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February 5, 2014

Jordan Spieth


MARK STEVENS:  We're joined by Jordan Spieth in the interview room.  Jordan, made a start here last year, if you kind of want to talk about, now that you've got your feet wet on the TOUR, and coming back and playing Pebble Beach and your thoughts on the courses and we'll have a few questions.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah.  This is, it's got to be the most unbelievable place for golf in the world.  All three courses are magnificent and there's still another five or six courses that are on this peninsula that I would like to play some day that I hear are pretty incredible themselves.
But, yeah, it's nice.  This is the second tournament now where I'm coming back where I've seen the course before.  That's rare.  Torrey Pines being the first, was my first start last year, this is my second.
So I was able to kind of feed off of course knowledge at Torrey Pines a little better than I was last year in new places, so I feel like this year, even though it is three courses, I'll be able to draw back on certain places not to miss or where to leave the ball, especially on a course that, like Pebble, where it's hosted a U.S. Open, there's definitely spots where you need to be careful.
So I'm excited to be back, going to play Pebble today, I played the other two courses this week already, and should be ready to go tomorrow with a great pairing.
MARK STEVENS:  Okay.  Questions?

Q.  After the way you kind of burst on to the PGA TOUR scene, a lot of people, a lot of golfers over the last decade have been kind of designated heir apparent's to Tiger or Phil.  How do you respond to that kind of talk when people bring that, bring your name up?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Not really fazed either way by it.  It's an honor to be compared I think at my age to other guys at their age, but as far as being compared to somebody such as Tiger whose had so much success and broken so many records, I mean that didn't happen when he was my age, that happened throughout his career.
So all in all when I hear that, all I hear is that I've got a long way to go to obviously try and be the best player in the world and to break the records that are out there.  Because that's what we're in the sport for.
So it's an honor when I hear where other people were at this point in their career, starting their second year out, but ultimately you can't draw on that, you need to keep your head forward looking and setting new goals and harder goals.  And I've done that this year and although it's been a good start to the year, I haven't accomplished anything yet that I've ‑‑ any of the tangible goals I've set for myself.  But I feel like I'm off to a good start, a couple good learning experiences with Kapalua and then at Torrey, so just want to get back in contention and try and close it out this time.

Q.  So it was just up the road at the U.S. Open in San Francisco in 2012 where you really burst on to the scene.  Tell me about how you've kind of progressed from there and what it's been like for you going through that Rookie of the Year season.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, the U.S. Open was seventh or eighth start in professional events as an amateur, so I had been in the scene before, but never in a Major Championship.  And to really, on the weekend, play some of the best golf I had ever played in my life on Saturday, Sunday at a U.S. Open, that was definitely a big confidence boost.  It allowed me to really be comfortable with my decision to turn pro in my head.
I ended up waiting for another six months or so, but it was definitely a week that is very significant in my career.  It was, low amateur in a Major was goal of mine and although it was the Beau Hossler show that week, I kind of slipped in there and got the low amateur honors.
But from there, I mean, it just, I finished up that summer playing some college golf into the fall and then turned pro.  And then last year was last year.
I said it at Torrey, I'm just a completely different person mentally at a TOUR event this year than I was last year.  So this is my second start, I had gotten kind of the nerves of the first start at Torrey out and it was easier here playing with Tony and getting paired with Kelly.  He's a buddy of mine, so it was just a different vibe at this tournament.  It always is every year.  It's one of my favorite events all year.  It was one of the best events I played last year.  We just have such a great time, it's just not the same feeling, I was able to relax more.  And to have a teammate kind of egging you on in your group was different, a different scenario.  So it led to some success here last year, so I'm excited to be paired with Jake, another great player this year.

Q.  What exactly went on with your ankle at Torrey and what's going on now?  Is it all fine?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It's all better now.  I just, I tweaked it.  I think that ‑‑ I think that I thought back and thought hard about it and I think it was on the tee shot I was leaning one way while I was in my follow through and I just leaned over and I just kind of twisted it and it just over stretched and then just locked up.
So I think, I don't know what the definition of it was, I just call it a tweak and I had a lot of great work on it from Troy Van Biezen and then some work with Damon at home in the gym.  And I was working out hard by Tuesday.  So Saturday, Sunday it was taped up and I started getting more and more rotation on it and ultimately by the time early in the week hit, this past week, I was back to normal and just I've got nothing on it now.  So it's almost like it didn't happen.

Q.  You seem to have a lot of lefties going off the tee.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I did.  I just, it was just one thing in my swing I was working on and I did it the wrong way.  I got back with Cameron and we figured that out.  It was hard to tell until we really put it on video with him.  And we got it fixed for this week and I'm back to hitting it better than I was the beginning of the week at Torrey now.

Q.  So that was swing oriented, but not weight shift oriented?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Right, swing oriented.  No, weight shift was fine.

Q.  That was basically all your fault.
JORDAN SPIETH:  It was completely my fault.  100 percent.  Thanks, Doug.

Q.  You said you're in such a different mental place.  Is it just nerves that's different or how else are you different from last year and I guess sort of an expansion of that why do you think you've been able to make this transition so quickly?  There's been a lot of very good college players who it takes awhile to kind of find their footing out here.  Why do you think you've been able to?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Well, I think I'm just a veteran now, that's why it's a lot easier this year.  No, I mean, it's nerves and it's also the way I'm preparing, course preparation, learning, just when you play a year on TOUR, even though so many golf courses are so different, they're still places that in college golf I would fire at the pins.  And I'm just learning that you can't do that and that I just look back at where I made my bogeys and over the past year it was typically on where my approach shots went.  And it was because I would get myself short sided.  So it's about learning when to fire and learning when to kind of chill out.
So, yeah, I mean ultimately nerves is a big thing and having won an event and then played against the best players in the world, competed versus last year at this time really trying to get my, trying to sneak inside the ropes without being caught and told that I was a teenager trying to get in with the pros.  So in that sense it's different when I step on the course, but when on the course there are certain characteristics of my game now that are very different.
And then your other question, I don't know what made it so much easier.  I think a big key was the fact that I had played in seven or eight TOUR events as an amateur before turning pro.  I know for a fact that if you are just going to turn pro without a start on TOUR it's going to be extremely difficult.  It's already difficult, but you just have another factor to get over.  And I think that it helped me a lot that these tournaments gave me exemptions when I was younger to give myself some, a little experience, but enough to where it made a difference where I didn't have to think of it as too much of a step up when I made the transition.

Q.  First, I want to confirm just from some things you said.  Your 100 percent fine with the ankle?
JORDAN SPIETH:  100 percent.

Q.  Okay.  The other thing is, in San Diego, there were comments on TV and stuff about how you can kind of run hot once in a while, you could see it as things weren't going exactly the way you wanted to.  Is that something that you feel like is necessary in your game or is that something that you feel like you need to work on?
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, it's something I need to work on.  There's a difference between a big, real competitive fire and then there's a difference between that and showing it on the course.  And it's not about, I don't really care what other people see, it's about what, how it affected me.  And it's something I've been working on hard the last couple years and it's still a work in progress.
And it's just maturing.  I think that there's just, there's, I just have more maturing to do about letting things happen, not trying to want it too bad on the weekend.  And it's something that my coach and I are really talking about a lot.
The reason why I felt like Kapalua was different from Torrey in the mental approach was that Torrey was weird because I had just lost all control of the golf ball.  And that I typically always can find a go to shot.  And I just didn't have one.  And it really killed me that I didn't know which shot to play.  Even when I'm not striking the ball well, I can get it in in par, 1, 2‑under, because I can find a go to, whether it's just a controlled punch fade and I lose 10 yards on each club, I can still find a shot.
And I just didn't have one there because of what I was doing in my swing.  And that's what really, really bothered me was not the fact that I was making a bogey or falling out and I was now 2‑down instead of 2‑up, it was more of the fact that I didn't, I convinced myself that I didn't know what shot to play.  And that was rare and that's why more emotion came out than what should have in that event.

Q.  Just a follow‑up.  So when you were home over the last two weeks, obviously you worked on the swing issues you talked about.  How much did you work on talking with your coaches about what happened mentally coming into this week about that?
JORDAN SPIETH:  About as much as I did in the swing.  And it was really just me and Cameron McCormick, my instructor, he's the one I talked to.  And we just, I mean we had a long discussion.  I got home, I flew home Monday and immediately went out to see him.  It was probably 20 degrees, but we went into the bay there and we talked for a couple hours about the mental side of it.  Because he could see it, and he knows my game as better than anybody else does.  And he and my dad know my mental game probably as well as anybody.
So it was very ‑‑ he was more asking questions, trying to figure out ‑‑ because he asks questions, he's asked them in the past and I've had certain answers here, certain answers there, so he can draw on what was really wrong.
And it was ‑‑ I was very close.  I was very close at Torrey and felt like had I just had that one shot, I could have pulled it off.  So I would say that we worked kind of half and half.

Q.  About how many times a week do you hear the words, "Hook 'em" out there?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Quite a bit.  Yeah.  It just depends on where we are, but it seems like every week there's at least a few of them.
And I remember this week last year there was quite a bit.  And in San Francisco, actually, apart from tournaments in Texas, San Francisco for the U.S. Open was the most I've ever heard.  I mean, it was crazy.  There's a big following here in California.  It's cool to have support.
MARK STEVENS:  Well, thank you for your time and good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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