USA Today


Here at HD, we cover the BIG story - like 2012 Texas Longhorns national champion and defending Masters champion Jordan Spieth! Someone's gotta do it, so I'm at The Masters this week as Spieth attempts to defend his green jacket.

I'm sure everyone has seen Spieth's true Texas BBQ menu for the Champion's Dinner Tuesday night. If not, here it is ...


Spieth spoke to the media here at The Masters on Tuesday, and here are the nuggets I found most interesting ...

... He talks about his mindset entering The Masters ...

... How he hopes his experience of winning will be an advantage over guys still trying to win their first Masters ...

... How his caddie Michael Greller thought he'd be allowed to join Spieth at the Champion's Dinner ...

... What he enjoyed most doing while wearing his green jacket ... And how he feels about having to give that green jacket back to Augusta National (where they are kept - unless Spieth wins again this year) ...


Q. What's your stress level like this year compared to this time a year ago? 


JORDAN SPIETH: Probably similar. A year ago, I put pretty high expectations on this week, given I had come off two runner-up finishes. I knew I was in form and I had that close call in 2014.

So it was all kind of set up to at least contend. But at the same time, you can say that and you can be in form, but to still go out there and do it is another thing. 

So the stress was there, but also the confidence was there. I think that it's the same this year. We've already done it, so it's not like it's something-- it's not like I'm chasing my first major.

We have two major championships now. So we feel like there's an advantage, if we can get into contention against those who are searching for their first; we know how difficult that was to sleep on, and to sleep on leads and in contention in major championships when you haven't capitalized. 

So I would say it's pretty similar to last year. Sure, I'm putting pressure on myself to contend this year, just like last year and I feel like I'm in form, as well. But it's also going to be a lot of fun walking these fairways, reliving those memories with the crowds and the roars, the echos. 


Q. Both Jason Day and Rory have talked about the tendency to over-try, overthink. When there's so much on the line winning here and the nuances of balancing that, how do you manage to avoid that tendency to overthink?

JORDAN SPIETH: I think 2014 was nice, we came in so under the radar. I had missed the cut in Houston and this was my first Masters.

I was just trying to have a great experience. I knew that I could beat the guys we were playing against, because I had been successful on Tour for a year and a half up to that point. But I hadn't really gotten anywhere near close in the majors. 

For me, it was just let's go ahead and play what I consider my favorite course in the world and have fun playing in the Masters. And then with everything that happened in 2014, I knew we could do it again and improve on it. I think I was lucky that the first try, I wasn't trying as hard, and I think from there, now I can just-- kind of just go back to the past couple years and draw off of that.

Now I hope I get off to a good start. If I don't, then I'm going to have to reach down deep and really stay patient and let birdies come to me. I think recently I've been trying very, very hard to almost too passionate to make birdies wherever I'm at to get on these runs like I did early Sunday in Houston. 

And on this type of golf course, that's easy to do, as well. You play these par 5s and you think, the winners from the previous whatever years have all played these par 5s so well. I just parred my first three par 5s; I'm losing strokes.

Well, that's something that's easy to think about here, but you let 'em come to you, you let the birdies come to you. I just think that this place brings that kind of mentality into me and Michael, and I think-- I don't know why, but it just does. I'm very pleased that it does. 


Q. And the last question, it's one part of your success that Michael won't be able to enjoy. Does that bum you out? 

JORDAN SPIETH: He actually thought -- at first I think he thought that he was going to be able to be there (laughter). So he was, I think, a bit surprised when, I think it was Jay who told him, no, Michael, nobody goes. 

Today, he was saying, this is going to be such a cool experience, maybe the coolest dinner you'll ever have. 

I was like, yeah, probably, Michael, it will be awesome. So I'm sure he'll be asking me tomorrow about it. 



Q. Your favorite memories of the green jacket?

JORDAN SPIETH: Certainly New York right after was a lot of fun, doing kind of the media tour up there. 

Some of my favorite memories were certainly back home, having a bunch of my friends over, and just kind of having the jacket on while you're grilling out or while you're doing whatever, that kind of stuff (laughter).

Just hanging out in it for the first couple times where everything's dialed back and you're with just kind of your friends who are so excited, but at the same time they are not going to sit there and ask you all these questions about what it's like. They are just going to give me crap, and I'll give them-- they are my best friends. 

I remember those evenings and that kind of just getting to-- I didn't wear it out much in Dallas. It stayed in my closet and took it on the road here and there. But I would bring it out here and there. It was certainly a lot of fun and I don't want to have to give it back. 



Q. Along those lines, I don't know how the turn-in ceremony is here, if you have to leave the jacket here after this week; did that have an impact on you, because you've spoken all year long about how much you've enjoyed it? 

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, when I packed it to go down to Austin, because I drove to Austin, Houston and flew here; I was like, wow, this is actually-- there's a possibility that I don't have this back at my house anymore when I was leaving home. 

It kind of fired me up a little bit. So yeah, just the jacket itself provides a little motivation, which is cool. But at the same time, it's not easy. It's not easy to get.

I didn't take it for granted whatsoever. I think that I could have taken advantage of having it in my possession more than I did. But you learn and next time I'll do a little bit better (laughter).



Q. Given your start last year in the two majors, do you think the Grand Slam is achievable? 

JORDAN SPIETH: I think-- that's a tough one and me doing that for the camera is going to haunt me some day when I have a good round (laughter).

But I think that-- you've got to always smile even if you're (laughter). You know what, I would have said prior to last year, no.

And it's very, almost conceited for me to say because of last year, maybe. But we were so close and it was one break here or there.


Now we got the breaks this week, and we certainly got the breaks at the U.S. Open. It was a golf course where you needed to get breaks at Chambers Bay. Here, you have kind of got to create your own. We were really, really close. I had control of my own destiny at The Open Championship.

And then the PGA, I'll use an excuse right now and say, there was a three-stroke difference in the draw. So say we are on different ends in the draw, I'm a lot closer there, and I started I think three shots behind, two to four shots the last day and I think I lost by three.

You need those kind of breaks. It seems silly, right? It seems like you can overcome that in a major, but it makes a difference.

You have to have everything go your way to win a golf tournament, let alone to win a major, to have that happen the four times in a year in those four weeks. 

There might be someone some day that comes along that's as dominant as Tiger has been in 2000, 2001 and, yeah, if they're just that good, you can get the breaks, and even if you don't, you can still maybe win.

Man, I got as good of breaks as I could last year and didn't pull it off. But we were very close.


I still didn't answer your question. So I don't know (laughter).


I think it can happen, but especially with the way things have changed in media and just the lack of ability to stay private, if someone wins the first three majors, it's going to be very difficult to shut out the noise by the fourth and to still play your own game. 



Horns Digest Top Stories