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February 21, 2014

Jordan Spieth


DOUG MILNE:¬† We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth, after a successful 2‑1 victory over defending champion Matt Kuchar here at the Accenture Match Play Championship.¬† Jordan, congratulations on a great day.¬† Turn it over to you for some opening comments.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it was a good day.  I knew I had to make a lot of birdies today.  I mean, Matt obviously loves this golf course.  He loves almost every golf course he plays, but being a previous champion here and on his game.
I got a couple to drop early, which was huge.¬† Ended up 3‑up through 10.¬† He missed kind of a short one on 10.¬† I made a lot of birdies.¬† From there it was just barely a big enough cushion to hold him off.

Q.  So this appears to be another venue that you're very comfortable in now?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah.  I like match play.  I love match play.  And the golf course is cool.  I've had a couple of balls go in the cactus, but other than that kept it in play.  It's a great spot, perfect weather.  It's hard not to like it.  It's hard not to like PGA Tour golf courses.

Q.  It's more like it's just another caldron that you've thrown yourself into and become very successful, match play versus stroke play, and the Tour versus college, and all the rest of it.  Everything you fall into, it seems like you're just ready for it.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I guess so.  I have a lot of experience in match play, not on the pro level, but going back to junior days.  I've been very successful and been knocked out in the first round.  Having just been a part of both helps a lot out here.
You can draw back here and there on certain experiences, but ultimately just like I think Matt said it, you just want to play it like it's a stroke play round.¬† Obviously when you get towards‑‑ when you see your opponent in trouble, maybe you'll be a little more conservative.¬† But other than that, I'm striking the ball really well right now coming off a couple of good weeks the last couple of weeks. ¬†Just riding confidence.¬† I think that's maybe the reason it's been an easier adjustment, seeing the ball go really straight.

Q.¬† The stretch here the last few weeks you've played well.¬† You've had a few bad holes in each tournament.¬† And any particular thing‑‑ and of course, in match play it's different.¬† You can usually accept those holes, if they don't knock you out of the tournament.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, definitely.  Sorry, this is my first time up here (laughter).
Yeah, 11 today, I made by double bogey, he made birdie, I lose one hole.¬† Yeah, you get away with a bad hole.¬† I don't think that‑‑ I think my game is actually kind of the opposite of that.¬† I think a strength of mine is that I'm in every hole.
When I make two aggressive of a swing or my speed control is off, that's when my bogeys come.¬† Out here, there's a lot of holes that are super narrow on the landing zone.¬† You miss one tee shot and you could end up in a cactus.¬† I had it a couple of times and lost the hole both times to birdies.¬† But ultimately I don't think that that's what's helping me here.¬† I think that I'm just kind of‑‑ I feel really good over the ball.¬† I feel like the ball‑‑ I'm seeing my lines right now and I'm driving the ball great.

Q.¬† So we've seen the last couple of years Kuchar has a way of tightening the noose at the end.¬† And you played a really long time on the back nine 1‑up, did you feel that pressure, that intensity?¬† And if so, how did you stand up to it?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, I was very, very frustrated going to the par‑5, 13th, because you just can't open the door for him.¬† There's no doubt he was going to play the last six holes under par.¬† And had I been 3‑up, I could have gotten away with just birdieing the par‑5s or par‑5 and a drivable hole.¬† And that's what happened.¬† He left himself in a great position on 13, 14 and 15.¬† He made two out of three birdies.
And then I had to rely on my pitch shots to really get me close to the hole and give myself good looks.¬† He was in better position than I was in those holes.¬† I just ended up hitting the shots that I practiced a lot out here earlier this week.¬† I feel comfortable pitching the ball off the grass.¬† It's fluffy and the ball hits and spins.¬† There was no doubt he was going to make a move.¬† I'm just happy those 4‑footers were falling for me coming in.

Q.¬† Do you feel differently‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, he's a smiling assassin.¬† He's just‑‑ I don't know if I feel a different intensity from him versus other players.¬† It almost seems like he's more laid back than other players, even though I know inside he's not.¬† He's a competitor.
But he was obviously a class act, said, Good shot, even on 17 when my ball landed just a couple of feet over the bunker.¬† Other players, including myself, probably would have been immature in their head thinking, Are you kidding me?¬† But he said, Great shot.¬† And lost‑‑ it could have been‑‑ he could have won, he could have lost, it was all based on a putt here and there.¬† But it was really cool and he's a great role model and it was great to see the way he handled everything.

Q.¬† Going back to last year, too, it seemed like you played some of your best golf in really, really big spotlights, playing with Tiger at Presidents Cup.¬† Playing Matt, who's been great at match play today.¬† Do you do anything differently for those really big moments?¬† If not, why do you think‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't know, just all I can speak for is here, I guess.
Last year, I needed some shots coming down the stretch, whether it was Tampa to get a card or John Deere for a win, I put myself in positions or hit the shots that needed the right bounces and they got them.  I was fortunate.  It just happens.  I did what I could to put myself in position and from there you need some good breaks.
Playing here this week, it's the same deal in match play, especially with these greens.¬† You can land the ball‑‑ today I had a ball that if it was a foot left of where it landed, it would have been right next to the hole.¬† Instead I've got to put up and down a ridge.
So you've got to be really patient with where the ball is going out here.¬† I don't necessarily‑‑ I think what helps out here is you're not thinking of it as‑‑ you're just focused on that one player that you're playing against.¬† You're not worried about‑‑ you don't hear the roars and think other people are making birdies and stuff like that.¬† You're just focused on your own match and maybe that's good for me this week.

Q.  Could you talk about your match tomorrow?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I'm excited to play Ernie.  Major champion, a recent Major champion, too.  He can go low.  I know that he hasn't played his best golf yet this week, so I'm sure it will come tomorrow.  And I've got to be prepared for it.  Obviously a very consistent player, one of the best swings in the game.  And I'm sure that it will be another tough match.  You've got to beat past champions and Major champions in this tournament to keep advancing.  Although I'm neither, I'd like to be one.  It will be fun.

Q.  It's the nature of golfers to feel sorry for themselves so much, and that putt could have dropped.  You seem to have learned not to complain or worry about this.  Did that come at a young age or just in the last year or two?
JORDAN SPIETH:  You should look in the eyes of my caddie for a round.  No, I mean I'm getting better at it, but I definitely, definitely still have a lot more maturing to do as far as that's concerned.
Yeah, Michael‑‑ I'm just laughing because Michael will be sitting over bellowed over in the back laughing right now.
I've got some more to do, but the big thing out here is just try and stay as neutral as possible and realize that if you give yourself 20 feet, that's great, no matter what the hole is.¬† There's some par‑5s, if you hit the fairway, you can reach it in 2 pretty easily with an iron or hybrid and take advantage of those holes.¬† And ultimately 4‑under wins a lot of matches.¬† And if you play smart golf, that's what you're going to shoot.

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