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January 2, 2014

Jordan Spieth


KELLY BARNES:¬† We welcome Jordan Spieth, you've had quite a whirlwind year, very exciting coming off The Presidents Cup obviously.¬† Did you at this time last year imagine yourself kicking off 2014 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, obviously an exclusive winner's‑only field.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Definitely not.  I didn't see it this time last year.  I was just hoping to make a start next week actually, as kind of a debut as 2014.  All in all, extremely excited to be here.
This is my first time to Maui.¬† Just a beautiful place, one of the coolest places I've ever been.¬† I've had an awesome time the last few days on the golf course and off the course.¬† It's been top‑notch.¬† There's a reason everybody wants to come back here, not just because you won, but because of the way everybody's treated and the views.

Q.  You won the John Deere Classic last year, you had a chance at winning the FedExCup, you played in The Presidents Cup, and a World Golf Championships late in the year.  And then new member orientation this week?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I did.¬† I had new member orientation this week.¬† There definitely was still some things that I had questions about regarding FedExCup, regarding whatever‑‑ all kind of stuff.¬† There's still quite a bit of that I don't understand that I'm not worried about right now, like the pension program and all that.
Yeah, it was I think more of a brief meeting than it normally is for new members but I'm excited that I'm not a rookie anymore.

Q.  Last year was your first year having the full PGA TOUR stats at your disposal.  Did you learn anything about your game?  How close did you follow all those numbers?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's great.  I didn't look too much into it.  My instructor likes to look at that and then he kind of makes it a little more basic.  He doesn't want me digging too much into it in a sense.  I agree with him.
So we've singled out certain areas that I wanted to improve this off‑season, certain places to spend more time.¬† He also had some ideas once I got a few weeks off and even though I was playing a couple tournaments, I was still working on a couple things, so I had a couple months here where we tweaked my swing a little bit and it seemed to peak about a week ago and started to really come into shape.¬† I played in China, in Tiger's event and both weeks, I was kind of all over the place in my longer clubs and that was almost expected going in.¬† I was rusty and working on those things.
So I'm not this week, so I have no excuses and I'm ready to play here.

Q.  What did you work on?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† We worked a little on my grip and a little on my load on the backswing to kind of flatten the plane down on my downswing, so I was able to hit more draws now.¬† Throughout the season, I worked a little more for whatever reason, playing week‑in and week‑out, I started coming a little more over the top of it and then just playing fades and I wanted to get my natural draw back and so I kind of have both ball flights now instead of being one‑sided.

Q.¬† That would be one by‑product of your first time playing a not college golf schedule?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I think so.¬† It was just that many events, your body just wants to do certain things, certain weeks get tired or you're playing in heavy winds one week and the next week you're trying to launch it out.¬† You try to do so many different things‑‑ or I try to do so many different things yet.¬† I still don't own my swing yet.¬† I'm not quite to that stage.
The good news is I'm able to make it work if things aren't going well.  But we're back to a really good point right now where if I get a lot of reps in the beginning of the season, the way that I've been practicing the past couple months, should be at a good point in my swing.

Q.¬† Sorry, change the tune a little bit, you mentioned the off‑course activities you've been doing.¬† What kind of things have you done and what would you recommend to someone, a newcomer who is coming in the future that they have to do or see?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I still haven't done a whole lot.  I want to get out and go fishing.  I also want to go whale watching.  Yesterday we went kind of cliff jumping and kind of finding some spots out there, and a little bit of SCUBA driving, which is cool.  I mean, I don't ever get to do that.
I'm kind of making it a point this year, I want to go to a lot of events and kind of find something that's special to where you're at and do an activity or whatever it is.  Last year did some fly fishing in West Virginia; something like that, something that's famous in the area that I want to try and do.  So just trying to get off to a start here.

Q.  Did you bring your family?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, they didn't come.  They were going to and then kind of got a little late and needed to stay home.  I'm here just hanging out.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
JORDAN SPIETH:  I was with some of the other guys.  My caddie was with me yesterday.  I've had some dinners with Jay going over stuff for the season.  Yeah, hanging with some of the other players yesterday, just whoever's out here.

Q.  Did you say you don't own your swing yet?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't feel that I completely own my swing yet because it does get off in certain areas, the same areas time to time, versus a lot of guys when things get off, it's something really minor.  Sometimes throughout a season, if my swing can literally look quite a bit different at the end of the season versus the beginning, I don't feel like I truly own it yet.

Q.  The other thing is, I'm assuming coming out last year at this time, you just missed your card, you were just trying to find spots and all those other things and you must have had some goals.  How does last year's goals change from this year's goals, because obviously you've accomplished a lot last year.
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† It's just a step up.¬† Last year my goals were to earn my PGA card.¬† More specifically, in those PGA starts, I wanted to get into contention to know what it feels like and hopefully get a win. ¬†This year, instead of getting into contention into PGA events, a big goal of mine is to make the cut in all four majors and get into contention in‑‑ in whatever, whether it's one or four or I guess you could say five of them.¬† It's to get into contention in those and see what happens, see what it feels like.
That's the next stage for me is I think major championships, World Golf Championships.  Neither one have I been really in contention on the weekend yet.  So I know that that's a new feeling in golf, something that people in the past do struggle with their first time, so I'm looking forward to getting into that position and then seeing how patient I can be.

Q.¬† Just to follow on that, I think last year in Chicago, you told us you had to re‑set your goals about four times over the course of the year, and an unbelievable year this year would mean you reset your goals how many times?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Just a couple.¬† I'm setting‑‑ there's expectations on the year that I set for myself.¬† And so with that, I have tangible goals like I did last season that are difficult to achieve, and I felt like they were difficult to achieve last year and rode momentum.
That's how it went, there was a lot of momentum that I just kept going with and a lot of confidence, and that can't stop just because of a three‑week break.
Again, I just re‑set the goals, because it's a new year.¬† Tangible goals that I won't get into other than really looking at the major championships and The Ryder Cup are kind of my two biggest things this year.¬† If I can compete in a major, I feel like that would be successful, and if I can make The Ryder Cup Team, that's always a dream come true for everybody.
Ultimately, you know, the earlier we can do that or even lock it up, then something can be re‑set but it's going to be hard to re‑set goals on top of those I think.

Q.  You don't seem to have any problems with this, but you're talking about expectations and there are obviously a lot more on you from the outside world.  I mean, how do you deal with that?  Are you worried about a sophomore slump?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† No, not really.¬† Shoot, I still feel the beginning of the season like a rookie‑‑ I've never seen any of these courses yet, at least until we reach about the end of March.¬† You know, there's still new tournaments for me, new experiences.¬† I'm not going to look‑‑ I'm not going to count whether it's my first, second, third, fourth year on Tour.
It's another year, it's another tournament, and I'm focused on the task at hand.¬† It's not easy to win out here, and it's definitely not easy to win against 30 some‑odd guys that have won recently.

Q.  Obviously scheduling is a big deal and over time it's changed, a lot of guys have tried to put 25 or even 30 weeks into their schedule and now you see guy, Adam is a great example, if he put 20 in, that's probably a lot.  How does your idea of scheduling change for you, even though you're a young guy, like a year like this, will you put in 25 weeks this year or will you try to do less?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Through THE TOUR Championship, it looks like just what I think is going to happen is will be around 26 or 27.  I played 23 last year but started late.
So adding these couple and a couple more at the beginning of the season when I went down to South America for the Web.coms; I really played 25 through THE TOUR Championship last year, so it's just another event or two this year, which I think I can handle at my age.
I think that's the best option for me.  Again, it goes into my goal for the year, preparing for the major championships, and I know that my best events last year were typically the second, third or fourth week in a row for whatever reason.  A couple times, the first tournament after a week off, I played well, but my best weeks were after I played the week before.  So that's kind of what I'm looking at going into the Majors is scheduling to prepare for that.

Q.¬† One or two weeks into a major, is that your plan‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  Most likely, that's definitely the plan for Augusta and then I'll go from there.

Q.  Do you feel like of the major venues, there's one you like or your game would suit?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't know about the Masters yet.  I played Augusta for the first time a couple months ago and I think it's an awesome course for me.  I played well there but it was a different golf course.  It was right after it opened.  The grass was grown up.  The ball was sticking, it wasn't firm, and the greens weren't Masters speed.
So I'll hopefully get by there a couple more weeks, but that's a tournament I've always dreamt about winning.  I have not played Pinehurst.  I've played Valhalla and obviously not over at Liverpool.
Yeah, on, it's a good question.¬† I like the U.S. Open setup.¬† I like the fact that 1‑over or even par can win a golf tournament.¬† That I think plays to my strengths more than any other event.¬† But given the British Open could do the same thing and so could a PGA or a Masters, you just never know based on conditions.
But the U.S. Open will consistently be like that, so you know, Pinehurst will be great to be on that kind of bermuda and sand, and I think that might be a good course for me.

Q.¬† Can you give us the blow‑by‑blow/itinerary/all the details you can remember of your Pine Valley/Augusta day?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, I was very fortunate.¬† My instructor teaches a guy in Dallas, a couple guys that were very nice and invited us to go off on a little trip.¬† One of the guys, Bob Rowling, is a member at Pine Valley and Augusta, he's with Omni Hotels and just a super nice guy.¬† We went up, a few of us, flew from Dallas to Atlantic City‑‑ we didn't fly into Philly, closer to the coast, whatever is right over there.¬† And we just went, he has one of the houses in there, so we went and stayed at his house and played Pine Valley.
We went and had dinner there and then the next day, we woke up, played Pine Valley, had their lunch, and flew from there down to Augusta, and it was still early enough, because it was such an easy little flight, that we got to the cottages there by No. 10 and it was 70 degrees and no wind.  We said, why don't we go out there, we've got a couple hours to kill, so we played the back nine at Augusta, and then had dinner there, woke up the next morning, played 18, had lunch and left.
It was amazing seeing some of those‑‑ I had never been there, so just seeing some of the different‑‑ one of the holes that surprised me most was Augusta's 13th, and just how much of a dog‑leg it is.
The fact that you see guys that are turning it around the corner, I mean, that's not easy to do, and especially when it's soft.  There was no chance, so I just bust a driver through, just barely through the fairway in that hybrid into the green, so I think one of the times I've played it, I hit the green and the other I hit it in the creek there.
But just a cool experience just seeing how much that turns and the different shots you have to play.  I'm going to have to figure out 11 tee box.  That was I think the hardest shot for me out there.  Probably is for anybody, yeah.  Especially when the ball is not rolling.

Q.  What did you shoot at Pine Valley?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† I think I was a couple‑under at Pine Valley and a few at Augusta.

Q.  Did you keep score?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, we did there because we were just all trying to see what we would shoot I guess.  Most of the time I don't, when I'm just playing at home.  Most of the time it's just, how many birdies can you make.  Not necessarily the score.

Q.  On the schedule this year, how much of an obligation would you feel to go back to some of the tournaments that gave you spots?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, very much so.  That goes into the schedule.  Not just from last year, but last year they obviously gave me a place to boost to where I'm at right now, was very fortunate that so many tournament directors were very courteous to me.
But also as an amateur, those were experiences that helped me significantly that I'm not forgetting about that gave me certain exemptions.  Even these events that gave them to me last year gave them to me when I was in college or when I was a junior, so those are the ones I keep dear to my heart.
KELLY BARNES:  Thank you, Jordan, and good luck this week.

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