little trigger in the stroke that has served as beneficial that I tried out last week, and I really think what I did on the weekend last week was hugely beneficial to being able to start strong here.

Q. What does it say about your struggles with the driver today that you were able to put up a 66 despite not having that, and how good does that make you feel going forward if you get a little bit better with the driver?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, very. I hit‑‑ yeah, I didn't strike the ball extremely well with the driver. 3‑wood was pretty good today, but I really hit my 3‑wood well most of the time. I love that club.
I just, you know‑‑ I kind of need to pick one flight with the driver. The hardest part for me is I keep on changing all these different flights on each hole, and at the speed that I'm swinging, it's so tiny, the difference in one that goes right or left, that I think really picking a game plan, sticking to one shot would serve me well, unless I really need to go off of it.
I tried to hit some big fades and some big draws today, and that's just kind of difficult to be really consistent with. It's nice that I was able to shoot a score like this. I felt like, you know, I putted well, but I didn't putt amazingly well. I just hit some really solid iron shots on that back nine to go with just some solid, inside of 10, 12 feet, putting.

Q. You're a fellow Longhorn, and Doug said you gave him some advice today, settled him down, and he went out and made two eagles. What do you think of his game, and does this place lend itself to some spectacular eagles for a guy who has never played in competition here?
JORDAN SPIETH: Well, the par 5s are so exciting. You can reach all four of them in two, and that's what makes this course so special, is that you can make eagle and you can make 7 on just about all of them. No. 2 and really No. 8 is kind of hard to make a 7, but (laughter) it's awesome.
I played nine holes with Doug on Monday. I've been obviously following his career as I follow the Texas team. He had a phenomenal U.S. Amateur, one of my favorite tracks in the world. He was hitting it well. You know, he's just kind of going about‑‑ he always had a smile on his face every time I've seen him this entire week, which is what he should do. You know, take it all in, enjoy it. It's the best way to play well out here. And to hear that he made two eagles today is awesome. He's going to take those four glasses back to college, and those will be a hit.

Q. You've had some fast starts here in the past. Just wondering how important that is to you from the standpoint of maybe taking pressure off you moving forward, or does it not matter to you?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think this golf course is a lot easier to play if you feel like you can just hit the center of the greens and move from there and wait for your chances. It's easy to say that. You kind of want to take that approach starting out, but if you start well, it's easier to stick to that game plan.
I shot two rounds in the 70s and set a ‑‑ tied a scoring record here one year. It just shows that on the weekend, it backs you up. It backs everybody up, and you've got to be prepared for that.
I think quick starts are important in any event. It's not unique to the Masters at all; it's any tournament. If you get off to a good start, you're in control of your own fate, versus needing a little bit of help.
This tournament often feels like there's six rounds with how the weekend grind is and‑‑ well, really any major. I feel like I'm kind of one round down out of six, so I'm not getting ahead of myself. It's just it was a really good start.

Q. You talked about the plan coming in here and peaking at the right time. Will the weather on Saturday play any role in that? Did you want to find yourself in a certain position before getting to Saturday if the weather comes in?
JORDAN SPIETH: I would like before any Saturday to always be in the lead if possible. Doesn't matter the weather condition.
This course and wind and rain, I don't think I've ever played it in wind and rain. It was windy the first two days last year, but we didn't get any precipitation. But that just makes it that much harder to hit fairways and therefore to hit greens. It's more difficult off the tee.
So yeah, I mean, the better you can shoot the first couple rounds, understanding that it gets harder and harder, the better off you'll be. But I don't mind the course playing as hard as possible. I would have preferred a ten‑mile‑an‑hour wind today to what we had. I just feel better about this whole feel, you know, holding against winds. Some of these holes where you're trying to figure out which direction it's coming from‑‑ it's a beautiful day, it's beautiful to play golf in, but out here when you have to land it on tiny little areas, and three miles an hour one way or the other actually affects our golf ball significantly; it's actually challenging at times.
More wind is better. Obviously with rain, it makes it difficult.

Q. You were on the putting green at about 5:30 last night with Cameron and Michael. Was that planned or impromptu or did that shore things up for today?
JORDAN SPIETH: It was planned. I thought there was going to be storms yesterday morning so I slept in. I was like, all right, we'll get a late start to the day and we'll get a little work after the Par 3. It was always planned. It was just a little bit of control maintenance.
The putting is not in kind of the same position that it was in 2015 or 2016. I don't feel as good about the way I'm putting it to those two years, but I was, you know, top of the world at that point in time. It requires constant work and constant feedback right now, and that's what we've been trying to do.
You know, I had three different sessions before I played today. Just I always do an early session, and then each time I warm up, I do a quick before the range, and then quick before the first tee.

Q. Will you take me through your club section on your second shot on 17, the hook around the trees, and then also kind of shot‑by‑shot details on 18, what happened?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I was in the fairway. I had 158 or so to the hole adjusted. The ridge that goes from the front of the green to the back is at about 150 yards. I had to start it back right part of the green where there's a pin. So it had to‑‑ it required a significant amount of hook, but my 9‑iron is a 150, 155 club, so it was a really good number to have, and I just needed to sling it to at least halfway and that part of the green goes toward the hole.
It wasn't that hard of a shot. It probably looked a little harder on TV than it actually was. I just had to commit to a nice hook 9‑iron. And when it was in the air, I may have hit it like a groove skinny, so I thought maybe it needed to go a little bit, and it obviously trickled down the hill nicely.
18, yeah, I was playing kind of a big fade, and I don't know exactly how I caught it. But I've hit quite a few balls right on that hole. I've never hit one left in my life, and I did, and it missed that first tree, which I know if it kind of hits it off and comes down, you know, 60 yards in front of the tee, that's not that bad of a play. You end up, you know, hitting a 3‑wood up there and having a wedge in.
But once it got through there, I didn't know where it would be, and it was absolutely screwed. I had nowhere to go. So I just punched a lob‑wedge back, had about 270‑something hole, where I knew I had to keep it left because short right was going to be in trouble to that pin, and I was fortunate that it stayed left of the green side bunker, because in that bunker with a 40‑yard bunker shot is not a good place to be. When it stayed left of that, I knew, worst case, I could make a 6, which at that point was okay with me.
I walked the chip shot up. Knew if I kind of caught it right, it was going to hit into the slope, kind of have a little check, just like it did. The way that I hit it is the way that I pictured it. Sometimes that happens, and most of the time it doesn't. After I struck it and it took its first bounce, I thought, man, that's going to be within five feet, and it was a bonus to be a tap‑in.

Q. 3‑wood on the third shot?
JORDAN SPIETH: 3‑wood on the third shot and a 60‑degree.

Q. What do you remember about your first time playing Augusta National, and was there a moment then when it occurred to you just how much you would like playing here and just how well suited you would be for it?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, my first time I played it, I teed off on the back nine. It was a late nine holes. I had played Pine Valley early in the day, actually, on a golf trip. My instructor, Cameron McCormick, teed off with a 3‑wood first and just roped one around the corner. The first thing that shocked me was how much you could hook it on No. 10. It's almost bizarre to be required to move a tee shot that much. That's unusual for the courses we play.
And then it was just the amount of slope everywhere. I was very surprised. You know, TV just doesn't do it justice, the significant of the slope in the fairways and on the greens.
So when did I know? Probably within the first couple rounds I played. It was my favorite tournament to watch ever. It was the one I dreamt about winning growing up. And when I got to play it and kind of saw the cool shots and imagination that it requires, that even made me like it more.

Q. What year was that with Cameron?
JORDAN SPIETH: That would have been late 2013. October of 2013. We were Bob Rowling's guests here‑‑ actually, I don't think I can say that, sorry (laughter).

Q. You told us on Tuesday that you spent like most of December in bed sick. When did you feel really healthy and how did you get there and what impact did that have on your game?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I felt‑‑ it was honestly‑‑ in México and Tampa, I started to feel good. That West Coast stretch, I was still struggling a little bit, not much, but then I was on, you know, allergy medication and all kind of stuff until after Austin, and it just kind of made me feel weird.
So I got off of everything I was on to try and help me breathe better and breathe better at night, and went to some all‑natural‑type stuff, and I just‑‑ I've never been one to ever take medication, even Advil, and I was on, you know, three different kind of medications to help combat not being able to breathe very well and all this stuff.
So I just kind of went back and stopped taking everything. But I was feeling pretty good before that, but from after Austin, it's been‑‑ that's when I've been back to normal without anything.

Q. I realize this is only Thursday, but as you chase down this title, would you be more inclined psychologically to draw upon when you won here, or when you didn't win here, or neither, or both?
JORDAN SPIETH: Both, yeah. Probably both.
Yeah, I'll have‑‑ you know, whether it's tomorrow or it's Saturday or Sunday, I'll always have demons out here, but I'll always have‑‑ I'll always have a tremendous amount of confidence out here. Once you win here, you have an advantage over anybody who hasn't won here. And, you know, there can be positives and negatives to both the demons and the confidence.
So it's just about playing the golf course for what you get, recognizing what the tendencies are that this golf course brings and what my own tendencies are when under the gun. Today I felt the Sunday‑type pressure of leading the Masters on my‑‑ on the middle of that back nine, and adjusted extremely well.
Things to improve on would be, you know, how to adjust the way I was driving it. So there's always‑‑ I'll draw back on‑‑ both will play a factor.

Q. You said that fast starts allow you to be in control of your own fate in tournaments. Do you feel like the ball is now in your court at this tournament and you can sort of dictate the outcome?
JORDAN SPIETH: Technically, yes. For me, again, first round out of six rounds, so I try‑‑ in my mind, I try and look at it from that perspective that lots change. To go wire‑to‑wire in a tournament is a rare occurrence in any tournament, anywhere.
So I imagine there will be plenty of times, if not from, you know, early on tomorrow that I don't lead this tournament anymore. Just things happen in this sport, and I'm going to try and control what I can control, and that's about it, yeah.
MODERATOR: Thanks, Jordan. Congratulations. Wonderful round. Two more glasses to the collection.
MODERATOR: Good luck for tomorrow.

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