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July 21, 2018

Jordan Spieth

Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom

MIKE WOODCOCK: We're joined by the clubhouse leader at 9-under par after a fine 6-under par, 65, Jordan Spieth.

Jordan, you got off to a fantastic start with the eagle on the first. That must have given you real momentum going into the round?

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, for sure. Watched the scores this morning. Seemed like it was very gettable. Seemed like he had shorter putts for birdie starting out. Sometimes it's good to see. Sometimes it's not so good to see. A bonus to get on the green and obviously for the putt to kind of curl in. It was a dream start for the day.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Obviously, an important finish. A great approach on 18 just coming out of the rough there. That must have really helped you finish off the round the way you wanted to.

JORDAN SPIETH: I had a good lie. I was in between clubs. Took less to be safe. That left side isn't too bad on 18, as long as it doesn't go down on that darker grass. The drive was just down the left there. My speed control was great. I feel comfortable kind of giving it the extra oomph now. Kind of made the adjustment after the first couple days, and that's led those 45-footers or so to be more stress-free today. It will be more difficult tomorrow in the wind for sure.

Q. Jordan, you can't shoot 65 without great form, obviously, but the experience that you've had in this event, how much are you leaning on that with your play through three days?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think much. No, I think maybe a little bit tomorrow just to expect the unexpected, but today's round was about playing No. 1 the way I need to play No. 1, take it shot by shot, hit it into the spots, miss it in the right spots.

I got a couple of good breaks. The drive on 10 was a little wayward. Ended up to where I could hit the green. I got up and down on 12, and then my tee shot on 14, that par 5 missing the bunker by a couple yards and having a good enough lie to reach the green. So I got a couple good breaks. But I wouldn't say I drew on anything except for the adjustments I made throughout the week in my game to feel more comfortable over the ball, feel like I can work the shots I need to.

After the first day, making a little putting adjustment and making that a little better. And then kind of a swing adjustment after yesterday.

Q. At what point did you decide you needed to hit driver on No. 1, and at what point did you decide you needed a haircut?
JORDAN SPIETH: So, No. 1, we were on the range kind of talking it over, and I said, "Do we like driver again?" And Michael said, "No, you lay it up, and it's still a wedge to the front pin. Guys were getting it in there close all morning."

But walking to the tee, I was walking with Cameron, and I thought, how about I just send it on No. 1? I felt good about the range session. And he's like, "I put my chips behind anything that you decide always," something like that. And that kind of gave me that little extra boost that might have gotten it onto the front of the green. So it wasn't until walking off the practise green.

And then when we got to the tee and the wind wasn't really blowing, I thought it was for sure driver.

Q. Haircut?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, you asked that because Jay told you to.

Q. No.
JORDAN SPIETH: Oh, you didn't?

Q. I'd actually like you to take your hat off for the crowd. It looked nice.
JORDAN SPIETH: No, my hair got a little long, and I needed to get a haircut, so I did this morning.

Q. How much did you pay?
JORDAN SPIETH: 20 pounds, I think. It was like a 9 pound haircut, and I tipped them (laughter).

Q. This is going to be a very boring question in comparison. Jordan, obviously, a successful Open Championship for fans would be a historic thing to do. Four major championships would elevate your status in the game even further. Do you allow yourself to think of it on the scale of a historic achievement as a motivating factor? Or is it important you don't think of that and just play your game?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't feel that way now. I felt like I had something I had to prove to other people with last year's Open and to myself. Really to myself more than anything. I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone at this point. I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year.

And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason. I feel like my game's in good shape. It's progressed nicely. We've got pretty much a new government tournament tomorrow.

It's ideal for Carnoustie to have a bunched leaderboard and 25-mile-an-hour winds on Sunday because it means that someone could post a score from six hours before and potentially win the golf tournament tomorrow. You're in a scenario almost like the U.S. Open this year at Shinnecock, like that Saturday at the U.S. Open-type scenario tomorrow.

So I'm not ahead of myself at all. I recognize that this is -- I just wanted to give myself a chance after the first round, and I've done well over the two days.

Q. (No microphone).
JORDAN SPIETH: No. What's four versus three? I mean, I think the Hall of Fame criteria is two or three and a certain number of wins. I feel like I'm rolling. I don't think it does anything extra, but obviously, we try to peak on the major championships because those do have an extra status in the game and, therefore, it certainly means a lot when that happens, but I don't feel like I have to do it for any reason.

Q. Studying forecasts ahead of time, just how would you describe, what does the challenge look like tomorrow with that wind strength and wind direction?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it makes -- it really makes those -- it depends on where they put the pin on 3, but if they stick the pin on the front on 3, it makes the first four or five holes, really the first four holes, totally different from today. Today you saw guys 2, 3 under through four holes, and tomorrow it's going to be a grind just to get started, and those are kind of the easy holes on the golf course.

Let alone it ends up whipping off the left on -- this kind of southeast or east/southeast we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind. We played almost every hole, had a little bit of helping wind today. There was a few holes that obviously didn't. The way that it moved throughout the day and the timing that we were playing those holes was ideal. So that was lucky.

And it won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.

Q. Jordan, can I just clarify, did you just go to Carnoustie town centre and find the nearest barber?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I don't even know where I went.

Q. Did they know who you are?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think so. They didn't really say much. He didn't really say much.

Q. He didn't say, "What are you doing?"
JORDAN SPIETH: He went a little high and tight. (Laughter). It was a little bit -- it was intended to be what I normally get, and instead he went a little shorter. Very British haircut. A little shaved on the sides, a little longer on top. It is what it is. Summertime, it works out.

Q. Sorry, just a followup as well. This time last year, you had a three-shot cushion going into it. The fact that it's tighter this time, do you sleep a little easier tonight?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think so. I think so for sure. And the fact that I won last year, I think helps sleep a little bit. I don't find any expectations right now. You know, I'm not sure, though, obviously. This is right after the round, but I feel pretty calm because of the progress made in the game. If I felt like I got away with a lot of stuff and I really wasn't progressing and just made a lot of putts, then I'd probably feel more tension. But I like where the striking's at. It can improve a little bit, but all aspect of the game got better today.

Q. Jordan, as good as the round today was, 65, how important do you think in the whole context was the round yesterday when you seemed mostly in the rough throughout the round?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I got away with it a little bit yesterday. I thought that, especially after the last four holes of the first round, that was a rough stretch there, where it was unnecessary. I kind of -- I made one bad decision and a couple of bad swings, but to come back yesterday -- to get myself in contention in that second round was huge.

I've been playing cut-line golf. I felt the pressure of, if this doesn't start out well -- I was out of position on No. 3 early in the round to potentially go to 2-over for the tournament and ending up holing the chip shot that really settled me down and look forward instead of backwards. It's really turning points like that that help me get back into the golf tournament. Yesterday was huge.

Q. Two-part question: You've got three guys in the hunt and one house. Do you have food tasters? What do you got in there?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I'll probably ask chef to -- I'll probably ask chef to try it before -- make him eat it just in case Kiz is greasing them.

Q. Is it also kind of epic that Tiger is with you in this chase?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I saw he played pretty well today. I don't know what he finished at. I wasn't doing a whole lot of scoreboard watching, but I'm not surprised. He seemed confident walking off the putting green today, the little that we talked. I was doing an early session, and he was about to go to the tee.

And the way that he's striking those 2 or 3 irons, he's certainly going to be in it tomorrow, which is really exciting for us. I've always wanted to battle it out in a major with Tiger. Who hasn't? It's kind of a dream come true just to have the opportunity. It's nice that he's on point. It's really good for the sport, obviously, for the extra interest.

Q. I was just thinking, when you were a kid, you were probably like, and it's Spieth versus Tiger down the stretch, that kind of thing?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I mean, I think I played it out at Augusta in my head, but we'll do it -- you know, there's a lot of guys. I don't really know exactly how bunched it is, where -- like I said, I haven't done much scoreboard watching, nor will I really be, I don't think, very interested in it.

Like I said, tomorrow we have a totally different golf course, and then I didn't do any scoreboard watching Sunday at Augusta this year, and it seemed to free me up a little bit. I may as well stick to the same game plan. It's not like you can force anything coming in anyway. So what difference does it make? You play to the spots out here.

But, yes, it's very cool looking at it from a big picture, but my head will be down.

Q. Going back to the progress, may be with your swing or the putting, after three days here, do those early season struggles feel like a long time ago at this point?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I think that they were -- I think that they were very important. I think that going through some of the kind of stuff that I was going through in my game allowed me to kind of figure out when I'm off, what are the keys to get over it? What are the triggers to win the kind of nerves come on, the tension comes up, why? And therefore in the future I'll be kind of able to kick it back into gear a little quicker and under the gun be able to compensate a little bit better.

Q. Jordan, in the context of your career and your major career in particular, the context of today, where would you put that round, and in particular the back nine, where would you rank that in kind of the pantheon of your performances?
JORDAN SPIETH: Probably a top five, top ten, somewhere in there. Yeah, I think yesterday was probably tied with today, in my mind, to get back into a golf tournament from being out of it, and then today to springboard that into pole position. That was the combination of the two are up there in the top five for sure. But today's round was just really, really solid.

I actually had quite a few opportunities early in the round that I missed, but I think there was only really one hole, No. 12, where I had trouble and had to get myself out of it to save par, as far as on and around the greens, which is really nice at a major championship to not have to worry too much. That won't be the case tomorrow with the wind.

Q. Jordan, it sounds like that, if you did actually -- this might be premature, but if you did win tomorrow, you'd be the only player except for Young Tom Morris, to successfully defend their title at the age under 25. Can you reflect on thinking that there would be any time that you would be named with Young Tom Morris?
JORDAN SPIETH: No. That's a little before even what I've heard comparisons to going back. I mean, that's another 75 years behind the whole Nicklaus and Palmer era. No, I think that's a stat that only -- I would have never known had you not said it. But does it change anything? No, probably not. I'd argue there was less players playing back then. It might have been a little easier to do, and I don't think he's going to get mad at me. (Laughter).

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