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July 10, 2012

Jordan Spieth


DOUG MILNE:  Jordan Spieth, thanks for joining us for a few minutes prior to the start of the 2012 John Deere Classic.  Already, I believe, this is your eighth PGA TOUR start.  You had a good showing at the U.S. Open, top‑25 finish there and were obviously very instrumental in UT's NCAA Championship title.  A lot going on for you as you start the week at the John Deere Classic.  Just some comments on how you're feeling.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I feel comfortable.  Each one of these TOUR events just get more and more comfortable.  Starting to know a lot of the guys out here, and they're great to me, and that just helps it all.  I kind of know where to go now, not getting lost out here.  I'm really excited.
Everyone here has been great.  The heartland of America, you hear how nice everyone is, and it's true.  The course is set up unbelievably well for the weather that's been taking over the Midwest, so should be a really good week for everyone.
I feel great.  I feel comfortable.  Game is right on.  I had a few tweaks after AT&T, and now I guess, like you said, it being my eighth event as an amateur, they just all get a little easier here, to know your way in and out of the ropes and where to go and not get lost.
Feeling comfortable and feeling ready to go.  I've been here for a couple days.  I'm anxious to get out there.

Q.  Have you been how the on the course here?  What are your thoughts on it, and how is the course holding up from what you've seen so far?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I got in Sunday around midday and came out here.  I should come to these tournaments the Sunday before more often.  There's nobody out here, and they let you go out and play and use a cart.  So I got 18 in on Sunday and played a pro‑am yesterday and played with some fun guys.
The course is awesome.  It's one of the most underrated, I think, TPC courses.  I've played probably four or five TPC courses.  It's one of my favorites.  It's out in front of you, but the little rolling hills and the shape of the fairways, how they turn into the doglegs, it's fun.
With this weather, these are some of the best fairways I've ever been on.  It's unbelievable, because there's some wide spots to these fairways, and every single part there's not a blade of grass out of place.  It's pretty special.
You know, it's soft, but that's what it's going to be with the hot weather and no rain that's been hitting the area.
Should be some low scores just like history shows, but it definitely can be done out there.

Q.  What did that performance at the U.S. Open last month do for you from an confidence standpoint and momentum going forward with your career?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, when I've been able to compete in PGA TOUR events, it's just a huge confidence boost playing against the best players in the world.  But there's other TOUR events I had played in, there were a lot of great players, but it wasn't a major championship where you had the top 100, whatever, players in the world.
I was never really in contention.  I barely made the cut and then made the most of it on the weekend.  But being able to get a 21st, I think it was, that was‑‑ that's huge.  Knowing which guys I was able to compete with out there and which guys finished behind me, you kind of look at that and run off of that for the rest of the summer, and that's what I'm trying to do here.

Q.  How does that finish now play into your future, shaping your future?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Well, I was probably going to give Q‑school a run as an amateur anyways, but making the cut at the Open gets me into second stage, which I've decided that I'm going to enter‑‑ and second stage is actually, they have one in Dallas at TPC Craig Ranch, another TPC course that I'm really familiar with, so that'll be nice.  So I'm going to give it a go.  I've heard a lot of things about Q‑school, about how crazy it can get, and I'm willing to kind of take it this year.  Like I said, I'll be‑‑ my plan is to enter as an amateur and see kind of how it goes.

Q.  Did that change after the Open?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't think so.  I mean, I just would have had to go through one or two more stages.  So now I can just kind of rest and get more prep and not actually fail out of school this semester for being gone too much.  That's nice.

Q.  Seeing young guys just a couple years older than you be out here, have success, does that kind of whet the appetite for you to get out here as a professional?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, definitely, seeing guys, especially friends of mine that I've actually played junior golf with, come out here and succeed, and knowing based on other tournaments that I feel like my golf game is ready to come out here and play with these guys, you know, it gets me anxious.  During the week I'm always just kind of on an all‑time high wanting to be out here, but you get back and settle down and kind of realize that a lot of these tournaments I get humbled, so I go back home and have to work on a lot of things like I did from the AT&T.  That's when you realize you've got a few more things you've got to figure out before you can compete week in and week out like these guys do.

Q.  Being that this is your eighth tournament, how much does the comfort level change now each time you get out here and do this?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I've explained to my dad, it's weird, I remember my first couple Byron Nelsons and how nervous I was on the first tee, I'd just close my eyes when I was swinging to start, and I was nervous for the first nine holes.  I was nervous random putts throughout every round.  Really, the time that I realized that I feel like I'm getting more comfortable was at the U.S. Open when I really‑‑ there was maybe one or two rounds where I had first‑tee nerves, and that was it.  Like I said, I wasn't in contention, so that's different.
But just the comfort level starting out, it was a lot easier to get into my routine and be more smooth and more calm out there, and then the AT&T I didn't have any nerves.  It was just like I was playing another round.
I think the more and more you get into it, the more and more you realize it's just golf.

Q.  Is that the biggest thing you've learned out here, that it's just golf?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah.  I mean, from the time a couple years ago when I first played a TOUR event to now, I'd say.  Realizing that these guys are good, these guys are really good, but at the same time, some of the top amateurs are not too far off.  I'm not going to say the wrong thing here like some guys have said before, but the top amateurs and even guys my age, going into college, there was five or six guys that hadn't even stepped on a college campus that had made a cut in a PGA TOUR event from high school, and that's pretty special.  And it just shows how the game is getting younger.
My buddy Justin Thomas, one of my good friends, last week went out there and was 6‑under after three rounds and I guess finished 40th or so, had a bad last round, but he was able to get in there and compete and be in the top 20, and that was just his second TOUR event, his first one in a couple years.  He'll get more opportunities.  He's a great player.
Patrick Rodgers playing here, I'm counting on him having a great week here.  There's just been so many guys that you just don't really notice that are so young that have made cuts, and they've only gotten one or two opportunities.

Q.  Do you learn from guys in the past who have made that jump from say high school to the pros who took years before they really felt comfortable and made their mark out here, as well?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, there's not a whole lot of Americans that have done that.  It's more common outside, Asia‑‑ especially in Asia and Europe.  But there are a few guys that have struggled right when they turned with the expectations.  My thought on that is if you can play as many PGA TOUR events as an amateur as you can, that's a huge advantage, because when you come out, yeah, you're technically a pro, but it's not like it's a big transformation to the pro game if you've already played in those events.
That's why I love to get these starts.  That's why I lobby for them, I ask for them, I do whatever I can to play with the pros because I know that I want to make that transition easier when the time comes.

Q.  Do you think the future is that more American players are going to do what European, Australian, Asian players are doing, might not go to college?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I'm not sure.  I would say it'll probably happen a little more.  I don't think it'll be a big jump.  I don't think it'll be anything like Europe or Asia.  But I think some guys are realizing that their career paths are getting sped up.  Most people go to college to grow up and to learn what they're going to do for the rest of their lives, get prepared for it, and if you feel like you are and your career path could happen earlier, then it's a little different situation.
DOUG MILNE:  Jordan, we appreciate your time.  Good luck this week.

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