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March 5, 2014

Jordan Spieth


KELLY BARNES:  Jordan, I know you have an announcement you'd like to make.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Today is an exciting day for me.  It's the launch of my website.  Got a great partnership with Perfect Sense Digital and their CEO, David Gang has been a good friend of mine for a while.  Not only is he helping out with this, but he helps out with my charitable fund.
So I'm very excited about the launch, for people to kind of find out more about me on and off the course, and kind of my goals on and off course.  So it's going to launch here soon today, and very, very excited about it.  And now I'm sitting here.
KELLY BARNES:  Now let's talk about the tournament, too.  You have a couple WGC starts under your belt now, but this is your first time at Cadillac and there are a lot of changes to the course.  Tell us about your confidence level going into this week and how you feel about your game on this course.
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Sure.¬† This is one of the only courses where my experience is the same as really anybody else's.¬† It's one of the very few other than‑‑ even The Open, even the other three majors, other than the Masters, even those guys have played the course before.
So I feel great going into it.  I know that it's a course that nobody has seen yet and I've played 27 holes up to this point, I'll play another nine today, get a couple rounds in, and very excited.
I think it's a great‑looking course.¬† The greens are the kind of greens I grew up on.¬† I feel very comfortable.¬† If the wind blows, you're going to have to control your driver out here and you've got to keep the ball in play and you've got to be very smart and hit some pretty impressive short game shots around the greens.

Q.  A year ago, you were not in this position, and you were not going into WGC events and such.  Did you picture this?  Did you think you would be here this soon?  Did you think it would take three or four years?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, I didn't know on the timetable.¬† I didn't necessarily‑‑ I didn't think it would be this soon.¬† I was in Puerto Rico at this time last year and very fortunate they gave me a spot.¬† It was one of the best weeks of the year.¬† It was so much fun.
But everybody wants to be here.  I'm extremely excited to be here.  Never been to Miami before, so that's also new.  But you know, I didn't know how long it would take but I had trust and confidence in my game that I would be here eventually and happy to be here so soon.
I feel very comfortable in an event like this, which, you know, it takes playing in one or two to kind of have your comfort level settled down, because it's a really big tournament with one of the best fields of the year.
.¬† So everybody's‑‑ a lot of the top guys are playing some great golf right now, and you've got to play the best and you've got to be on your a plus game to win this golf tournament.

Q.  After the Match Play, you were very honest east with me and on Twitter about how you handled your emotions.  Having time to think about that, is that something you're working on and what's your reaction now?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, definitely, it's something I've been working on in really trying to remain neutral on the weekend and not force things.  And I put myself in position through two rounds a lot better than I did last year, even through five, six events this year.
I've slept on a couple leads and just been in positions where I didn't have to come back and needed to push the gas pedal forward from being in the lead, and that's new and I didn't handle it the right way mentally.  I didn't just let it happen and trust my preparation and game.
So I've been working hard on it and what was really upsetting was that Match Play event almost feels like a Sunday round every single round because you can go home, even if the other guy just has a career round.  So you're really pressing.
It's a little more difficult, and I felt like I did a great job the first three rounds.  I was really excited about where I was with my game, mechanics and mentally.
I got into a match against Ernie and from the get‑go he made a couple long putts on me and it rattled me and got an early lead; he had an early lead.¬† So I just didn't handle it the way I wanted to.¬† I was really upset after I finished the round because I knew he was able to feed off what I was doing, and that's the last thing you want to do is give a Major Champion any kind of open door.
You know, I could have played better golf, but I had an off‑day and even if I had played better, he could have pulled out a win anyways.
Looking back, talked to my instructor about it, he's the one I talk to about that stuff, Cameron, and I feel like I'm improving even though that was a major setback, I feel like I'm improving and just trying to really enjoy playing golf on the weekends.  Just really trying to sit back and just love the fact that I'm able to play professional golf on the weekend and  compete with the best players in the world instead of putting too much pressure on myself to pull it out.
It's going to happen, if I keep putting myself in position, I'm just going to let it happen.  I feel like from now on, will only improve.

Q.  You've hit a lot of checkpoints in the last year where people ask you to look back, and can you imagine on everything you've accomplished, but right now, sitting here, can you look back at where you were a year ago this week and just think about where you've come since then?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, I almost look back at a year ago this week and just think about that week and how big it was for me and I don't really look at everything that happened since then.¬† It kind of jump‑started things, but really, the Web.com event started things for me.¬† I played great the two weeks leading up to Puerto Rico, played well in Panama and Bogot√° and went to Puerto Rico with a lot of confidence instead of Chile and took the exemption.¬† The whole week was so much fun, I had family, friends getting to hang out at the beach in a really relaxed environment.
It's just funny to think back to that week and how I didn't even think I was going to have PGA TOUR status last years at this point, which it's already into March.  So I didn't think that I would even get status.  I was just trying to have a good week because I was going to play a PGA event; which I think if anybody gets an opportunity to have an exemption to go to a PGA TOUR event, they should take it no matter where their status is.  I think it's better for them in the long run and so that's what I did.
It's just‑‑ yeah, it is funny, just the rest of last year, not to mention where we are right now.

Q.  Considering your world rank, your age and success in the short period of time, you're going to go into your first Masters with a lot more attention and maybe expectation than your average rookie.  Do you have similar expectations on yourself?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I didn't know what the typical expectations are.  I know there's been a winner the first time they have played there before.  Even if there wasn't, I still wouldn't believe that it would happen.  I've been there and I've played three rounds now on it, kind of the awe experience is out of the way, which I think is very important.  I still walk the grounds with a big smile on my face the whole time.  It's heaven on earth to me.
But yeah, I'm going to enter the tournament not just playing the Masters, but to try and win the Masters.  I feel like it's a good golf course for me.  I have not played it anywhere near in the condition it will be in the tournament yet, but I'm sure I'll get a couple more rounds in and be really confident when I step on the first tee box and be focused on making birdies and not looking around and just seeing the crowds and azaleas and whatnot.  I'll be focused on my own game.

Q.¬† Being a guy who has not played this course before the re‑design, does that in some way help because it's maybe not ingrained in your mind about a putt breaking a certain way or certain shots?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† Yeah, I think so.¬† I think in the past, it's been 20‑under that wins this tournament.¬† I don't see that happening.¬† It all depends on conditions.¬† But this golf course doesn't seem like it will¬† ‑‑¬† you can really go that low, and maybe guys have expectations of shooting a 6‑under, being a good score, 7‑under being a good score; when in reality, maybe 2‑, 3‑under would be a really good score.
So I'm going into this thinking the golf course, I need to respect it, and play very smart shots and kind of see what it yields me on the easier holes.¬† But I think it definitely helps that‑‑ I think it helps that I had not seen it before.¬† I don't know if it makes much of a difference but just the fact that I'm seeing the course for the first time and so is everybody else; that kind of fuels me.¬† It's nice.

Q.  Seeing a lot of the players that are older and been on the TOUR with injuries, you're young in your career, just starting out, first year, but are you doing anything, is your team doing anything would you to prevent injuries like that?  You guys have a lot of torque on the knee, a lot of reps because of practice rounds.  What are you guys doing, even at a young age to kind of prevent some of the things that the Tigers and Phils have gone through?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, these days, even junior golfers going back to 14 or 15 years old before their bodies are fully developed are seeing that, and there's a change in the sport.  With my team, I have a trainer back home, Damon Goddard, who I take his program on the road with me.  And I work out Monday through Wednesday pretty hard, and then kind of do activations and whatnot tournament days.
And then I have Dr.Troy¬† Van Biezen ,who a lot of the top guys use for chiropractor services.¬† Just actually came from him two minutes ago where kind of everything‑‑ he keeps everything in line, and where it needs to be.
So I think I've got a great‑‑ I've been with both of them for quite a few years now.¬† It's definitely very helpful for me, and I don't experience any injuries, I don't expect to, and I don't expect to going forward because I feel like I have the right program.
But I think that it's necessary.¬† You need to have the right team.¬† I think you need both.¬† It's not a physical contact sport but at the same time, with as much travel as you do and as much‑‑ you're swinging 120 miles an hour one direction, however many times a day, 200, 300 times a day, sometimes more.¬† It definitely wears on the different parts of your body and keeping them lined up.
Again, even some of these older guys, some of their injuries don't have anything to do with that.  Maybe it's a wrist or whatever and that could happen walking up the stairs.  Sometimes you can't avoid it.  But what you can manage I think you need to these days.

Q.  So everywhere you go, obviously you are forced to answer questions about your youth, but I would imagine that outside the press conference, it's something that you have to ignore because having success you have to behave in a way that's more mature.  Does that create any strange interference in your head or is that something you think about?  Strange question, I know, but hopefully you understand.
JORDAN SPIETH:  No, it's not difficult at all.  I think I like the fact that I'm young.  I think that it's very advantageous for me.  At the same time, when you're on the course with some veterans, especially leading up to tournaments, it's nice to sit and talk, ask questions and kind of learn from them what made them so successful and to have such long careers and win major championships and whatnot.
So I wouldn't say I'm more or less mature in an interview room versus outside the interview room.  But it doesn't really mess with me at all, no.  It's just I want to be as honest as I can be here.  I want to be as honest as I can be outside of the interview room, too.  It's not like I necessarily change.
But at the same time, when you get out there, you have to, when you get on the course, you have to believe that‑‑ you really don't‑‑ when you're on the course, you don't want it to cross where you are mind that other guys have experience and you necessarily haven't seen the golf course.¬† You're out there playing and you almost just think about your preparation for the week and how well you're hitting it that week, and you just have to trust that that's better than everybody else.
You obviously need the right breaks to go with it, but ultimately if you can control your preparation, then experience‑‑ if you can prepare and your game is on and you're playing your A Game, then even a B Game with experience won't beat it.

Q.  How old do you feel?

Q.  How young does no one have to be out here to say, that guy is young?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Guan Tianlang.  I think he's 15. No, there's very few times that somebody is younger than me, so if they are at this point I would consider them really young.

Q.  Do you call him "kid"?
JORDAN SPIETH:¬† No, he's very respectful.¬† He goes out there and asks a bunch of questions and trying to figure out what guys are doing week‑in, week‑out, even asking me questions.¬† I'm like, well, shoot, I'm trying to learn myself.
KELLY BARNES:   Jordan, thanks for coming in.

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