2015 U.S. Open Championship: Final Round

2015 U.S. Open Championship

"I Can't Seem to Wrap My Head Around the Finish of Today"

BETH MAJOR: Good evening and welcome to the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. It is my distinct honor to welcome the 115th U.S. Open champion, Jordan Spieth. Have you had a minute or two for let that sink in yet?

JORDAN SPIETH: Not much, other than being announced that way a couple of times. No, I'm still in shock. It's cliché to say, but I've never experienced a feeling like this. Just kind of total shock. I thought that I had won it on 16, I thought that -- I didn't think I had lost it after 17, but I thought I needed to play 18 well just to play tomorrow. And then after DJ hit his second shot in, I thought, Shoot, I may have lost this tournament. And just utter shock at the finish. It's not easy to get any putt down in two here. I three-putted, I think, nine or ten times this week. With the ridges and the greens firming up and getting faster, it's just tricky. I was in the score stand, I was able to share the moment when it finished with Michael, which is really cool. This is a special place for him, and we're just able to add to his history here at Chambers Bay and our Major Championship history.

BETH MAJOR: Before we open it for questions, a few notes. This is Jordan's third USGA title. He also claimed the 2009 and 2011 USGA Junior Amateur championships. Jordan is the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bob Jones won the 1923 U.S. Open and the youngest to win two career majors since Gene Sarazen in 1922. He becomes the sixth in history to capture the U.S. Open and a Masters tournament in the same year, joining Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, who did it twice, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. And finally of note, Jordan become the first to birdie the 72nd hole to win the championship since Bob Jones did so in 1926. We'll open it to questions.

Q. I guess the first question should be your emotions right now. You've heard all the accomplishments you've made, the history you made right now, what's going through your mind knowing what you've done?
I'm pretty calm. I'm pretty collected. Maybe it's part of just not realizing. I mean, that was very, very much intense there on the back nine, and especially the last three or four holes. 15, 16 and 18 were the best holes -- 15, after the tee shot, and then 16, 18 were the best holes I've played this week. It's amazing. It's incredible. It really is. It's incredible to win a major championship. You only get a few moments in your life like this, and I recognize that. And to have two in one year and to still be early in the year, that's hard to wrap my head around. But sitting here right now I am understanding that this is a special time for me after the conclusion of the round and onward until the next major starts.

Q. The names that Beth just mentioned, could you have imagined that at the start of the year and how did you get to this point?
No. The focus this year was on the majors. The goals were on the majors. They weren't on winning a certain number of times or getting into contention in a major. It was let's find a winning formula in a major. I didn't think that those names would be mentioned like that. That's a piece of golf history, and as a golf historian, that's very special and it gives me goose bumps, it's amazing. And just to think of what our team has been through and how fast we've risen to get on Tour and to contend and win major championships, it's amazing. And it gets better every week with our team. Those names are the greatest that have ever played the game, and I don't consider myself there. But certainly off to, I think, the right start in order to make an impact on the history of the game.

Q. Do you think you were so calm because of what you accomplished two months ago? Did that kind of change the way you were able to handle this? Right now I think Michael is at the flash area having his own press conference, and I was curious your thoughts on his entire week and what this means to him?
Are you talking about now, afterwards or during the round? I certainly was not calm at all. I was running hot. That putt on 15, it was the same idea and the same kind of putt I had on 15 for birdie in Augusta. And the putt on 16, I just said, Let's zero in the way we did there. I had the same kind of focus and the same kind of feeling I had on those. After it went on I was just as excited or more excited. The putt on 16, when it fell, that was about as animated as I've been since maybe throwing a tantrum when I was 13 on the course. That was as animated as I get. And it meant that much to me. I hit the tee shot perfect and all you have to do on the second shot is just get it over the ridge. I left it short and gave an opportunity to have a tough putt and a tough two-putt. To see that one fall and take a 3-up lead with two to play, I thought that was the one. And then I soon talked myself out of that being the one. But I wasn't calm and collected. Michael is the one who just shoved positive thoughts into my head the whole week. We didn't have our best stuff tee to green. I putted the ball well, played the ball well inside 10 feet this week, which is where I struggled with the last couple of tournaments. And certain times I was getting frustrated out there, that maybe it could only be seen between me and Michael. And he deserves a lot of credit this week. That was the best week he ever caddied. To get us this win at such a special place. He could have let all the surrounding noise get to him. And he worked harder this week than he ever has, and it certainly showed and paid off. And so he deserves to be doing interviews. The only problem is I wonder if he's going to give everything away that I said to him and embarrass me. But I think I'll be all right.

Q. You had to grind this week whereas Augusta it seemed like you were rolling. What did you do to keep yourself in it and what did you learn about yourself this week?
It was the 4- or 5-footers for par. The first round I made a couple great 6- to 8-footers for par and I ended up shooting 2-under when it easily could have been two or three over. And that's huge, the first round of the U.S. Open, first and last rounds are the most important rounds, in my mind, because you have to get off to a good start to have enough confidence on the golf course. That's what kept us in it, that and we kept on saying out there, We've done it before, these guys haven't. These guys are going to be more tense than you are, more free rolling, that's what Michael's words were this week. We're free rolling, there's no reason to worry, just go about your game and it will work out. That's what needs to be said out there. That's the way I need to think out there. Again, when I finished I didn't think I'd won, but at least I'd gone about the mental side of it the right way. And that was the difference in the tournament. Dustin obviously played well enough to win if that putt breaks more on the last hole. But that's his -- shooting 5-under is about as good as I could have done on this golf course, I think.

Q. How do you share this with your parents and your siblings?
Yeah, what a special day. Special day. My parents are staying in the house with me this week. To be able to spend some of Father's Day with him ahead of time with my dad, and having my mom here and my brother here, my uncle, we've got cousins and my friends. We've got the whole crew. It's really special. It's really fun. I can feel their energy when I'm out there. I know that -- I was certainly playing for my dad today. I told myself when I woke up, I'm playing for Michael. I'm playing for my dad and I'm playing for Michael, and stay focused on that. Stay focused on trying to shoot 2-under today and you're going to win this tournament. My goal was to get to 6-under. So walking off the 18th green I was a little down and frustrated, but I was still able to share the conclusion of that being the leader in the clubhouse with my parents. And then once it was over and I got to go out and hug my mom, dad, brother again, it was very, very special. And what a great Father's Day.

Q. When did you find out that the 18th hole would play as a par 5 and did that lessen any anxiety or alter your thinking going into the round?
I found out this morning. I woke up and just got on my phone and found out it was a par 5. I wasn't surprised. I didn't think it would be a par-4 two days, after playing it as a par 5 yesterday, because I had no idea where the pin would go if it was going to be a par-4. I didn't think that for an exciting closing hole for a U.S. Open if it were a par-4 to the pin today, I mean, bogey would be probably a good score, 5 would be a good score, just like it was a good score from the back tees. So I found out then. I just knew it was a better driving hole for me if we played it as a par 5. I was able to hit driver and not have to pinch it in as much. And then just well on a 3-wood.

Q. Given how you've played so far this year how can you get better?
There's certainly things that I can improve on from this week. I can strike the ball better than I did this week. I can get more positive. I can improve in all aspects of my game, I believe that. It's just about now looking to St. Andrews and everything prior, how are we going to best prepare for it and how are we just going to fine-tune. It's just fine-tuning, it's nothing major, it's just fine-tuning, and that's what we normally have to do anyways. And there's always a way to get better.

Q. You seem to have a certain comfort level out there. Can you sort of describe that? A lot of players seem to have a lot of consternation about this golf course. And can you describe the tee shot and second shot on 18.
Well, we got over it. Someone had to hold the trophy. And there's obviously noise around. There's noise around every golf tournament about a pin position here or the greens are this or the layout. Someone has to win it. The quicker you realize that and don't worry about it, the easier it is just to move on with your game and that's what we try to do. I felt like we putted well inside 10 feet. I didn't think too much of the layout of the course, it was just, How am I going to attack this next hole to try and make birdie and don't let anything else get into my head. I knew where the pins were going to be, how you feed it in, where you need to miss it to have the best opportunity for par. And par is a good score this week. And that's what's great about a U.S. Open, it's a grind.

Q. The tee shot on 18 and the second shot?
Yeah, I hit a little fade on the tee shot. The wind was down and a little off the right, which is a perfect opportunity for me to try and play a nice, just soft fade. I didn't have to kill it. And if I overdid it, the wind would hit it a little more and it would probably be okay. The only thing I couldn't do is I couldn't pull it, because then you're up in that bunker that I made -- that it would get up into the lip of that first bunker. I struck it right in the middle of the face and just wanted it to land soft. It looked like it did, it looked like it hit softer than most of the other drives, and that was probably a good break. And I got up there and it was right on the upslope, couldn't be more perfect, had a perfect number. 250 front edge, 282 hole adjusted. For my 3-wood that flies typically 265 yards or so, I could just kind of bleed a fade off of it and try to land it on about that number, 15 to 20 onto the green and I shouldn't hit it further than 295, which is about -- 290, which is about the back. It faded off there. I hit it right on the middle of the face and I looked up and it was bleeding right, I just asked for the wind to hold it up just a little bit. And it looked like it did, just on the last second it stayed out of going in that bunker and instead found the rebound and stayed up on the top ledge. In midair I was going to be pleased anywhere on the green. And then with the roar I knew it stayed on the top ledge. I'm sitting there thinking, how in the world did it stay up, but I guess it was just my day.

Q. Coming down the stretch in these big tournaments how much of winning comes down to technique and how much comes down to character?
Probably half and half or even more mentally. I think both have to be there. Your preparation, your mental attitude, you're zeroing in on the target, and then the other half is execution. The execution was good enough that the first part was a hundred percent on. The execution wasn't quite a hundred percent on, but it was enough to where if I missed the shot it would be close and it would be in the right location to make par. And that's all we had to do here. If it were a tournament where 15, 16 under needed to win, I don't think I'm with the trophy right now. But because par is a good score, we mapped out and had the right formula and the right layout and the right preparation, I can be here right now with it.

Q. Do you believe that the most stressful moments on the golf course reveals about who a person is?
Well, you certainly see more emotion come out. Yeah, I think a little bit, yeah, or at least you can then see maybe exactly what it all means to somebody.

Q. I know you don't feel young, and you consider yourself a peer of the other golfers on Tour. What advice would you give the young people that you're fast becoming a role model for, for the young golfer that's coming up that would like to accomplish the same things that you've done as far as how they act and preparation?
For me it was very important that -- I loved playing other sports and I found a great group of guys that I grew up with at a golf course where we pushed each other, but we also had a lot of fun. We would play some holes and then we'd go swimming, then we'd play football in the parking lot and then we'd go back and play some more holes. I'd say find a group of friends with the same interests. If your goals are set to be winning major championships, then you're going to have to push yourself and push each other. I had a great time growing up with these guys at Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas. We were there from sun up to sun down, my years of 10 to 15. And it shaped me into the golfer and into the person I was. My parents shaped me into the person that I am. But in Texas you just learn just be nice to people and respect them and respect where they're coming from and understand people have different backgrounds and opinions, and there's nothing you could do about it. And that's what I've realized to shape I guess who I am. And as far as a golfer, just go have fun with a bunch of buddies.

Q. Last night you were asked about what was at stake and the history, and you really downplayed it, which I think was understandable. In the heat of the battle out there not many people get a chance to do what you were able to do. How much pressure did you feel?
I felt a lot. I felt a lot of pressure today; as much as I felt at Augusta in April. I knew that this would be the second leg and that it would be two majors in a row and I think that that added to a little bit of the pressure versus if I hadn't won the Masters this year I would have experienced more pressure. But if it were a U.S. Open two years removed from winning the Masters, I would have felt less pressure because I would have known I'd done it but it had been a couple of years and I had the winning formula, but I don't have the extra let's get these first two and how crazy is that to win the first two majors of the year, and then the opportunities that present itself the rest of the year. So that certainly was -- I tried to play it off, and I did. But it's on your mind off the course. When I was on the course, sure, a little extra pressure may have kicked in just because I was aware off the course.

Q. Any particular moment stand out?
When I walked off of 15 green, I accidentally glanced at the scoreboard, I didn't mean to, in turning back and watching Branden finish it was up there and I saw that he and I were then tied for the lead and we were two clear. And that's when it hit me like, okay -- because I thought DJ at the time was at 6 or 7-under, I didn't scoreboard watch the whole day. I just heard roars and figured that he was -- I figured I needed to at least get to 6-under before 18. And I looked up and saw it and that's when I started to feel a little extra pressure going to 16.

Q. When Beth read down that list of categories that were a first to you your eyes got a little wider, your jaw dropped a little bit. Some of those, as you said, you knew coming in. Off of that list what were revelations to you, and is it possible to pick one of them as the most meaningful?
I think it's pretty interesting and amazing that I was the first to birdie the 18th hole, which didn't feel like much of a birdie because I missed a relatively makeable putt, but the first to birdie since Bobby Jones did way back when. I think that's right.

BETH MAJOR: That's right. '26.

JORDAN SPIETH: But to birdie to win, to have that be the deciding hole, that was an amazing stat to me. Maybe that's bad of me because of the rest of them were so incredible as well. But that's what shocked me. The rest of them I was more aware of the list and the history I was joining.

Q. After the excitement of 16 what happened on 17? Was that a mental lapse?
No, I had a good number, I had a good number, it was a perfect 6-iron, just put a good swing on it, the wind is going to draw it. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity on those last two holes walking to 17 tee box, I knew it. I set up and I just hit -- just poor execution. That's as far off line as I've hit a 6-iron in a long time. That was a really bad shot. In midair I was like, That might go out of bounds. And luckily the pin was on the left today. If it were on the right side and I pushed it like that it may have. It was just bad execution. I just didn't square the club face up. I don't really know why or what happened, but that was not the place to miss it. I did what I could on that second shot, it was as good a second shot as I could have hit and just didn't get the job done on the next couple of putts.

Q. What emotions were tossing inside you as you watched another guy stand over the putt to win this championship? What words did you have for DJ, and do you feel for a fellow competitor who finishes like that?
Yeah, I didn't enjoy not being able to control it. Sitting with Michael watching -- I was in the scorer's tent and watched DJ's second shot from there funnel up there. And, gosh, give me a break, you know, like DJ finds that -- he has to split the small fairway and he is just pounding his driver all week, he has mid iron into the green and he hits it right up onto the shelf. I'm thinking maybe I'll catch a break and it will be below the ridge and he's got a two-putt and we can go to tomorrow. And instead he just hit two phenomenal golf shots. It was tough watching him. Jason was finishing and I was like, Michael, when is DJ going to hit this putt? Hurry up, I'm getting anxious here. Watching, just it building up. I was probably more nervous then than I was on the course at any point, even though it was certainly nerve-wracking. But he hit the putt and with about 3 feet to go in the putt I knew it was going to slide by. I just figured that it would slide a foot or two by like Jason's, but it just kept moving. I don't really know what to say on the second one. It looked like he hit a decent putt. It's all kind of a blur. He very well could have hit a good putt and it could have bounced or it just took a break that it didn't going by. I very much feel for him. He's a great champion. He's certainly proven that he closes tournaments out. This was just an odd deal, very odd. I very much feel for Dustin. He deserves to be holding the trophy just as much as I do, I think, this week. It just came down to him being the last one to finish and I was able to have one hole to rebound from my mistakes, and he wasn't able to get that hole afterwards. Still, what a clutch finish he had after I think making a bogey or two or double earlier in the round to come through on 17 and just hit it to -- I think it was within 5 feet from what I saw or heard. That's an incredible golf shot knowing that you have to go birdie, birdie. And he pulled it off. And he's a great champion and it was tough, I certainly felt for him.

Q. First of all, historical note, don't feel bad, Jones two-putted for his birdie, too, at Scioto. Obviously you know much about history, if I say the word St. Andrews to you, what comes to mind immediately?
The home of golf. I've played one round on St. Andrews, and it was when we were playing in the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen and we went as a team to visit St. Andrews first, we played St. Andrews and Kingsbarns before going to Aberdeen. I remember walking around the clubhouse. It's one of my favorite places in the world. I remember walking around The R&A clubhouse and seeing paintings of royalty playing golf, and it was dated 14-whatever, 1460-something. I'm thinking, our country was discovered in 1492 and they were playing golf here before anyone even knew that the Americas existed. And that really amazed me and helped me realize exactly how special that place is. And that's what comes to mind.

Q. You've mentioned a few times about a winning formula that you feel you have for major championships and other tournaments. What kind of ingredients go into that?
I can't give my secrets away. That wouldn't be right. No, it's a feeling. It's a mental attitude. It's a certain focus. It's a certain preparation. But I'd rather not get into it.

Q. I'm curious, now that you have won the U.S. Open which Major Championship means the most to you?
I don't know. I don't know. They're both special for very much different reasons. It's going to be hard to answer that question. And this one, like I said, I'm in shock, and it hasn't sunk in yet. I said I'd be able to give you an answer if I was sitting here, that was just for me to avoid the question, because I truly don't know (laughter).

Q. This is one of those terrible hypothetical questions. I just keep going over in my mind how much the story changes, your story and the story of the rest of the summer if Dustin makes that eagle. What happens if he makes that eagle?
Yeah, that started to go through my head as I was sitting there watching. How am I going to react now, what do I say, how am I going to feel when I had it in my hands and just a normal 6-iron from taking it home? I'm not sure. I mean, it wouldn't have changed much about how I felt about myself or my confidence or my game. It just was a poorly executed shot when I didn't feel like I had a great swing to go to. But it would have definitely stung. It would have stung a lot because it was mine. It was mine to lose and mine to win on those last two holes. I controlled the destiny then. And it wasn't that hard to control it either, because all you've got to do is play the last two on even par and the one is a par 5 and the other is a standard 6-iron to the easiest pin of the week on that hole. So it would have been tough to swallow.

Q. Back to St. Andrews, when do you plan to go to Scotland? Do you plan to go earlier than what you previously planned? Might you consider the Scottish Open? And in general the calendar year Grand Slam, is that something that you think is realistically possible for you?
I plan to go there on a charter, the way I've done the last two years after the John Deere, that's the plan. So I won't be there as early as I was for this major, but that's the same time I got in for the Masters, so I don't think I have to be in early this year. I got in late Sunday night to Augusta. I think it's in the realm of possibility. I think that the Grand Slam, I think that -- I'm just focused on the Claret Jug now. I think that the Grand Slam is something that I never could really fathom somebody doing, considering I watched Tiger win when he was winning whatever percentage of the majors he played in and he won the Tiger Slam, but he never won the four in one year. And I figured if anybody was going to do it, it would be him, which he still can. I think we'll just use that secret formula and see if we can maybe have on weeks these next two weeks -- the two weeks that the majors are held. This was somewhat of a British-style golf course, so are the next two majors. I've proven to myself that I can win on a British-style golf course now. Now I take it to the truest British-style golf course of any in the world. And I'm just excited for the opportunity coming then, and I'm not going to think about what could possibly happen after.

BETH MAJOR: Again, congratulations to our 2015 U.S. Open champion. Jordan, thank you so much for being so generous with your time this week. Great job.