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May 27, 2014

Jordan Spieth


THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started.  We'll welcome Jordan Spieth here to the interview room.  We'll just take a couple of opening comments on being back here at Muirfield.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Obviously really nice to be back at the Memorial.  This is an incredible tournament, one of the best ones of the year.  The facilities are a joke out here and my memory of this place comes not from that but from the Presidents Cup actually more recently.
So it was cool to drive in today, look around and see everything set up.  Just drove by the 18th just now and just to see the green and remember the celebration and just the amazing times that we had throughout that week, which is one of the most incredible weeks of my life.
So it's really nice to be back here on a course that I have more experience now than going back to even college than most of the courses that we play.
So it's a big golf course.  It's typically ‑‑ I remember the Memorial last year being the fastest greens I ever putted on until Augusta this year, so they're up there.
I enjoy that.  It's a lot of risk/reward.  It's a lot of you gotta strike the ball extremely well.
So actually looks like we're going to have some good weather for the four days of the tournament, too.  So should be really exciting, and just happy to be back out.  Fourth in a row for me.  But a little more relaxing being away from the hometown tournaments.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  Jordan, you just said this is your fourth in a row.  Earlier this year you played four in a row and six out of seven.  I've got you down for 39 tournaments since you turned pro.  Can you talk about what goes into your scheduling and how you stay fresh and how do you not get tired?
JORDAN SPIETH:  A lot of this year was looking back on last year on where I thought I played my best golf, and then I wanted to schedule obviously the major championships and kind of the tournaments that I seriously wanted to play great golf in, pick a plan for those events.
And I also wanted to come back to tournaments that have given me exemptions in the past, whether it was last year or even back when I was an amateur.  So that's important to me because they allowed me to really be here today.
So it's interesting.  I mean, you need to have a break.  I took two weeks off on two tournaments I played last year that I really enjoyed playing last year, and I hope to go back to New Orleans and Charlotte.  But can't play every event.  A two‑week break in two four‑week stretches here, I think it was really important to get that rest and really get some fire back.
I was anxious by the end of that first week to get back out, and I had to wait another week.  So that was nice.  I felt like I got fresh legs for this stretch, and then after this week I'll go home and get fresh legs and kind of pick apart these last four weeks on what I really need to focus on in preparation for the U.S. Open.
And so, yeah, to answer your question, I guess it goes back to where do I get the most rest, slash, get the rust off prior to playing in the biggest events.  I've got a variety of scheduling going into the Open.  They're not all a week off before.  The Masters was the third out of a four‑week stretch, and the Open obviously I'll have a week off prior to it.
It will be interesting to see how it all works, but I think it's the right game plan.

Q.  From the few times you've seen this course, do you think it favors a player with any particular strengths or does it favor an all‑around game?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I think it's all‑around.  Look at the past champions‑‑ Tiger has won it many times, with Kuch winning.  You just can't really make any mistakes.  Can't let any wayward shots happen especially on the back nine.  Kuch is in every hole, hits the ball extremely straight, and he's got a very good short game.
I would say that you need to drive the ball well, which you do, but at the same time with how diabolical the greens are, how quick they are, you can't let your mind go astray.  This is a course that's been difficult for me.  I remember the Memorial last year to really focus on my speed control and just even six‑footers, because you really gotta focus on how hard you're hitting the putt because they're so fast.
But sometimes you've got to play a foot outside the hole and just know that it either drops or it's right there for a tap‑in.  Because with the way these greens are sloped and where the pins are, it's very easy to have eight feet left after you have a 10‑footer.
So it doesn't‑‑ I think ‑‑ to be honest, I think the most mentally tough players are the ones that play well here.  I wouldn't even consider it a physical part of the game.  I would say that you just can't let your mind go astray for a minute.
That's what happens on extremely difficult golf courses.

Q.  You've been out here, what, a year and a half or so.  Does it feel like a year and a half?  Does it feel like five years, ten years?  How do you take that all in?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Sometimes it feels like a couple of months, and sometimes it feels like five, six years.  I mean, when I look back this year on the players that are playing in the national championship and re‑living my memory of playing there a couple years back, that feels like it was almost yesterday.
But at the same time, when I look back at the Presidents Cup, actually seems like a long time ago and it was a few months ago, and to be able to play in that and be back here again, when you start coming to tournaments over and over, start coming to them a second and third time, that's when it starts to feel like I've been out here a while.
So this week I feel like I've been on tour for a number of years, just because now this is going to be my fourth tournament on this golf course coming back to a college event.  That's a good feeling, I think.

Q.  How much do you think the experience here will help you?  And just in a general way, the quick success you've had, does that in any way surprise you?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I still think ‑‑ obviously there's the majority of players here are more experienced than I am on this course.  But any experience is a good experience.  This golf course, you really need to know where to pick the spots to be aggressive and where not to.  And through the Memorial last year as well as the Presidents Cup, I start seeing the pin locations.
I played it when it's somewhat firm and I've played it when it's extremely soft like the Presidents Cup.  So I can look back on those shots, and I have them written down to know how the ball reacts and how do you get the ball below the hole which is what you need to do out here.  So that will help when I'm out there looking at approach shots.
The speed of the greens, I don't know yet, I haven't been on them.  But that will be important as well.
But, no, I don't know if I'm surprised or‑‑ I don't really look back at where everything's come.  It's cool to be back at a place where I had the memories of the Presidents Cup or hometown tournaments where I had the memories going back years and years.  But it's been a fun journey.  It's been an amazing journey.  I'm living my dream, which is really cool.
I've played a lot of golf over the last couple of years, but I enjoy it and I'm not tired.  I'm not going to be tired.  I'll live for a long time, so I'll keep on playing a lot of tournaments.
And that's what it's all about for me, is getting out here and competing with these guys that I've looked up to for so many years.  That's what's so cool to me.

Q.  What do you think you got from the Presidents Cup in terms of your career?  Was it a degree of acceptance just from everybody else?  You'd obviously won, but, I don't know, it's another level yet?
JORDAN SPIETH:  To be honest, looking back on it, we won as a team, and which is what we all set out to do.  Individually it left a little bit of a tough taste in my mouth.  I got off to a 2‑0 start with Strick, and then I didn't play my best golf those last couple rounds.
This year there's a tournament where I can kind of work towards getting back there to try and get revenge individually.  I had a‑‑ Graham DeLaet made a nice bunker shot on 18 to beat me in the individual match here.  I'd like to get him in a couple of years if I can again.
But, yeah, I mean, I look back at it all positively.  It was just an incredible tournament.  The first tee was just something I won't forget, just like I don't forget the first tee shot at Augusta.  The first tee of the Presidents Cup was really, really fun.  Hit a 3‑wood further than I've ever hit it in my life.
But, yeah, ultimately I'd like to improve individually on the way that I played when I look back on it.

Q.  You mentioned playing a college event here.  What was that event?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It was ‑‑ Ohio State hosted it.  May not have been Ohio State.  It would make sense to be Ohio State.  But I feel like somebody else did.  It was my second‑‑ first or second college tournament I ever played.  So it was that fall of whatever, fall of 2012.

Q.  You played obviously in a lot of different places, junior golf and so forth.  I'm just wondering, when you first stepped on the grounds here, how that compared to a lot of the other places you've been.  Was it more impressive or‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it was definitely more impressive when you step on the grounds here.  The place is incredible.  The facilities, the driving range, the short game.  Just the overall treatment, the locker room.
There's a few places that get close.  This place is one of the very special golf clubs in America.  And I think we all feel that way and everyone's really excited to come here because we know that.  I mean, it's top‑notch.
It's like going to practice at Augusta.  You get incredible facilities and with a pretty special golf course as well.  Very excited once we step on the grounds here, no doubt.  Back in junior golf when we would come to a place like this‑‑ although we did play a lot of really, really cool golf courses.  It's not like at Texas; we were struggling to find good places to play.  We played pretty amazing places.
But coming here was special.  It was one of my first events.  I started to compare other things back to Muirfield Village, and that was hard to do.

Q.  Just wanted to follow up about another special place, two weeks at Pinehurst.  What do you know about it?  Have you been there?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I have not.  I played nine holes with Tom O'Toole yesterday at Inverness in an event that we did.  And so I was able to pick his brain a little bit about it.  Spent a little time with him before.  And he's just telling me what it is.
I guess the fairways are about 35 yards wide and you don't want to miss them because you need to come into the greens out of the fairways.  I've watched‑‑ it was the year before I was really old enough to play in the U.S. Amateur.  I felt I was old enough to play in the U.S. Amateur when it was held there.  I didn't play in that amateur.  Obviously the golf course has been changed significantly from since then.  What I've heard, it's been unanimously raved about.  So I'm very excited.
I like the fact that it's run‑off areas and I like sand.  I feel like playing off sand is an advantage of mine.  And then I think it's going to play a second‑‑ it's going to be a second‑shot golf course, an approach‑shot golf ‑‑ obviously around the greens, like it always is, but controlling your second shot, which is what people talk about Augusta.  So I'm going into it with good vibes and a lot of confidence.

Q.  Do you feel like you're trending, like your game is coming together, moving forward, even though you perform at a very high level?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yes, I think so.  I think the last couple of weeks off of THE PLAYERS, which was another major in my mind, and I went into a couple of weeks that are kind of high intensity for me on and off the course at home with the Byron and the Colonial.  And as those two weeks went on, I think each day I really improved in what I was trying to do.
So coming into here I feel more relaxed getting here on a Tuesday, which is nice.  But I think that it's trending upwards.  Like I had mentioned, like I've already said the whole year, a lot of this year is about trying to peak for the major championships.
Obviously every time you step on a tee you want to win a tournament.  And I believe that I can each week.  With the focus being on the majors.  And that's coming up.  And so we've had a game plan now since Augusta to get ready for the U.S. Open.   And I think it's falling into place nicely.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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