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September 17, 2013

Jordan Spieth


THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth here in the interview room at the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola.  The youngest player in the history of the Tour to make this field.
Jordan, that's quite an accomplishment.  If we can get some comments not only on being here this year but also on the incredible year you've had in 2013.
JORDAN SPIETH:  I'm honored to be here.  It's weird, looking around, there's nobody here.  I was wondering why nobody‑‑ I couldn't see anybody on the golf course.  Two people on the range.  I guess that's just how it is this week.
Yeah, it's pretty special.  Every guy on tour strives to be here at the end of the season.  To be one of the 30 will be a goal of mine for as many years as I'm out here.
It's pretty awesome.  I didn't think it would be a possibility this year at the beginning of the year, but now that I'm here, it's time to maybe make‑‑ dig in and make something special happen.
I like the look of this golf course.  I like‑‑ love the greens.  I have not been here before, but just in some scouting, yeah, I think it's going to be a really cool opportunity for me and something that I think I've been playing well leading up to the last few weeks to maybe make a run at it.
THE MODERATOR:  13th in the FedEx Cup standings.  How excited are you about the next six days?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I moved from 8th to 13th by getting 9th, 4th, and then 15th place.  So it's interesting.  I mean, it just proves you've got to get top three to move up anything at all.
Yeah, I'm very excited.  I know kind of what I would have to do to win the FedEx Cup.  I know what I have to do.  I just have to win.  I know what maybe other people have to do too.
But it all comes down to it.  It's all about winning with this tournament, and that's on all of our minds.  Anything short of that, you know, it's still an awesome year, but that's the goal of mine here.  It's not about trying to finish.  You got a shot to win, you got a chance to win, everybody's going to be going for it this week.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Jordan, first PGA Tour win, Presidents Cup spot, qualifying for the field here.  It's been a steep but very successful learning curve.  What have you learned most about yourself this season?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Patience.  Time management and patience.  It's been a big step from high school going into college, I had to learn time management.
Coming out here, I think that's probably the number one.  It's been a lot of off the course stuff that, I think, has been the most to learn for me.  And then on course it's just taking care of maybe toning down a little bit of the aggressive nature that I have.  There's times to be aggressive and times not to be.
The only time I've really gotten myself in trouble this year is when I tried to do too much.  So just being patient on and off the course, trying to learn from the older guys, from the veterans, and now being able to be on this Presidents Cup team, I think, will do a lot for me, seeing the best players in the world and how they act on and off the course, how they prepare, and I'm able to play some practice rounds with the guys now.  It's going to be a really cool opportunity and a dream come true for me.

Q.  Just linked to that, Jordan, if you had one main reason for achieving what you achieved this year, what would it be?  And next year, do you expect it will be easy to feed off what you've done this year or is that difficulty associated with an expectation which is now going to rise towards you?
JORDAN SPIETH:  This year, what would have been a great achievement for me?

Q.  No, what's the main reason for achieving what you have done?
JORDAN SPIETH:  This year, it was the right timing at the right‑‑ I mean, I played‑‑ I was playing my best golf of the year thus far in March.  I played a couple Web.com events.  I felt great about the way I was striking the ball, got top tens those two events, and then went over to Puerto Rico, and it was just perfect timing, perfect storm really, where I played a PGA Tour event and played the best golf that I had played all year.
That's, I guess, what you have to do to earn status the hard way and ended up getting second and then Tampa the next week getting seventh, and having status out here.  It's really‑‑ I guess it's just a lot of self‑confidence.  I'm very, very confident in my preparation each week.
Once I step on the 1st tee, I've made sure that I'm 100 percent ready to tackle the golf course.  I've got no uncertainties; that's me and my caddie.  We've done a lot better job throughout the year in getting familiar with courses we've never seen before.
It's difficult, especially when you set up a PGA Tour venue, there's a lot of sneaky, difficult things that are involved with different pin locations or fall‑off areas.
But I've just been very, very confident stepping on the 1st tee that I was ready to go and my game was ready to go.  I think from there it's been a little easier to adapt.
Second part to your question, for next year, I don't know.  I mean, this year I was disappointed with the way I played the Majors.  This year I'll have an opportunity to play the World Golf Championships, Majors.  It's just going to be such a new, cool, different year.
I think it will be another step, another journey being able to start in January versus the end of February or March, just having a full season to make a schedule.
Yeah, I'll have expectations for myself that I always set, but like I said, when I step on the 1st tee, there's only one thing on my mind.  So I feel that‑‑ you know, a year like this year is awesome, but I think there's definitely ways to improve for next season.

Q.  You just talked about expectations.  What were your initial expectations for 2013?  And also, what was your reaction to being picked for the Presidents Cup by Freddy Couples?
JORDAN SPIETH:  At the beginning of the season, my kind of lofty goal, main goal, was to earn my PGA Tour card for the 2014 season.  I thought that would come through the Web.com tour or the Web.com playoffs that are playing right now.
But it turned out better than I could have expected, and I was able to play the PGA Tour this season.  With the win, I have job security for a couple of years, and I guess moving up the world ranking.
That was my goal to start the year, and I guess my goals got adjusted at certain times, maybe after Tampa and then after the John Deere, a couple different scenarios where there was another thing I was shooting for.
And then to get the call from Freddy was a dream come true.  I never thought about the Presidents Cup this year.  The Ryder Cup for next year was on my mind just because I didn't think I'd be playing the PGA Tour this year.
But to have‑‑ for everything to kind of come together, just feel very blessed, very fortunate, that the timing was right.
I worked really hard this year, worked harder than I've ever worked in my life.  I enjoy every minute of it.  To get the call from Freddy, to be able to, I guess, be honored or considered as one of the best 12 American golfers is something that I feel like I might wake up and unfortunately be a dream because it's really special.

Q.  I imagine you had some preconceived ideas of what Tour life would be like.  Has there been a difference between the reality of that and what you thought and what's been the best thing about being on Tour?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, there's been a few things.  Nothing in particular that stuck out maybe because I'd had‑‑ I played eight times before turning professional on the PGA Tour.  So I kind of dipped my feet in, and I was able to see what it was like.
There's always little things, travel from tournament to tournament.  I never played two PGA Tour events in a row.
Everything is just so easy.  We're very spoiled.  Everything is very easy the way the PGA Tour and the tournament staff handles events.  You know, it's‑‑ they feel like they're‑‑ each week they feel like they're honored or blessed to have us, and we feel the same way, and it really works out well.
It's just cool going from week to week and being able to practice on the best facilities in the world in the best shape that they can be in and playing some of the best golf courses.
This week, there's only 30 guys on the course in the purest condition.  We don't have to pay to play it.  We get paid to play it.  Just kind of adapting to that week to week has been a little different.
And trying to learn how to control myself with all the buffets too.  That's definitely been a change.

Q.  A couple of age questions here.  Maybe we'll go in order here.  Is it difficult‑‑ talk about the buffet, you're in there too.  You can't order a drink.  How much do you long for that next year to come by and you can actually‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's whatever.  It was‑‑ when I was 19, I guess it was a better story when you're a teenager than when you're 20.  Now I'm kind of in the middle ground that nobody really cares about between the teenager and 21.
Yeah, it will be another year.

Q.  Do you‑‑ do players, some of them more than twice your age, do you hear many kid jokes in there?  How long did it take‑‑

Q.  ‑‑ to become kind of accepted as one of them?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Not long.  Everybody was extremely respectful.  There wasn't any kind of rookie hazing really at all.  There might be on the Presidents Cup or something.  I'm sure there will be.  It's whatever.
Everyone's been extremely nice, very helpful in kind of reaching out to me, and I've reached out to guys too, just asking advice on whatever it is.
But, yeah, guys will mess around and call me the kid or something like that, but nothing bad or nothing that isn't just a joke.

Q.  Jordan, based on that a little bit, it seems like most of the questions and most of the focus is on 20‑year‑old Jordan Spieth as opposed to just Jordan Spieth.  Do you sometimes wish it was just more focused on you as opposed to how old you are and what you're doing at this age?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, it really doesn't bother me at all.  I very rarely read or watch anything on myself.  I trust that you guys make me look good.  I just have trust in you.
And if not, Jay will let me know, and he'll get on you.  So all in all, it doesn't matter to me.  Are you guys going to write 40‑year‑old Jordan Spieth in 20 years?  That's fine too.
As long as you're not using it as being really old, I'm cool with it being young.

Q.  Jordan, I know you haven't really looked like a rookie on the golf course.  Is there anything that's happened or any mistakes you've made or meeting somebody for the first time or anything like that that's really made you feel like a rookie?
JORDAN SPIETH:  There's times every day.  I'm very clumsy.  I can't think of anything major in particular, but, yeah, every day‑‑ I mean, I'm not really allowed‑‑ I guess I kind of have to adapt to try to be acting the way these guys are, their age‑‑ especially on the course.  On the course, I just kind of play my game.
But I've definitely developed maturity this year on course, no doubt about it, in different decision making.  As far as my game goes, mechanically and everything, that's the same.  I still have more of an aggressive nature.  But decision making, I've had to kind of step back.
I've said it before, my 16‑year‑old self would be pretty upset at some of the decisions I've made that have actually paid off this year.
But all in all, off the course mainly, there's definitely plenty of moments where my maturity I wouldn't be proud of.

Q.  Kind of a two‑parter.  First part is when you've‑‑ you look back to last December, how many people told you you were making a mistake to do what you did?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Really, I didn't‑‑ not many at all.  I maybe read a couple different posts on Twitter under my name just to make sure‑‑ just to kind of see what was going on.
Honestly, I was surprised at how supportive everybody was and the confidence that other people had in me that only added to the self‑confidence that I had in my decision.  It was really, really, really nice, possibly helped me in the long run.

Q.  And secondly, if you thought much about the difference that one shot can make, as far as the hole‑out at the John Deere that kind of catapults you into a little bit of a lucky break on that, but how much does one shot make a difference in your whole career, in the whole arc of this season?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean, one shot there is I'm not here.  So it gave me‑‑ it's huge.  I mean, one shot all season‑‑ each week there's bubble guys that are maybe not making it to the next week, and it comes down to one shot for the year.
It's 13 points or 24 points.  I mean, it really is pretty unbelievable when you think about it, and that's actually gotten me to start marking my two‑footers a little more and try not to‑‑ I've missed a few walking around to tap them in this year, and I mean, it's affected me in that way.
But it is.  It does make a big difference.  One stroke could technically be the difference in playing on the PGA Tour the next season or not playing on the PGA Tour next season.
At the same time, if there is a stroke that you feel like you gave away, that's been the hardest thing for me is learning how to just let it go, stay in the present.  Especially earlier in the season when every dollar really mattered to me to get my Tour card.  I was more emotional on each stroke.  Now I just feel like I'm kind of coasting, which is cool.  It doesn't feel like the strokes matter necessarily as much as this point.
Especially at this event.  I can kind of free‑wheel it out there and maybe be a little bit more aggressive in this tournament because all that matters is winning it.
In this sense, I think, once you reach this golf tournament, it doesn't necessarily mean as much, if you know what I mean.

Q.  You've mentioned that you've been able to coast because you were so successful.  So in that time, have you been able to wrap your head around how successful you've been and think about what you've accomplished so far.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Not really.  I don't think the year has sunk in.  I don't think it should until after the Presidents Cup and I have some off‑season.
Yeah, it's been an incredible year.  It's been‑‑ I've been here and there and Thursday qualifiers to start the year to the TOUR Championship and the Presidents Cup.  I played the Thursday qualifier to get into the Monday qualifier for San Diego this year, which was my first professional round that I ever played.
So that's an interesting route when I think back on it, but if I start really dwelling on the year, then I don't‑‑ I think I lose focus on the present in the tournament and especially in the Presidents Cup.  Don't want to do that at this time.
These are the most‑‑ these two out of the next three weeks are the most important weeks of the year for me.  I couldn't be more excited for them.
THE MODERATOR:  Jordan Spieth, thank you for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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