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January 3, 2014

Jordan Spieth


JOHN BUSH:  Jordan Spieth, 7‑under par, 66, no bogeys on the card in your first trip on this course, great start to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, thank you, it was kind of a start that I'm very happy, very happy with for 2014.  You know, big fairways, big greens.  I had control over my long clubs and my speed putting.  It's a course that you really‑‑ I shouldn't make a lot of bogeys on if you keep the ball in play and just think your way around the course.
Ultimately did some good preparation and did a lot of hard work the last two or three weeks getting ready for today and now just happy to be in good position after the first round.

Q.  With all the different changes in the weather and the wind, specifically, how do you not have a bogey?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It's kind of‑‑ it was a little weird today.  It was calm at the beginning and just a little breeze and then all of a sudden, middle of the round, the wind has just picked up around 5, 6, 7 and 8, started howling, and then kind of died back down.
So those were hard holes and I played a couple good long irons on 7 and 8, hit a good 5‑iron into 7 and hit a good 6‑iron into 8 and I think those were going to be my two hardest holes today given the wind, and 17 is another one.
But ultimately just hit the greens on those holes and then from there, didn't really have much of a scare for bogey today.

Q.  Did you talk to guys about what to expect here before you came, and is that‑‑ if so, is that a little bit different than how soft it is out there right now?
JORDAN SPIETH:  A little bit.  I mean, guys last year, obviously, were talk about how it was just crazy with the winds.  What I've heard in the past, what anyone has ever told me is that it's just a hard walk.  Mainly to the caddies, to don't take off the off‑season or else you're going to be in for a treat.
So it wasn't too bad.  We had some help from the Hyundai's taking us around on a few of the long walks, but yeah, I didn't really‑‑ it's been receptive since we got here.  It not playing much different than it did two days ago.
So I don't know from years past exactly what's happened but I know the wind is just a little bit different now than it might be on the weekend.

Q.  Do you have to kind of keep yourself grounded coming to Maui, when you're young and coming to Hawai'i and everything, have you had to kind of concentrate on just golf?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, it's tough.  I've been done in the afternoons and out in the water, and kind of enjoying myself.  It's almost like a vacation tournament in a sense.  It's been an awesome week so far.  I mean, obviously I'm here for this reason, and I don't have my family here with me.  So there's definitely more of an emphasis on golf than maybe some other guys are putting into it here.  Maybe that's an advantage.
But all in all, still having a great time, enjoying the views and the scenery down in the coast, and yeah, I mean, I've been to Hawai'i once before with my college team over on the big island and really love that experience, so it's nice to be in Maui, too.

Q.  Did the wind and conditions get a little tougher as the round kind of went along?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It did.  It got a little windier but then for the last five holes, or so, it really died down and I kind of took advantage on those holes.  I had some downwind drivable holes on the par5 and short par 4 on 18, so I think I ended up with birdies on four of the last five due to kind of the wind dying down and turning with me a little bit.

Q.  What did you think the first time you went around this place?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I was planning on playing nine holes and I almost just kept on going because it was just such a cool layout.  I really do enjoy all the sidehill lies, downhill lies.  You really have to be almost a shot‑maker out here just to strike the ball in the middle.  It's very easy.  I hit one 7‑iron really fat today on a par 5 that would have given me a good look at eagle and ended up in a hazard and I played out of it and ended up making par on the front nine on 5, I think it is.
That was the only kind of ball that I didn't strike really well today, so it was nice to have that off all the different lies you get to be able to strike it well.

Q.  Second shot, you fatted it right into the hazard?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I fatted it.  It was just short of the green.  It almost reached the green but it ended up in the hazard.  I lot lucky that it didn't plug, and just buried down in the grass and I just had to hack it out on to the green.

Q.  Do you know how high the grass used to be?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Probably wouldn't have made par, my guess, if it was as high as it used to be.

Q.  Any coincidence that three of four of the leaders have never been here before?  Experience overrated here?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I didn't even know I was leading.  Webb's been here.  I thought somebody was at 8‑under.  I don't know who the other guys are.  But I don't know, it's one of those courses where, like I said before, there's a few holes that are narrow but other than that, it's very wide off the tee and the greens are big.
So it's not something that you have to have I don't think a ton of knowledge on.  I think a couple of the practice rounds of figuring out the green contours, because some of the holes, there's four greens on it just because they're so big and so many different flat areas.  Other than that, there's just‑‑ I don't think there's a whole lot to really figure out.
Plus, the wind is a little different, and I don't think some of the players that have been here before have experienced this wind.  So it makes the course play quite a bit different.

Q.  What are you thinking, or what's it like standing on that 17th tee?  I'm assuming it was all the way back today.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I'll tell you, the last couple tournaments I've played, I've been pretty scared on that tee not having control of my driver, 3‑wood, long irons.  But today I felt really confident.  It was‑‑ that's one where you just sit on the tee for a few minutes and just kind of look out.  It just looks really cool.  Luckily the wind had died down a little.  I think the guys are really on played it into maybe 20, 25 miles an hour.  We played maybe a five‑mile‑an‑hour breeze into us, wasn't too bad.

Q.  Make 4?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I hit a really good drive actually, a 5‑iron.  It may have blown ten, 15.  Webb hit hybrid and hit it to ten feet and made it.  I was kind of on the downslope and tried to hit a low 5‑iron and ended up about 35, 40 feet away.

Q.  What did you do on 18?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I just tried too hard.  It was a little into the wind and I was trying to push it to get near the green in two, and I actually missed the fairway, which is pretty hard to do for anybody on that hole.
That's probably the second largest fairway outside of Hilton Head, 18, we'll have all year and I've actually missed it two out of the three times I've played it now, one of the practice round days, too.  I just overcooked it and tried to kill it and it went in the rough and punched a hybrid and it came down the hill in No Man's Land in the little swale still 155 yards out and I hit a 9‑iron to about ten, 12 feet and made it, so got to four somehow.
JOHN BUSH:  Jordan, we appreciate your time.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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