THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Jordan Spieth to the interview room. Birdied the last to take a one-shot lead heading into tomorrow. How do you assess the day and game plan moving forward.
JORDAN SPIETH: It was a fantastic day. Two-under in these conditions. I couldn't even reach No. 5 in two, and I hit two good shots. That hole was -- I was talking with Henrik walking to 6 tee, I said that was -- that was not the right setup and I say that was a very dumb hole today. He goes, dumber than 18 at Chambers Bay as a par-4? And I said yes. I believe so. I mean, there was no chance.
So, kept myself in the round at the beginning of the round. Up-and-down on 5 and 8 were the keys to the day today. Those were both challenging, and I could have easily been 3-over through 7 holes -- or through 8 holes. So, to turn that back around and be even par at the turn was huge. Big momentum shift there with a putt on 8 and 9.
Then I had a lot of good chances throughout the back nine there. I had good looks on really 11, 12, 13, 14, and just -- I was getting frustrated. I just didn't -- just wasn't matching the line and speed and then finally on 15 knocked it in, 16, and then good 2-putt and I made the putt on the last.
So, yeah, I would have taken even par when the day started and so to finish a couple under was fantastic, given what we were through eight holes.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. When you spoke about getting a little frustrated on the back, you talked about the importance of patience. In conditions like this, is it easier to be patient or more difficult?
Doesn't make much of a difference because it's harder because the course is harder, but it's easier because you know it's harder for everyone else. So, it was a different kind of frustration than what I've had, because I was putting myself in the right positions. I was finally striking the ball, giving myself good looks for birdie. I know my putting's where I want it to be. I made everything on the practice green before the round on No. 1, the practice green before No. 1. I felt so great starting out. I missed the one on No. 1 and just didn't find the matching line and speed on those mid-ranger until the end of the round. So it was a different kind of frustration. It was one where I'm finally hitting it where I need to be, I don't have to struggle to get up-and-down every where, now I need to capitalize.
We still had patience even though it was frustrating not matching the line and speed. But we played a good, smart round today. I'm very pleased with where we stand going into tomorrow, and Henrik's going to come back very strong. This was his off day and so I'm going to have to play even better.
Q. Can you talk about those two putts on 16 and 18. How important they were? And also, did it have a match play feel today even though it's Saturday between you and Henrik?
Sixteen and 18 were great. Sixteen was a bit of a slight double breaker, mainly broke right-to-left. Just kind of have to cast it out with the right speed and hopefully it takes the right amount of break. I visualize where I think it needs to go and it happened to do just that. I was aggressive enough on it when I had left a few short. But still watching out for that speed past the hole, because three feet past and some sideways rain on these slippery greens, it's no fun. So that's why you saw us a little tentative for most of the round. Sixteen I was able to find the speed.
Eighteen was a nice -- another just a feeder, but it's a putt I love. It reminded me a lot when I was reading it of the putt I had on Saturday of 18 of the PGA. It was a very similar putt. Similar position, where I know I really wanted the putt. I felt very comfortable with it, comfortable with the speed, and with a few feet to go it was right where I wanted it to be. So, can take a lot of momentum from that.
As far as match play, that wasn't in my head at all. This is a golf course -- when it's a tough course that you can score if you're striking it well, this is a type of course where you can make up four shots. It's an easier chance to make up four or five shots than on other tracks.
The thing I like about being in the lead on this course is that it's a tough course. I feel like it's easier to hold leads on harder golf courses because like the John Deere I had a two-shot lead going into the last round by the time I was on the third hole I wasn't in the lead anymore because guys are out there making so many birdies ahead of you. This time you can stay patient, it's just like a Major Championship. That's what it feels to me like out there. And we're in another position to do some fun stuff. But I don't think of it as match play because I believe that these guys can make a run ahead of us. I've got to stick to my own game plan and try and shoot a good solid 3- or 4- under round tomorrow.
Q. How would it feel finish off this amazing season with a win tomorrow?
It would be fantastic. I don't think I need tomorrow. I think I'm free rolling is the way I need to think about it.
No matter what, it's a dream come true season. Two Majors, a couple other wins, and what we have been able to do consistently this year, that's a huge step up from anything I've ever done.
So I don't need tomorrow to justify it, but it would be something that I'm not going to sit here and say 10 million dollars doesn't mean anything to me, because it does. It's a fantastic bonus that I don't even know where it came from, six, seven years back, but all of a sudden they just want to give us more money. So it's fine with me.
I'll work hard for the win tomorrow because I want to win this golf tournament. It would be special to get your name on that trophy. There's some pretty nice names early on on that FedExCup trophy.
Q. How much does the putt on 18 was huge for you?
It was huge. It was -- it was just huge just to gain another shot. I don't think being in the lead by one or tied -- I actually thought that we were tied. When I finished I was told about 20 minutes after we finished that I was 1-up. I didn't know. I wasn't looking at the board. I forgot Henrik had bogeyed 17. I thought that he had birdied somewhere else.
So I was not aware that I had a lead. So in my mind I just needed to make the putt to get one more clear of everyone else and to shoot 68 versus 69. So, in that, it was a nice big putt.
I hope I have something like that tomorrow for the Cup. That's what we play for, is that exhilarating feeling, that adrenaline rush. That's why we are here, that's what we love to do and hopefully, I have that opportunity tomorrow.
Q. I know you won't admit it the last three weeks, but was it tough to get motivated knowing that --
It wasn't that bad last week.
Q. I didn't say you played badly. I was just asking if it was tough to get motivated at those events, knowing you would come here with a chance to win the cup anyway, and by the same token, is it easier to get motivated this week knowing you had a chance?
Yes. To the first part of your question, I don't think that I was any less motivated than I would be for a normal TOUR event. But I didn't think of it as meaning anything in the FedExCup race.
I knew that if I played consistent golf, I would be one of the top two spots, three spots and that's really all that matters coming in. I know the chances are greatest if you're in first, but yeah, in my mind they were just another event throughout the year. I didn't think of them much in the FedExCup race, given where we were going into it. Even though they were four times the amount of points, we had a big enough lead that I knew that I would be secured into the top-5 and probably the top-3 for the TOUR Championship.
And this week it is definitely much easier. Like I said in the press conference before New York, everything now is to prepare to peak in Atlanta. Just like approach Atlanta like a Major Championship. I mean we have had -- the whole year it's been about the Major Championships, and I consider this to be the fifth one at the end. I wanted to consider it the fifth one at the end and we're in another opportunity to get a winning record in the five, in my mind. I considered THE PLAYERS one as well, but that didn't go as planned.
So, good opportunity tomorrow. I'm very motivated. It's something I want badly, just, and it's going to feel a lot like a Major Championship when I step on the first tee.
Q. Did the bogey on 6 leave you a little red assey (sic) and if so was there a way to use that for the rest of the round?
I have nightmares about that hole. I don't like that hole at all. Today it was a standard 9-iron, 150 yards, it's a very easy shot. But that shot's in my head. I want to get through that hole with par and move on to the next.
So, it was a very poor shot, it was a similar shot that I hit in the water on last week on Sunday that kind of dampened a pretty solid round. That should never be in my head, but it is. My club face, I'm working on trying not to get it left out right and you don't want to go re-tee on that hole.
So, yeah, I mean, I wish that I had gotten a stroke on 1 through 4. I had plenty of opportunities there, really 1, 3 and 4. But the par save on 5 was huge and 6 dampened it a little bit, but I knew that we could make some birdies. I told Michael, we're going to at least get two more birdies today if we limit the mistakes, and we didn't make another one and we made three, so it was an added bonus on the back end of starting over par.
Q. You've had three or four really strong par saves, but by and large two bogeys for the week, there's been a lot of stress taken out of your game. How much does that matter and how much was it a goal this week?
It matters a lot. And stress free to start rounds is big. Even if you are missing 15, 18 footers for birdie, if you're tapping in for par, you get into a groove. You don't have to stress too much, you don't have to worry, you know that you just keep doing the same thing and they will fall.
This is, that's been the complete difference in this tournament versus the others, is I've sharpened my short game, I feel more comfortable with my putter and so when it does get a bit off, we have been able to make up for it.
We have had some sick up-and-downs this week. Number 8 was one today that was about as challenging as the one on 5 yesterday. I'm saving myself with these up-and-downs from potentially making four or five bogeys in a round. And it's huge because two saved pars where you feel like you escaped with a shot makes you almost feel like you made birdie. Makes you almost feel like you're playing solid golf.
If you made bogey there, you would feel like you're playing bad golf and there's a lot of room in between there in your head and if you can -- the more you can feel like you're playing solid golf and it's going to go your way, the easier chance of that actually happening.
There's been a longer fuse this week. Tomorrow, heightened emotions, I'm going to have to really focus on my mental attitude to when mistakes do occur, I'll be able to bounce back easily.
Q. (No Microphone.)
8 was, there wasn't much of a -- it was a good lie in the bunker, but there was no room. I could hit that shot another 10 times and I don't think I could get it closer. I think we could get it up-and-down, but I had accepted bogey at that point. It was on the flat of the bunker with a really steep lip and a down slope once it got on to the green.
So I thought the best I could do was 15 feet and I just nipped it perfectly and it became 4- or 5-footer. It was a hard shot. That was a hard shot though.
Q. If you were in town this week visiting friends and they said, let's go out and play golf today, what would you have said to them?
(Laughter.) I would have said, let's sit on the couch and watch football and have a beer. I mean, isn't that what you guys wanted to do today?
Q. Who said we didn't?
Yeah, good point. You may have. But I guess we were moved up for a reason though, right, you can only make the noon games. No, this is -- in the past, I may have come to -- two years ago we played on a Saturday and somewhat similar conditions, and it got to me before we even started. I mean, I was frustrated with the conditions, I wasn't patient with my swing, I got quick, and I dropped down the leaderboard to where I couldn't come back even with a fantastic Sunday.
Today, after being out here for three years now, two and a half years, that's enough time to have played in these conditions to understand what's going to happen and to be able to just say, you know what, who cares, this is how Bobby Jones would have wanted it here. Let's just dig through it and take the lead. Let's work our way up the leaderboard and see what we can do. But, no, I would not have chosen to play golf in these conditions elsewhere.
Q. All the things you say to yourself on the golf course, how often do you pull out, "holy right?"
A lot more than holy left. I hit it right a lot more than left. But there are worse things I could say.
Q. We have heard those before.
I don't want to get fined.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you.