THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome the 2015 TOUR Championship winner and the FedExCup winner, Jordan Spieth, to the interview room. Congratulations. Obviously, just an exclamation point on what was a fantastic season. If you could start by talking about today's round and then winning this great event.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, today's round was -- I wanted to shoot a few under. I wanted to -- I figured with little -- with no more rain and soft greens and a little quicker greens, that the scores would be lower. So I thought I needed to shoot a few under in order to get out there. We got out of the gates nicely.
The nice par save on 1 and then a birdie on 2, which is a really hard hole today.
Good start, tough little -- middle of the round, a couple bad decisions, trying to be -- trying to do a little bit too much which is normally what gets me in trouble.
But at that moment Michael kept me in it. When we were talking off 7 tee box, he said all right, there's no more talking about anything that just happened. You're still in the lead, we're still going forward, and you're still going to win this thing. I don't want to hear one more thing about what happened earlier in this round. And it was key.
I said you know what, you're right, Mike. And we got off to number 8, 9 and 11, were key. Eleven was a dagger. At that point, I had a putt to take a three-shot lead through 10 holes, one that I made this whole week, an easy up-and-down after I shouldn't have even had to get up-and-down.
So he knew I was frustrated. I was in a tough location on that green on 11 and he stuffed it in there. And could have very easily walked off the 11th green tied for the lead and instead, maintained a two-shot lead.
That's huge, with those holes to go. Henrik made a couple more mistakes and I just stayed as consistent as possible.
Again, I didn't feel comfortable striking the ball whatsoever, today or this week. I didn't have a go-to shot. I was -- my swing thought was just, try and align correctly, load a little bit and try and shorten your swing, so that it will come off going around where you want it to go.
It was amazing that we competed with the way I felt over the ball. But my short game was phenomenal this week. We worked a lot on it from Monday morning on out here on this Bermuda, getting ready for any kind of position.
And some of the up-and-downs we had at the end of the day today on 15 and 16, were just ones that -- in that position it makes it even harder. We played the smart shot, struck them the right way, and hit good solid putts. It was incredible. The walk up 18 was nice. That moment, after I hit the tee shot on 17, I knew it was over.
THE MODERATOR: Take some questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about your putting today. It seemed just incredible and a lot of great par saves as well on top of 9 and 11, the big putt that you just talked about.
Yeah, it was this whole week, really. Round one, I was trying to get into a bit of a rhythm, putted pretty good. Round two was great putting. Round three was pretty good again and then great at the very end to gain some momentum into today's round. And then starting on No. 2 was a big putt for me. It's a pretty easy birdie putt, but it's still one in that moment where it's a big one to see go in. Because you want to see one go in early. You know that the hole's there, you know that your stroke's there. And I thought it was a one of the biggest putts of the day.
But the par saves coming in were huge. I wish that I didn't make this stuff as hard as I do on myself. As I do -- even Augusta this year, 16, all I've got to do is hit the middle of the green. And I pull it to where it's the toughest location to get up-and-down. We happened to make the putt. Eighteen, missed the green -- it's, it should be so much easier than it is. And that's what I was saying, walking down to 16 green, it's a stock 8-iron, just hit the left side of the green and 2-putt. I said, Michael why can't I ever just make this easier on myself? And he said don't worry about it, you'll knock it on there, you'll make the putt. You made the putts the last few holes, they're going in. I had a lot of confidence rolling the putter.
Big change I made this week was, I started using the line on the ball to a line the ball up on putts that were non-feel based. So, shorter length putts and ones that weren't breaking a ton, because I felt like my alignment with my putter was a bit off. And it was. It was huge. I almost always miss these downhill left-to-righters low. Almost always miss them right because I just keep adjusting my alignment.
What this line did was, it allowed for me to find a good spot right in front of the ball where I can look at to roll it over. And it allowed me for my putter to be aligned where I wanted to be before I took the stroke. And it was key. I made a lot of putts throughout the week that were left-to-right that I miss a lot of the time and were able to make with that little bit of an adjustment to give me just that much confidence.
Q. Earlier this week you said starting Monday, you were working on your game. In addition to the short game, you said you worked on your mental game. How does one work on your mental game?
Taking situations from the previous weeks, dissecting them, figuring out what went right, what went wrong. When I went on good stretches. When I didn't bounce back from a bogey or when I made a couple birdies and then made a couple bogeys right after. Trying to understand what mistakes I made in my game decision-wise and that is strictly the mental part of the game. It's the decisions that you make.
I made some poor decisions earlier in the playoff stretch because mentally I wasn't in shape, meaning I was approaching this No. 1 in the World Ranking, the end of the Major season, these expectations, I was managing them like a sprint instead of looking at it as, like I said earlier, a 20, hopefully 25-year, type of flip-flop that we could have with these great young stars of the game that when they're at their best can beat everybody else.
So, I sat back and did a lot of thinking, did a lot of talking with Cameron and Michael to try and figure out how to approach this week to not worry about any of that stuff. And if we get the lead, who cares about what other implications will come about, other than how to get this trophy right here (Indicating).
And that's how we did it the whole year. Was, how do we get that one trophy at hand and not worry about anything else. And for whatever reason, everything else was slipping into my head for a couple of those weeks. So I worked on just trying to manage that.
Q. Could you talk about the preparation that you and Michael put in, it's been key in the Major, it was key this week. Was there anything -- from what you have seen, the level of preparation you guys have, could you compare it to the other players you've seen? And without giving away a state secret, was there anything maybe you guys did this week that you think maybe most other guys didn't do?
Compared to most other guys, they weren't out there on Monday, or weren't out there Monday morning. I think it's important for getting to know a golf course, especially as you change grass types, change weather conditions, whatever it may be. Danny Lee was out here, a few others were out here on that Monday afternoon, but I think we were the first ones.
I think that going to Chambers Bay, I went in Saturday and was there the Saturday before just to get enough time on that -- when you change grass types from what you're normally seeing -- now I love this Bermuda, but we don't normally see it on TOUR this time of year. We see it earlier in the year.
It takes a bit of an adjustment to figure out speed control, grain, how to judge your shots around the greens. It was mainly short game work and then getting my body right, my trainer was here. Damon was here from Monday on. And Troy was here. And then Cameron in order to try and get my swing where we wanted it to be. And it was early in the week and I just kind of -- in the conditions, started to adjust and just try and punch shots and when it's raining and windy, it's hard to keep the same swing that have you when it's calm.
So, we were -- I don't know, I can't speak compared to other players. But I will say that I noticed that it was very, very lonely out here on that Monday, which was kind of nice.
Q. Couple real quick, Jordan. You said yesterday you didn't need to win to validate your season, but it looked like you played that way. Looked like you were determined not to let this finish any other way.
Well, that was just to not let this tournament get away. I wasn't thinking about the FedExCup. And when I said I didn't need it to validate, I meant win the FedExCup. Now I guess with that being said, this -- obviously, this tournament, but when you're in the lead in any tournament, if you hold the 54-hole lead, you're the one expected to win.
And so when you're out there, it's a grind. If things aren't going the right way, you know that you're the one that had the ability to control his own outcome and it's frustrating when it's not going the way you want it to go.
Now, it normally never goes perfectly, but, yeah, I was -- it surprised me a bit how emotional and, I guess, loud in my head I was this week in reaction to good and bad. When it seemed like as we were in this groove throughout the year, it was just kind of a nice calming, you know, when it got to big moments there was some emotion that came out. But there was emotion more than I was used to and I was surprised at it this week. It just was natural, I guess.
Q. What are you most proud of this year?
What am I most proud of this year? The Green Jacket. That was, as far as on-course performance, what am I most proud of? Was the Masters win. That was one that you grow up every single day going out to your practice green with your buddies saying, you have the last putt in the putting contest, it's all tied up, this is to win the Masters. That's, that was the saying. And so --
Q. How many times did you make that putt?
I don't know. I made it a lot, I missed it a lot. And fortunately, I was able to miss it this year and still tap it on in.
Q. You earned a lot of money today. What does the money mean to you?
It means a lot to me. It's -- like I said, I think I mentioned it to you guys before, I don't know why they decided to pay us a lot more at the end of the season, whatever, six, seven years ago, but we're certainly happy about it. What it allows me to do is, it allows me to now even more so, take care of the people that have given me this position and allowed this to happen. Like I always say, it is a team effort. A lot of behind the scenes work goes in when we're at home, when we're in the early stages and on course here. The bonus that comes with the FedExCup Championship trophy allows me to now take care of even more so, our team and to keep them wanting to come back to me.
Q. If you can think to way back to when you were a kid, was there anything you saved up for or any kind of special something that you wanted that you needed to do chores for, get allowance or make some money to get?
Yeah, I think that maybe, I can maybe remember back to getting like a Razor scooter or something like that. Those things. Yeah. I can't really remember as far as going that far back, but yeah I could probably get a few Razor scooters now. (Laughter.) Danzi will probably tell me not to get on one because I'll probably hurt myself. But I think, if I remember right, they were like a little over a hundred dollars or something. And I think it was trying to save up, count down to Christmas to get some, you know, 20 dollars, 40 dollars here, and be able to buy a scooter.
Q. Many congratulations. In a year of so many highs, what is this one victory here at East Lake specifically mean to you?
I think of East Lake as one of the best golf courses we play all year. So it's really incredible to get a victory on a couple of -- well, one of the greatest course in the world and then another one of the greatest courses that we play all season.
We won on some awesome tracks this year, some beautiful places. You have to conquer the golf course first and foremost. You have to conquer yourself, your own emotions, you have to win the mental battle with yourself. That's what Michael told me we did this week. When we were going to 18 tee box, he said, you did this with your head this week. Because he knew that I wasn't comfortable over the ball. He knew that even trying to play the safe shot sometimes didn't work for me. But we kept our head in it and that's what we didn't have earlier.
So, in answering your question, what this means for me this week is it's validation to the year. It's validation to these playoffs, and how can you go through the lows of a season so quickly after you're so high. People can give up on you easily. And to not care about that, to worry about our own stuff, and to come into the brightest stages and perform is going to give me a lot of confidence going forward because there's going to be ups and there's going to be downs, I know it.
But to be able to bounce back this quickly from the low in my season is really cool.
Q. Similarly, how would you kind of summarize this season? And secondly, where does this week rank or fit in with respect to that, particularly when you talked about the beginning of the playoffs, how it really just all comes down to Atlanta. So in some way that kind of applies a little bit of pressure?
Summarize the season? It's hard for me to compare it to anybody's past seasons. It's the greatest season I've ever had, obviously. But it's one where I believe I -- we took our game on course and off course to a level that I didn't think would be possible at different times in my life.
I believed that we could get to this position where we're at right now. But there's plenty of times where you feel so poorly with the putter or you're not hitting any fairways with the driver, or you sit back and think how in the world does somebody do this.
Then you kind of get into some momentum, you get into a groove, and it happens. And that's what this season did, is it proved that we can maintain that high level throughout the year, even when a couple weeks get off, you can get it back quickly. I know that we can play at this level, even with our -- when we don't have our best stuff.
And it gives me a lot of confidence going forward for the next 20 years. To know that if I remain healthy, that even when things are poor, we can get back to this level quickly and that's what we showed in the playoffs, that now we can take in the future.
Because before that the lowest point I think in my season would have been THE PLAYERS after the matters win and all the other stuff the potential of becoming No. 1 and missing the cut and Rory winning twice, to come back and then go from the U.S. Open all on through the rest of the year and now be here. We bounced back so much better than we ever have in the past.
Q. Michael talked earlier about the 10 million dollars being the elephant in the room, the thing that nobody really wants to talk about. What's the difference between playing for history like you do at Augusta National and the Masters and playing for this large, large sum of money?
Well, the Masters isn't a small sum of money either. (Laughter.)
But, yeah, I mean, again, if you just think of it as a bonus to the year, you don't think about the difference in first and second, you just think of I like the fact that this week we controlled our own destiny. That I didn't have to think about situations, I could just think about trying to win. It allowed me to forget about this (Indicating) and worry about this (Indicating). Sure, yeah, I mean that's, it's definitely the elephant in the room, I guess, but it wasn't on May mind today. It really wasn't. I knew that the people that I was competing against, if they won, they got it. And so in my mind that made it easier for me to just focus on this (Indicating). Which in turn is what I think you want to have in a position we were in today.
So, the difference between this and the Masters, not much on course. Obviously, before and after, they're very different. But on course, they felt the same.
Q. Five wins in a year, very rare these days. Two players doing it.
Didn't somebody else just do it last week?
Q. Well, two players doing it in the same year is even rarer, it's been a long time since that happened. Could you just speak to winning the five times, but also in a year when there's been a lot of other high level play, Jason, Rory, Rickie, sort of the state of the game right now.
I think it's in as great a state as it's been in a while. I think that people, from my perspective, it seems that fans and I could tell a bit of a difference, they just seem more excited, you can see and it just seems to be having a bit more of an impact in this year than maybe the last couple years.
Rory's season last year was one of the greatest seasons that's been had. So, there's certainly nothing taken away from that. But the fact that there's been such a high level from numerous guys, it's cool. We push each other. Jason or Rory said something about how he thinks that the state of golf right now has been raised to a higher level and it's motivating. Jason said it, too, earlier in the season. I said it earlier this week, about how Jason's been playing and what's been happening. When we recognize what these other guys are doing and the potential runs that they can go on, it really does push us, because none of us want to lose to the other. We all want to beat the crud out of each other. We want to beat each other down. We respect each other and we respect each other's games, everyone seems to be of the people you mentioned we all seem to be friends, we all seem to be in good spirits together, and good people, not to speak of myself, but I'm saying very approachable guys.
And I think that's very important for golf. Because I think for us the PGA TOUR stands for a lot of very important values and I think that we have a great example set by the TOUR and what they do giving back and what they the impression they want to leave and I think that that's kind of working its way into us.
Q. Congrats for this win and this season. If we come back on this day, where do you think you broke Stenson's legs on the course?
Yeah, yeah. I read the putt for quite awhile, I knew what it was going to do, but my speed control was a bit off to start the round. Short on 3, and then ripped it by on 6. Yesterday I was leaving them a little short in the rain. They sped up a bit -- and then 7 was poor speed control as well.
So to get the putt on 11 read perfectly and then to hit it with the right speed, I went from potentially having a three shot lead going to 11 to missing a short putt then I hit an average shot in there and Henrik hits a great shot. Looks like it's going to swing and I think that that cut kind of the knees out, the legs out from under him with that putt going in. It was a sign of who Henrik is and how he reacted, too. I thought it was cool. I mean for him to come over and give me a fist bump and Lordy his caddie, to do the same, you know, again it shows to what I was speaking earlier about, I think the state of the game. We all can be amazed by each other at times, that putt, there's a lot of luck that went into it, Henrik knows it. But he still accepted it, he smiled, he didn't get upset about it, he just was like, you know what, I'm going to make this on top of you and I'm still in this game.
That's cool. It's cool to be in the heat of the moment there, it's almost like there's nobody else, nothing else around extent for us two competing there. And in that kind of a hole. I thought it was awesome, but you know if I was on the other side of it wouldn't have been as cool.
Q. Last week both Colin Swatton and Jason Day told me that you joked congratulations on getting to world No. 1, but I'm coming for you next week. You've done that, can you speak to that about getting it back so quickly and obviously staying there for awhile?
Yeah, again this is something I think that will continue to flip-flop. I think it would be a cool matchup if I was able to play Jason in a couple weeks time. I think it would be fun. Yeah, I mean, I remember I saw Colin in the locker room after they won, I didn't see Jason right after, I saw him this week, but I told Colin, you know, congrats on No. 1, it's obviously well deserved, and what you guys did that past week was insane. Next week I'm coming for you. You know, that was just get myself psyched up.
And he said, all right, I know you are. That's what Colin said back. And it's just something that I think will continue and I often say a lot of things and only a couple times it actually pans out, so it makes me look kind of good in that scenario. But I talk a lot so every once in awhile I'll hit one, I'll hit the nail on the head.
THE MODERATOR: Jordan, congratulations.
JORDAN SPIETH: Thank you.