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January 9, 2019

Jordan Spieth

Honolulu, Hawaii

THE MODERATOR: Go ahead and get started here at the 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii with Jordan Spieth. Jordan is making his fourth start in the event, highlighted by a third place result in 2017.

Jordan, how does it feel to be back in Hawaii to start another calendar year?

JORDAN SPIETH: It's nice. This tournament was up in in the air given I wasn't in Maui this year. I decided that really wanted to many come down here. I like the golf course a lot, the hospitality is fantastic, and the weather is perfect.

Really could come down and try out the very little work I was able to put in, but at least knock some rust off and gather some information about where I am at and hopefully make some adjustments going forward into the season.

Happy to be down here; just trying to take it lightly. Maybe a little bit lower expectations this week. Just try and plot my way around the place.


Q. What was the focus during the off-season other than getting married? Congratulations, by the way.
JORDAN SPIETH: Thank you. I was kind of really busy. I was traveling quite a bit and obviously the wedding, honeymoon, and so I didn't really get -- I just had very limited work compared to other years past. I think that was good for me. I needed some time away from the game after being off and having to play through it at the end the season, and then in the fall kind of the same thing.

So I think it was beneficial, but kind of puts me a little bit behind, which I can play catch up I think pretty easily. Just going to be more like a brain training thing than anything. Figure out exactly where everything is. Yeah, limited work, some travel for sponsor stuff, some travel for personal stuff, and I had a great off-season. Just kind of got my mind right, reset, and get ready for '19.

Q. Where was the honeymoon, and have you figure out whether you can play with...(indiscernible)?
JORDAN SPIETH: I was in -- we went to the Caribbean. We had a good time. Went to a couple different places. One wasn't much going on, and the other was pretty busy. It was nice after the wedding to go away and just have nothing going on. Then we both got a little bit bored, so good to be able to see other humans. It was a good time.

Then, yeah, I'm fine with playing with it. It's just my putting; when I'm cross-handed kind of jams into my grip. Unfortunately that means I'll probably lose some rings, but I don't think -- as of now I don't think I'm going to start playing with it on. Just it was putting that was the reason. Kind of odd.

Q. You're here to find out we're you're at. That will be occurring over the next four days. Where are you right now?
JORDAN SPIETH: Honestly not sure. Like I have lesser amount of certainty of that than I've had in a while. It doesn't bother me right now. I don't feel anxious, like I have to do anything.

I feel pretty patient with what's coming because I know I'm working on the right things. Took me a while to figure out what that was. Now I know I'm working on the right things in the game to get back on track and get to where I'm as a consistent as I've been before.

It's a matter of time, but I need on-course, in-tournament reps as well to continue to speed that up.

Q. How did you figure out what you needed to work on or how you needed to work on it?
JORDAN SPIETH: Time away from the game, a little bit of help from technology, and talking with Cameron. A combination of things. Technology actually helped a lot when it comes to putting and whatnot. We were able to see some stuff there, and just now it's about as many reps as I can get to get it in.

Q. What will make this year successful in your eyes?
JORDAN SPIETH: I would love to get back in the winner's circle. Been itching. I only really had a couple chances last year. I know in golf you can play the best and still not win that week, and you can also be a little off and somehow win. I've been on both sides of that.

Ultimately just comes down to being as consistent with my game as I can to continue to work my way into the top 10 by Sunday, and then it'll start to fall. So it's not trying to win a tournament. It's more an overall consistency of the game.

Last year I was really off with the putting the first half of the year; that started to get better and then the swing got off many. So just having tournaments where I shoot 4-under every round instead of 2-over, 7-under, even. Instead of all of that bouncing back and forth, just some more consistency.

Q. You said technology helped. Can you go into that a bit more?
JORDAN SPIETH: Probably not. Too detailed for me. Not going to explain it right.

Q. How did you balance -- I don't know if there was any frustration with last season -- but if there, was how do you balance that with it being a learning experience which you've talked about in the past?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think whether you're tricking yourself or -- and that's part of the gig -- and I was certainly frustrated with last season results-wise compared to previous seasons.

It was also something I kind of embraced as an inevitable at some point in the career. I almost took ignorance as bliss in a lot of pats of my game. I did things well, but I didn't know why. I just did them. Then they got off, and so I had to figure out why I did them well and how to train it back.

Ultimately that should help me going forward to be able to -- if I get off, not be as off or be able to click it back on quicker to stay as consistent as possible.

When I started to kind of embrace the fact that it was bound to happen at some point in the career and maybe this is it, then make that be the only time I get that far off and grind it back. Then you have your checkpoints that can't get off again.

I think we've established then. Again, just not quite back yet. It will require some reps. I want to trust. Out here just trying to trust what I'm working on and not bail on swing feels and go to what's easy. Instead, power through it and wait for it to come around.

Q. Starting '16 you were looking at it as a continuation rather than a new year. Is this a case where you're looking at it as a new year?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah. I mean, yes and no. I think certainly thinking of something as a fresh start, that you can throw away some of the struggles from the last season is beneficial, just like embracing that you're in form and don't necessarily get out of form that '15 to '16.

But it's also I was doing really good work as the season went we know on where I was focusing my work, which was in the putting. So I don't want to necessarily wash all that away. I was doing the right stuff. It's then just a continuation of that work as I start to dial it in more and more.

So yes and no. I guess mentally yes but physically no.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, yeah, and it was still kind of testing what I thought was the right thing to do; it wasn't.

Yeah, it was kind of trial and error there in the fall, which I thought was actually useful for me.

Q. What, if any, realizations did you get from -- obviously your year wasn't what you said. You got people like us writing about you. What's wrong with Jordan. TV talking about what's wrong with Jordan. Did you feel like people kind of like lost confidence in you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Sure, yeah, but that's nothing new. People lost confidence in me in 2016. I mean, I still won twice. I should have won another major that year. It's funny now. I remember in 2015 to '16 the words The Big Three being mentioned so many times, almost every interview. Not one of us three has been talked about in the last couple years. Everyone is so quick on what's happening. I mean, it's today's news.

But the thing for us is not to get caught up in today's news. It's easy to sometimes when you're not used to it. I haven't seen, read, or heard anything on it. I learned that lesson already because I know what's wrong with Jordan Spieth, and I know what's right with Jordan Spieth.

I know how to get where I want to go with my golf game and have fun doing it. I think it's taken a bit of maturing to do that. Like I kind of get credited with being mature from when I got out here, but in reality there was quite a bit of maturing to do as far as what you pay attention to, how other people's opinion affects you and that kind of stuff.

I think I do a better job of that now. I don't really know what anyone has said other than something is wrong. I know my results aren't the same and I know I'm not playing as well. Clearly I already know that.

Q. Jack Nicolas used to talk about how he would see Jack Rout (ph) once a year and that was it. Do you think pros like yourself get too dependent on someone like Cameron?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah. I think even Cameron would say so. Him personally. I don't think a lot of coaches would say that. Yes. A lot of what I've had to figure out has actually been myself. It's been talking with Cameron. There has been times he's like, It looks great. Well, it's not. It doesn't feel right.

If it doesn't feel right -- and I know it's not mental. It's just physically I don't have the space I need to hit the shot that I intended. I may have pulled it off, but I got away with it.

I know when I'm on and off. When that's the case, I have to figure it out. I think guys are extremely dependent, and we've tried to do a good job over our career of when I'm home, dial things in, when I'm on the road, if it gets off you have these couple triggers and you go do it and limited communication.

I think especially over the last year or so I've probably been too reliant and communicative and not figuring it out on my own and just finding a way and being an athlete. That's really what is my advantage out here, is when it's off, finding a way to still work your way into contention.

Q. You talk about people losing confidence. Did you lose any confidence in yourself or your game? Have you been through this before, if you did?
JORDAN SPIETH: I don't think so. Again, like for me, just comes down to how I feel over the ball. Like for me, it's all the physical side of the ball. If I feel comfortable, if I am hitting the shots I want to, I still have the confidence that I know that that's capable of winning out here.

So the problem is just getting to that point and keeping it there. When it's not at that point you stand over each shot worrying about the misses or where you can't be when you're off versus what is my plan to birdie this hole. How do I make sure I don't bogey this hole. Just crazy how it can switch like that.

Once that comes back around, I don't think the confidence will be down at all as far as kind of the mental side of winning a golf tournament. I think that's what you're asking, yeah.

Q. What's one or two of the new rule changes that you're curious about experiencing?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, the grounding the club in practice swings in the penalty area is really interesting to me. One that I don't really understand necessarily is the drop. You drop it knee height, but like what's the advantage of dropping it shoulder height? Actually probably a disadvantage, so why can't you still do that? Should be able to drop it from shoulder to knee height in my opinion. Doesn't do any good and honestly it's like a frustrating asterisk that I have to re-pick it up and re-drop from your knee.

One of the things when I think about everyday golfers, I'm like, what if they just take a drop from the cart path. I don't think probably don't care. They will still drop it from the shoulder. Technically take a drop from your shoulder and play out and could be penalized for that.

Doesn't make much sense. It's a disadvantage to drop it that high, so that one I didn't really understand fully. It was cool that you're able to get lower to drop it. I thought you would be able to do it at any height.

Q. (Regarding Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.)
JORDAN SPIETH: It's golf. Really is. I'm fine. Someday I'll explain what got off and it'll be a little bit easier to understand. It's pretty difficult -- it's difficult, but I'm embracing the challenge to get things back where they need to be. It's just difficult where I kind of nailed -- I practice hard, but I practiced hard the wrong way.

Shoot, now I got to reverse that. But it's progressing the right direction and that's all I care about. I'm focused on myself. Like truly I really am. I don't necessarily expect results right away; I don't expect not to have results right away. There could be one day where it clicks together and all of a sudden I lead the field in strokes gained and tee to green like that. I believe that can happen. I'm just waiting for the moment.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
JORDAN SPIETH: It's not like it's to shoot anybody down for saying or writing about that. Again, you guys are here to write about today's news, what's happening today. Well, that's happening. But on the same side, we can't get caught up in it because we look at the longevity of a career and recognize the ups and downs and peaks and valleys.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you as always for the time, Jordan.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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