Valero Texas Open interview: Jordan Spieth

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April 03, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Valero Texas Open transcripts archive

ROYCE THOMPSON:  We'd like to welcome Jordan Spieth to the media center.  Jordan this will be your sixth start of the year, you had a T2 in Puerto Rico and a T7 in Tampa, and last year in this event, you finished tied for 41st.  Jordan, just some opening comments about being here this week?
   
JORDAN SPIETH: 
Yeah, I'm excited.  It's one of the couple of events that I can come to where I've actually played in the tournament before.  I love this place.  I think it's a great atmosphere.  I like the golf course a lot.  It's severe.  It's just a great Norman course, and I enjoy that.
   
It's very demanding off the tee, and I feel that's a strength of my game and ready to try to make something special happen this week.

Q.  You like this course, which a lot of players don't admit to.  Does Norman's design off the tee give you a lot of choices?  Is it challenging in that respect?  For example, on 17 you can go right and have a straight shot in, but you're flirting with the bunker to the right; whereas, if you're left, you've got to get back up over that mountain, and 11 there is a split fairway.  Can you just kind of talk about that?  It seems like it gives you some choices off the tee?
   
JORDAN SPIETH: 
Yeah, there are a couple of holes where it definitely gives you some choices and you have to pick a line.  But most of the holes, it's more of there's that Fescue hazard, whatever you want to call it, on both sides.  So you just can't let it go straight in either direction.
   
So I think the most important thing is picking that starting point down the middle of the fairway and trying to hit it dead straight off almost every tee instead of trying to work it too much, which I like.
   
Yeah, there are definitely a couple holes where you want to think through which side you want to go on, and if you want to be able to see the green or have a better angle, depending upon where the hole location is.  But I like the fact that it's very tight and there is trouble on both sides.  It's almost like you're playing out in the woods, except when you go into this stuff, you don't really come out of it.

Q.  Obviously, your Top 10 finishes have validated your decision to turn pro.  At that point when you were making the decision, did you have any doubts about it, and did you feel like it was earlier than you had anticipated going pro as you went into your college career?
   
JORDAN SPIETH: 
Going into school, if I was told I was going to leave after a year and a half, that was definitely earlier than I anticipated.  But I had goals at University of Texas and goals as an amateur golfer, when I felt like I could accomplish those as well as get starts on the PGA TOUR and feel comfortable, that's when I knew it was going to be the right decision.
   
When I turned, there were some voices, especially because I didn't have status anywhere.  But I just kind of threw them out.  I didn't listen to it.  I didn't believe.  I never looked back.  I knew that I was going to be able to have enough opportunities through sponsors' exemptions this year that I just    I could take care of it myself by starting off the year strong.
   
I don't think that the way I've played this year is necessarily just validated it.  I mean, that was my goal, but I never really had any regrets.  I still feel like I'm a part of the team, part of the University, so it feels good.

Q.  Along those lines, the natural progression is now Thursday you tee off and there is No. 2 in the world, Rory McIlroy, barely not No. 1, and of course, Matt Kuchar.  Can you talk about playing just the evolution of that from the last two, three years and you turn around and you're playing with a guy like Rory McIlroy on Thursday?
   
JORDAN SPIETH:
  Yeah, I'm surprised I wasn't paired with some better players (laughing).  No.  It was definitely surprising to see that pairing.  Yeah, coming from the beginning of the year, possibly Monday qualifying for the Web.com events and trying to work hard to play on that Tour the whole year to being able to match my game in the same group with two of the best players in the world, it's a great opportunity for me.  It's something that I think I can learn from, and I just need to get out and be comfortable.
   
Fortunately, I've played with Matt Kuchar before.  We played a practice round at the U.S. Open last year.  I joined their group.  So that will be nice.  He's one of the nicest guys around and I hear Rory is a great guy too.  He played behind us yesterday, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity.  He's only a few years older than me, and obviously, accomplished so much, that I look up to him as a player and as a person.  Hopefully, you know, I'll get off to a good start and test my game against his.

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