ALEX URBAN: All right. We would like to welcome the 2016 winner of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Jordan Spieth. Jordan, you said you wanted to get to 30-under. You found yourself on that number. Talk about today, you're also the first person to become eligible for this tournament next year. Talk about your day today and your spectacular play this week.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah. We came out and did what we needed to do. It's one thing to be in that position after yesterday, it's another to actually kick out the demons, saying, if you don't win this one tomorrow, it's going to look really bad, after blowing a five shot lead. But it's a possibility.
In golf you get a couple bad breaks, shoot even par or 2-under, someone shoots 8-under. It's possible on this course. So that all comes to mind and you got to flush it out and get into a rhythm.
No. 1 was just a huge hole for me. That got the whole day started. I should not have made par from where I was there. To gain a stroke back on Brooks there, too, when it looked like it was going to go the other way.
And then the birdie on 2. Playing those two holes 1-under put me into a nice place. And I knew that that was the meat of the golf course and we were going to have some wedges coming up.
And ultimately holes 9 through really 15, were just exactly what we needed. I guess Patrick dropped a shot somewhere.
And I was peaking at the boards here and there but knew that if we stuck to our goal of getting six, we bounced back from trying to get four to trying to get six. Ultimately I wanted to get to 30-under. It was just a great back nine.
ALEX URBAN: We'll open it up for some questions.
Q. Did anything about this week surprise you?
I didn't think I would shoot 30-under. So that part surprised me. I figured winds would be up, greens would be quicker, where if you short sided you're in a bit more trouble. And those six foot downhill sliders are significantly harder. I think they had to protect against winds that they weren't expecting. It just never came. So it was just a perfect four days to play golf.
So, after playing practice rounds, I thought it would be somewhere around 20-under, 21-under, which is what it's been in the past. I didn't think I would get that low, especially the first week of the year.
Q. Couple irons off the tees there in the middle of the back nine. Wondering, obviously you did want to shoot 30-under, but were you also playing a little safe to just make sure that let's get the win and then we'll see?
Yeah. I wanted to hit driver on 13, just because it was the play and it's straight down wind, it's not a hard tee shot. I was talked out of it by Michael. I ended up just roping a 4-iron. Just absolutely flushing one, which I didn't mean to do, it ended up in actually a tough spot.
At that point with a five shot lead, yeah, you're just going to go ahead and protect the lead. You want to stick to your goal, but you got to be smart. You just protect against double bogey and make sure it doesn't happen, and that's what we were able to do.
It was really big to get the 2-putts on 11, 12 and 13 and 14, honestly. I mean, just, you like to be in the mid-range zone where you can, if you miss it, tap in. So it wasn't nice having anywhere from 30 to 45 feet on all those holes, but those 2-putts were big and they were not easy necessarily.
Q. What are you most proud of this week?
Getting the win.
Q. Can you expand on that?
What am I most proud of? I'm proud that in this off season and really taking quite a bit of time off during that off season, the limited off season, our game seemed to be rounded into form. It was -- my swing is close enough, my start lines are good, I don't have unbelievable ball control but that's very rarely happens. Those are only on great days.
I'm still working on a couple things that we're trying to work on. Still trying -- I'm not just taking it back and through. I've still got feelings in my swing throughout the week that I had. So we'll continue to work on it.
But my putter felt great which is huge to start your first tournament back and not really feel like you have to work much on putting, other than getting the speed down.
We putted the ball great. Only missed a couple putts inside of really like 12 feet. Only missed a couple of them that I can think of. And that's, and to make quite a few more outside of that, that's nice.
Q. Jordan, was there any point today where you were worried at all on anybody coming to get you?
Yeah. I wasn't pleased after No. 5. That car ride from 5 to 6 tee box I was slapping myself with my glove. Just, I knew Patrick was at least 3-under at that point, Brooks had now gone and made three straight birdies, and I just felt like I had threw two and a half shots away on 3, 4 and 5 with where I was positioned. That's just -- if you just throw one away and you make the short one on 3 or you just 2-putt 5, whatever, I mean it's big there. You don't want to give anybody up there -- you don't want to give Patrick ahead of us hope and that's what I felt like I did at that time. But then the drive, the birdie on 6 was huge.
Q. You were asked this outside, but can you expand on the comparisons to Tiger Woods? Clearly it's not something, I don't want to say you're not comfortable with, but it's not something you believe in, I guess?
I just think it's premature, but I'll say that probably my entire career. There's just such an age gap that I understand there's comparisons are going to be there. I hope they continue to be there, that means I'm still being in the same ballpark as he is.
But at the same time I grew up watching. I know what he did and what -- I just find it hard to believe that it can be matched. I know we're in a position now where we're actually maybe ahead of the curve age-wise. But, boy, it would be hard to believe I could be compared to him the entire course of a career. I hope that's the case, but I'm certainly going to strive for it. But what he has done for the game of golf is something special and I just don't feel I deserve to necessarily be compared to him right now, but maybe I do. I don't know. Personally I don't think so.
Q. Put you on the spot. I don't know how well you know his career, but are there any things about some of his numbers that really stood out for you?
There was one I saw not too long ago. It was either before the age of 26 or 27 he had what was it? It was --
26, 26 wins? Before a certain age. It was like -- I don't know the number, I just thought about it, it was like, that's absolutely crazy. And he just went through a streak there where he won 10 times a few years, 10 times a few different times and years that were close to each other, somewhere in that early 2000s range. And then 2005, 2006 I think he went and won a ton of times again.
Yeah, we set goals as a team that we want to accomplish each year win-wise, for amount of wins. It's nice to get the first one in the calendar year. The first one we play in and I think if we continue on just focusing on our own goals then we can maybe stay on the path.
But again, the focus is always on the Major Championships and what he and Jack have done, it's very difficult to fathom that being possible. But I've got enough chances, you know. Hopefully we get about 80 chances. That's not right. Yeah, it might be right. More that than that, right? More than that. Carry the one.
Q. There's been media and also some players that have suggested that it would be hard for you to have a 2016 like 2015. Is this the best response you've got?
Yeah. Yeah. Do the talking with your clubs. Michael said on 18 fairway, he said, man, just way to make a statement. I thought that was cool. I mean, it's not what I'm going for, it's not why I do what I do. But I don't do it to talk back to any the players or people that believe that it's not possible or he got a lucky year or something. Everyone has their opinions, it's their right. But I still think it's going to be very difficult to have a year like last year.
Q. Did Michael say that before or after you fatted --
Right before. Right before.
(Laughter.) It was a great lay up. I had a nice little sand wedge in and made birdie. I made birdie, didn't I?
Q. Yeah. You did.
Okay. Made birdie.
Q. Nice statement.
It was not clean. It's not an easy shot.
Q. That shot notwithstanding and going back to what you said about putting. How close do you feel like you are to your level of play that you had last year?
My putting feels -- I would rank it, if I compared it to last year's events, probably third, behind TOUR Championship and Masters. Masters being first, TOUR Championship being second, and I would consider this, in a span of a year's time from this time, that it is my third best I've putted or felt also putting. And the results I believe were probably similar along the lines of the other two events, yeah. It feels good.
Q. Along those lines, how close do you feel your game is overall just getting back to that level or exceeding it?
I scored -- it's -- I don't think it's right for me to sit here and say that I felt like parts of my game wasn't quite ready because 30-under is, you know, spectacular, I'm very pleased with that. I don't know how I really could have scored better this week.
I kept the ball in play every hole. Had chances almost every hole for birdie. I got a lot of them to go.
My putting feels like it is 100 percent ready for Major Championships, and I've just got to just dial in everything else just a little bit more.
But I can sit here and say that my putting certainly is ready for Masters to be next week. It's a really good feeling to have that confidence with the flat stick.
Q. You made it look relatively easy for four days. But after a three week break, how much of a grind was it out there to stay on top, not wire-to-wire but for most of the week really?
A bit of a grind. You just kind of wonder where is that rusty shot going to come out. Where is that one errant -- like No. 1 I'm sitting in the fairway today, I've got to hit 3-iron into this green and you can't make the mistake of going right on the first hole of the round and make bogey or double bogey. All of a sudden you've let everyone else back in.
So certain times during the tournament you sit there and wonder -- because I can hit those long irons right, I'm capable of hitting a long iron to the right when it's not wanted.
So there are a few times where I overcorrected maybe with just a little bit of lack of repetitions, leading up to this week. But as a whole, I would say that was the one or two percent. Everything else, it was a grind, but I wasn't thinking too hard about it.
Q. Was there a point on the back nine where you felt like you really locked it up?
The birdie on 10 was huge. You said on the back nine, there's the first hole. But I thought -- I looked at the board on 9 and I don't think I saw another one. I heard a murmur in front of us, so I knew Patrick wasn't making birdies on I think 11, 12, 13, he may have birdied one of those. But I saw the board on somewhere. I knew it on 13 or 14. Somewhere in there. And -- oh, it was the board right on 13 green. So I 2-putted there and I knew I had a five shot lead at the time. And that was going to be, as long as I'm keeping the ball in play the last few holes, I knew I had locked that one up. I could hit 4-iron off the next tee, hit a wedge in. The tee shot on 15 sealed the deal. That's the last chance of something going wrong.
Q. And no Eddie DeVane in the field, of course.
Q. With your statement today come more expectations about another blockbuster year ahead of you. I'm curious how much you felt expectations like this build up after the Masters, after the U.S. Open, into The Open Championship, and how you learned to cope with it.
Certainly did. Expectations after the Masters, definitely more so off the U.S. Open. Obviously there was the questions about the slam. And it will still be there. It's the target on my back. It's just what comes with what I love to do, I guess. I guess accepting that is the first step. Just accepting that everything's in the spotlight, everything's going to be judged. Some people aren't going to like your swing, the way you grip the club, it's just everything's under a microscope to, at least in the golf world, and now extending outwards. I guess accepting that and realizing accepting that everyone has their own opinions and, warranted or not. I struggle a bit with social media. Trying to quiet the noise there, just people that just want to make comments that -- so I've just gone away from looking at any comments on Instagram, Twitter. People just want to say stuff just to say stuff. You guys see it everywhere. That's the hardest part for us now is actually social media. Expectations via you guys or?
Q. (No microphone.)
Well, not it's not, it the Joe Schmo, Joe Montana, sitting on their couch in whatever.
Q. It's the comments you're talking about?
Yeah, you know, it's just, that's just something that you have to learn to block out. I think just accepting that everyone's just going to say something, we just go about our own business, that's what we did last year, we just tried to stay real quiet about everything, just keep everything within our team, our goals, what the plan was for the weeks, that's how we did it. This year? Yeah, I mean, I have as high expectations as anybody else. So, if I'm not reaching my own, I'm going to be upset with myself. I'm not going to let other people's expectations take the best of me.
Q. You're heading overseas here to play a couple events and you're coming back to play Pebble Beach and then I guess Doral. Do you know your exact schedule leading up to the Masters?
I do. I don't -- I'm not sure if I'm supposed to or allowed to voice that right now. But I'll be back at Pebble Beach and I'll be at L.A. and I'll be back to Tampa.
Q. And Kapalua next year?
I'll be here next year. I got to find some -- I got to buy you some shirts when we're here.
(Laughter.) You bring up Eddie DeVane, you just started a war.
ALEX URBAN: Congratulations to our 2016 Tournament of Champions winner, Jordan Spieth.
JORDAN SPIETH: All right. Thank you.