Spieth Enjoying Banner Year


Even though he didn't pull off a victory in last week's Wyndham Championship - which would have made him the youngest two-time winner ever in a PGA Tour season - Jordan Spieth is still having a remarkable year.

In 19 starts, the 20-year-old from Dallas has the win in the John Deere Classic, another runner-up in the Puerto Rico Open, seven top-10 finishes and $2,631,220 in earnings.

Not bad for a heralded two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion who shocked many people when he turned pro midway through his sophomore season at the University of Texas which, as a freshman, he helped lead to the 2011 NCAA national golf championship.

But Spieth is a pro now, one that with all his accomplishments in 2013 has resulted in an exemption for the next two season on the PGA Tour and guaranteed spots in the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the Masters and other prestigious events.

Spieth comes into this week's Barclays - the first of four events in the Tour's season-ending FedEx Cup Playoffs that starts Thursday at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey - No. 8 in the season-long Cup points standings.

"I'm just extremely kind of honored to be here," he told reporters Tuesday from the Barclays. "Starting the year, I had no idea that this would be a potential opportunity for me, and happy to be in the top 10 starting the FedEx Cup Playoffs and control my own destiny from here."

As for his youth and precocity against veteran players with much more experience, Spieth is surprisingly mature. "I don't really think of my age as my age. When you're out here, everyone's your peer. New goals come up each day that I'm trying to reach out and accomplish, and you know, you can't ever really rest out here. Everybody else passes you up."

Spieth will be paired in the first round with reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose of England and Sweden's Henrik Stenson. The trio tees off on the 10th hole at 8:05 a.m. EDT.

Below is the full transcript of Spieth's sit-down with the media at Liberty National.

MODERATOR: We'll get started, a phenomenal season right now for Jordan Spieth, he's ranked eighth in the FedEx Cup standings coming into his first PGA Tour Playoffs. Just maybe some comments about the finish last week and then looking forward to the next four events.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, last week was a big confidence boost. Felt really comfortable, felt confident. I got here this week and it's an incredible place, one of the most amazing golf courses I've ever been to. Yeah, I haven't been to New York City since I was probably ten years old, so I don't remember it much. Just being in the area is really special, seeing the Statue of Liberty on the golf course and the course in general, there's not a blade of grass out of place. But yeah, I'm just extremely kind of honored to be here. Starting the year, I had no idea that this would be a potential opportunity for me, and happy to be in the top 10 starting the FedEx Cup Playoffs and control my own destiny from here.

Q. The last time this event was here, you were I think 30 miles west at Trump winning the Junior Amateur. When you hear that, does it sort of even strike home how far you've come in such a short amount of time?

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, yeah, I didn't realize that that was the same year, that was 2009. Yeah, it's pretty wild. It's been kind of - each year there's been a different step that I've kind of - at the beginning of the year, I've had a goal to achieve, to reach that new, higher level, and you know, so far each year, I've been on track, and this year, maybe skipped a few steps. So yeah, like I've said before, I don't really think of my age as my age. When you're out here, everyone's your peer. New goals come up each day that I'm trying to reach out and accomplish, and you know, you can't ever really rest out here. Everybody else passes you up. So, yeah, I've worked really, really hard since even before that, but since the '09 U.S. Junior to be in this position and I'm excited to get out there and work today and tomorrow in preparation for an unbelievable golf tournament.

Q. What do you think it is about the guys of your generation that you're so prepared to come in here and compete so early?

JORDAN SPIETH: Well, I think the game - well, the game's getting younger. There's just more better, younger players, so you're already playing - you have to step up your game just to compete against people, kids your own age. You see teenagers now consistently making cuts on the PGA Tour when they get starts, and that I think just has to do with the fact that - like the AJGA now is playing golf courses are set up like PGA Tour events. They are very difficult to shoot under par at. The other players are getting better and better, and same at the college level, that's just a step up. The competition, the guys that are turning pro and the young guys out on Tour, it's not that different - including myself, from the way I was playing college golf. Just the overall mass of how the game has grown into really starting to take shape into young pros on Tour being able to kind of adjust fairly quickly.

Q. I guess you also have to be find of fearless when you get here; how did you get around that? Did you feel you were ready to make that step right away?

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I just never I think the hardest thing to do is to think about money, and when I start the year with no status, it's very easy to have on your mind, you know, how am I going to make this much money or to get status here and there. I think guys are just kind of throwing that out of their heads. That's what I try and do, and that's how you play fearlessly is to kind of not have any outside distractions and just play the game of golf, and there's so much talent out there, in junior and college golf now, that the more and more people that can kind of forget about any sort of distractions off course, are definitely capable of coming out here and playing consistently.

Q. Since winning at the John Deere, how has your life changed both inside and outside the ropes?

JORDAN SPIETH: Not much has changed outside the ropes. Inside, scheduling changes, being able to play majors and moving up in my World Golf Ranking and the new opportunities that present themselves, being able to play these four events. It's mainly just scheduling changes. Off the course, nothing really. I'm still - I still haven't bought anything. I'm still - I need to get back on how I can get my tractor from the John Deere shipped to my house. I guess I'm just so busy all the time that you don't really have - nothing really changes. Just kind of come to this event and play another golf tournament.

Q. For a guy who has one PGA Tour victory at the age of 19, and almost had a second, can you even fathom winning on this Tour 78 more times, like Tiger has put that number up there?

JORDAN SPIETH: He's not even close to being done either. It really is incredible. It's just so - it takes so much out of you in a week where you're contending, let alone, winning or like last week, I was in a playoff again, a couple hole playoff. When you're playing that much golf with that much - I want to say stress but it's more just adrenaline. I don't know if Tiger even feels it anymore, even in majors. So, yeah, it is extremely hard to fathom 78 times, but you know, I'm going to strive for it and try and get there some day.

Q. As a follow up, given the way he's still playing, he's got five wins this year; conceivably, if he plays another ten years, he could put that number near a hundred. For a guy who is just starting out right now, is that even attainable? If he puts it near 100, can someone even get there?

JORDAN SPIETH: I don't know. You know, that's hard to answer, 100 wins is just - five wins this year, in general, is pretty mind boggling. It's hard for me to answer, because again, I've only played 21, 22 events in my career, probably 25 including amateur ones on the PGA Tour. You know, maybe guys that have played for 15, 20 years would have a better perspective on it. In my mind, you know, you do the math, I mean, he's winning - I've seen statistics on how often he wins compared to when he plays an event, and it's pretty remarkable. So that's something that obviously he's separating himself as No. 1 in the world right now again, just like he was when I was growing up, and that's something that me personally and everybody else in this event is striving to close the gap, and surpass; everyone wants to be the best player in the world. If that means you've got to win 101 times, that means you're going to try.

Q. You're ahead of his pace age wise.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, well -

Q. One.

JORDAN SPIETH: I think he had played in more Masters at this point than I had. Yeah, he decided to study a little more and I decided to come out here a little quicker.

Q. Did the recharging, obviously it did work, you came back strong last week after the British Open, right?

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, the PGA, I missed the cut. I had a couple weeks off before that, really got my feet under me. Played well at the PGA. I was really close, and if you're really close at that golf course, it's not going to be great. We played in some heavy rain Friday morning and I really wasn't prepared for it. But, you know, went home for a few days just to kind of get the confidence back. I knew my swing was there. I knew my putting was there. It was close to clicking at the PGA. Was close to being 3 under versus 8 over, if that's believable.

But that's what happened over two days, at home, working with my instructor, saw my trainer a couple times there and got back on track. Just really went in with a relaxed frame of mind last week; a golf course I had seen a lot of times in junior events, and just felt kind of at peace the whole week. I really didn't feel any form of pressure or adrenaline until the last probably three or four holes on Sunday. So, that was really reassuring and I'm going to try to take the same attitude into here.

MODERATOR: You talked a little about goals at the start of the press conference. Where does the Presidents Cup rank for you right now?

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I mean, that's - I think my greatest honor that I could ever have in golf is to play for your country. I have fortunately been able to do it on kind of I guess the highest stages of my career in the past, whether it's the junior Ryder Cup or the Walker Cup, and honestly, it's weird. It kind of brings out a little extra fire. I actually seem to play my best golf in match play and in those team events. It's just a lot of fun. I just really, really love it. I love standing there and seeing the flag go up. I'm a very patriotic person. I think at this point, it would be a tremendous honor if Freddie were to pick me. I know where I stand and I know that I'm definitely on the outside looking in, but I also know that playing really well these next couple weeks is a way to take care of that. So, yeah, I mean, it would be it would be a goal that if I thought about it at the beginning of the year, I may have left. But at this point I think that it could be a reality, but it's all going to be on me.

Q. Along those same lines, do you think that infusion of young blood like you and Patrick and some of the other guys are going to help these American teams in the future, the Presidents Cup and next year's Ryder Cup?

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I think young American golf is really - this last year and this year has really stepped up big time, you know, as far as being able to win right away, with Russell winning the first event this year. He won a couple times on the Web.com. Harry won as an amateur and he won this year in Memphis; obviously he's not a rookie. Derek Ernst, just straight out of UNLV comes out and wins one of the biggest events of the year; yeah, I think that only - that's only going to be good for us in the future. The game's just getting better around the world; younger, too. Look at Hideki Matsuyama, the career he had as an amateur. I guess he's fifth probably on their standings, so he's going to be on the team. So yeah, I think that it's definitely nice. I think it's definitely positive for us to think about the future in that. But it also just means it's getting better elsewhere, too. So we've got to keep it up.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Jordan, good luck this week.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.


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