JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome the 2015 FedExCup Champion Jordan Spieth into the interview room.
Jordan, I know the trophies are nice, but when you are here on an occasion like today when through FedEx Cares, $1million given to St. Jude, can you just comment on what that means to you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, for me personally, being a member of the PGA TOUR, it's just another reason to show that the PGA TOUR, they set a great example by picking the right sponsor; sponsors like FedEx Cares who truly, truly care, FedEx Cares; that truly care, and try and find very impactful organizations to pass on help however they need it.
You know, in talking with Rick on the way over here about St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and kind of the impact they have made in their very long and successful history, it kind of puts in perspective what we're doing. We're entertainers. But these people are making differences in childrens' lives. It makes us realize that, hey, what we do is cool, but really helping others means using our position the right way, and I think that I learned a lot from FedEx today. I learned a lot from St. Jude and I hope to be a part through our foundation now going forward with St. Jude. So reach out to Rick and hopefully continue to be partners with St. Jude now and provide any help we can.
That's what having a foundation‑‑ you start out an a certain path, right, and we have our three pillars but then these other organizations, you meet the people involved and they impact you in certain ways and you want to get involved. Fortunately we can.
Q. I wanted to confirm, you had never been to Oakmont before, and the four guys that went on the buddy trip, I think all of them had for a good reason wanted to unwind, you more than anybody. Just talk about what that trip did for you guys and how it felt for you.
JORDAN SPIETH: I have not been to Oakmont. I'll be seeing it for the first time tomorrow, tomorrow morning. Looks like we're going to get a great day. I've heard it's‑‑ people sometimes say it's more challenging even‑‑ "they have to slow the greens down for the U.S. Open," I think is the line that they use there, the members use at Oakmont.
So it will be a really fun day. I haven't been there. Obviously very excited, as one of the great golf courses in the United States. It's a bucket lister for me, so it's very exciting to play there tomorrow.
Yeah, the trip was a lot of fun. It's not often that us four can have the kind of privileges we had to just let loose, four guys in similar positions that other guys our age may not be in. Actually all our friends from home in their first jobs. It's kind of cool to just be able to hang out with the guys we're normally competing against. We had a great time and at a place that Rickie is a member at, so thanks to Rickie for allowing us to have that trip.
Q. I'm curious your philosophy in going from one major to another. Do you quickly, no matter how you finish, put that major behind you and look at the next one? Do you wait a while? How do you sort of balance moving on from one to the next one?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think it depends on which major it's from. From the Masters to the U.S. Open, you have quite a bit of time. This year from The Open Championship to the PGA, there's just one week in between. So it not only depends on which major it is; it depends on what happened at the other majors, how you played.
For me, heading into Oakmont, I'm going to try and learn what I can tomorrow and I'm going to come in early and see it before the tournament week starts, try and take the same approach as Chambers Bay.
For a U.S. Open, it's kind of a different approach than the other majors. You understand that par, no matter‑‑ no matter what the conditions are, par is going to be a great score. At the Masters a year ago, it was 18‑under. I think The Open Championship was 15, and the PGA was somewhere around there.
You never know what the other majors are going to produce with score. Heading into here, you understand par is a good score and you start mapping the golf course out that way.
Q. Now that you've had some time to process what happened at Augusta, how do you describe what happened in your own account?
JORDAN SPIETH: It was just a bad timing on a poor miss. I wasn't trying to hit the ball at the flag on 12. I was trying to hit it to our spot on the left. I already made the mistake in 2014 hitting it in the water there.
My miss that week was slightly off the heel with a short right shot, and had that miss come on 11, it's no problem. Had it come on 14, 16, these other holes, it's no problem. It was just bad timing on the miss; then a just poorly executed wedge on the next.
The fact that not only I walked to 13 tee box and still believed I could win; but I also felt the crowd believed I could still win. When I look back on that, when I was walking from 15 to 16 tee box, 15 green to tee box after making two birdies to come back, was arguably the coolest moment I've had at the Masters.
And when I look back and I draw back on the energy the crowd was giving me, the crowd was just rise as a standing ovation trying to get me to, and I'm like, you know what, this thing isn't over. And we almost holed the tee shot on 16 for a hole‑in‑one.
But looking back, it was just bad timing on the wrong hole. And you know, it is what it is, and I'll move on. If you're in contention at a major, hopefully 50‑plus times in your career, something like that is bound to happen. Just don't let it happen again.
Q. How long did it take you to get that out of your system, if it's out of your system? And were you surprised that there was some criticism of you guys' getaway that weekend?
JORDAN SPIETH: The 2016 Masters will always come back up. It will keep coming back up, even if I were to go onto next week and win and to go onto Oakmont and produce clutch shots and win. It's still going to come up when I get back to Augusta. I understand that.
The good news is that I've got a lot of great memories there. We've already won and pulled away from the field that people are also going to draw on.
I'm not taking it very hard. I've got ladies at the grocery stores putting their hand on me and going, "Really praying for you; how are you doing." (Laughter). I'm like, my dog didn't die. I'll be okay. I'll survive. It happens. It was, again, unfortunate timing.
But actually I laugh about it now, I really do. But it will keep coming up. I understand that. And it's tough every time it comes up. It was very tough to go through.
At the same time, I'm very fortunate that I now have a couple major victories that I can draw on. That didn't happen before I ever won a major, and it didn't happen to where I still haven't won a major where that's going to be the only thing people are drawing on.
Our team can draw on the wins, and that's what we're going to do. We've now had a chance to win coming down the stretch six majors and we've won two of them, including the last five and 2014 Masters.
So that's still a pretty good percentage, if you're in contention six times, you win two of them, a third of the time. Considering my age, and hopefully with continued good health and continued improved play, if we keep that percentage up, we'll be all right.
I missed the second part of your question, I'm sorry.
Q. Are you surprised there was some criticism?
JORDAN SPIETH: Hey, we were having fun. We were relaxed. We were able to play golf and golf was kind of secondary to the relaxation part of the trip. Everyone, it's not‑‑ actually if I'm involved in other peoples's opinions, that's bad on me. Everyone can have their own opinion. We had a great time and look forward to doing something of the sorts in the future.
Q. No mic.
JORDAN SPIETH: Thank you. Even got a note from him saying that it was good, so that's good.
Q. I believe at Augusta, I believe you described your iron game as average, a little bulky with your driver at times, and yet you led for 65 holes and 137 in a row going back to the year before. Do you take anything positive about what you were able to do there, or does that loss just override everything?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yes, I've actually spoken with a couple other past TOUR players who said, "Dude, you had your B Game" is what it seemed like to them, just having played a couple rounds with me here or there.
Yeah, I wasn't comfortable with my irons. Cameron, my instructor came back for the weekend. He didn't do that the last couple years, because I felt so uncomfortable over the ball, and we were still able to lead. That's really positive going forward. Not only for the Masters, Augusta National, because that just means we know that place and we mapped that place out and we putt extremely well there.
But it's good going into other major championships that we can separate ourselves, even if your best stuff is not there to start. With the right patience and the right course management, we can still have a chance to win. I'm not the longest hitter or the straightest hitter of the golf ball percentage‑wise.
But I believe that the way that we play is the way that can win majors and we're very confident in the way that we go about it. And the fact that maybe not having our best stuff can still do it, pending one swing, it's certainly extremely nice to know.
Q. We heard it several times, and I'm assuming you heard it: Wow, he shouldn't be too broken up because Arnold Palmer ‑‑ on the last day; Greg Norman. Did you hear that kind of stuff and did that make any kind of impact on you?
JORDAN SPIETH: Not really. I think the biggest impact for me came from personal messages that I received from some of the sport‑‑ some of the world's greatest athletes, and I'm not going to give names out because I don't want to, this is confidential.
But literally from the world's greatest athletes, I received notes immediately following that night, pretty much saying, this happens everywhere. Pretty much, no doubt you'll be back. Don't draw on it. It happens to everyone in all sports at different levels, and pretty much that he believe that‑‑ and just as we believe, that we'll be back, no problem.
Q. What have your pre‑round preparations taught you, or are you going into Oakmont tomorrow as a blank canvas or have you done a fair share of research or are you just going in an open book trying to write whatever you have tomorrow?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, I've actually played a couple rounds on my Full Swing Golf Simulator at home. I've seen the golf course. At least I know which hole is shaped which way, so I'll get on the tee and at least know. But hitting off a good lie on Astroturf might be a little different from the lies I'll experience out there.
So yeah, going in with a blank canvas. I'm not going to look too much into tomorrow as a practice round and spend a ton of time hitting different putts to different locations. Tomorrow will be a fun round just getting a first look, and then getting a yardage book, mapping out maybe a couple things here or there that I want to know when I arrive for the real preparation to get a little jump start.
But other than that, it's mainly just a round getting on the grounds, understanding what the greens are going to be like. So when I get home, or in preparation through my next few events, as well as the weeks off, I'll be able to kind of find out which bunker shots, which kind of lag putts to practice, based on the different slope and speed of the greens.
Q. You mentioned Oakmont being on your bucket list. You obviously want to perform at every tournament, but would that take on more meaning having a peak performance at a venue like that?
JORDAN SPIETH: Certainly. Yeah, I mean, the history of Oakmont produces champions who believe that they have won at the toughest test in golf, which is a U.S. Open at Oakmont. There's been‑‑ I'm paraphrasing, probably exact quotes, but if you were to go ask a lot of the games's greats, you would probably find out that most of people would say that's the toughest test is the U.S. Open there.
I believe Shinnecock may be another one that would be on there, if the greens get firm enough, which they think they did the last time it was there, if I remember watching.
So yeah, it would be very‑‑ I already believe that we've won golf's toughest test in winning any U.S. Open. But to win it at what's regarded as the day‑to‑day hardest golf course in the United States, possibly in the world, that would be something that you look back and say, I conquered golf right now. So the that would be a really cool feeling.
Q. Are you going around twice tomorrow, just once, and what's your schedule going forward till the Open?
JORDAN SPIETH: Just once, and then I've got an event with Under Armour before heading back home. I'll be at PLAYERS and then our two hometown events and then I plan on playing Jack as event at Muirfield.
JOHN BUSH: Jordan Spieth, we appreciate your time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports