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WGC HSBC CHAMPIONS

November 5, 2015

Jordan Spieth

Shanghai, China

JORDAN SPIETH: All in all, to shoot 4-under, first round back, I'm pleased with where the game is.

Q. And with your putting, as well?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it's close. Matching speed and line isn't quite there on mid-range putts but I made pretty much everything within six feet, which that's nice. That's sometimes the first to go when you take stretches off. But yeah, I just have a little bit of work to do adapting to the speed of the greens.

Q. Is it nice to get that first round out of the way after such a long break?
JORDAN SPIETH: I think so. I kind of know where I'm at. I know where I was -- on the practice round it's easy to trust a lot more in your swing than it is in tournament play. I know what I need to work on in the range and hopefully each day it improves just a little bit. But yeah I'm very happy.

Q. Last time you were out with Stenson and Bubba Watson, you were all beating a drum. Was it as much fun out there today with them?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, Henrik with three. It was a solid grouping. We played good golf and we had a lot of fun. We've had a lot of fun this whole week, our time in Shanghai and we've got the caddie event tonight so that will be fun. We really have a lot to do here, and we enjoy that. Not a whole lot of sitting around but we can still get enough rest.

Q. You've had quite a bit of time off. How would you rate your play after your break?
JORDAN SPIETH: Solid. I would consider it an A. Coming off with that much work leading in, not a lot of repetitions, it's tough to trust everything you're working on. I did a good job of it early and I hit one or two straight shots and started to lack the trust. But that back nine, that finish, 2-under on the last three was fantastic. It really could easily have been even par or 1-over. I stole a couple there and I'm pleased with 4-under.

Q. You had a little different backswing takeaway practising you were doing out there. Tell us about that.
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm trying to get the face open. I came back from the break and as I took my backswing, my face would stay very, very shut as I went up and I'm trying to get a little more depth and rotation into it to get it back to neutral which is where I played the majority of the year. Just got a little off toward the end of the season and off this break. It's really hard to trust in wet conditions. It's easier if it's firm. It is what it is. Lift, clean and place helped a bit. I was in the fairway and I hit really good shots.

Q. You said this is the longest break since you were 12 or 13 years old.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, longest without touching a club. I wish I had five or six weeks to be away from tournament play. But to take 14 days off; the first week, it was nice, it was really nice. The second week I was very bored. I didn't know what to do with myself honestly. I would go to the gym and I would put in some work there and get some cryotherapy, this and that, and I would have the majority of the day left. In Dallas, you don't exactly go out on the water or anything. So I was searching for stuff to do and just going to visit friends here and there. I was actually pleased to get back to work.

Q. You spoke at the start of the week about potentially feeling a little bit of rust in your game but you've come through it like a well-oiled machine in some respects.
JORDAN SPIETH: Sure, there were some -- I hit some shots that looked like we were just continuing the end of the season, and I hit some that looked like I took some time off. It was a bit of both. Fortunately only one of my bad swings cost me. The one on 17 cost me a stroke and a half or so.

But all in all, yeah, I was very pleased with shooting 4-under today. Obviously I thought 4-under would be further up the leaderboard than it is, but there's a lot of guys playing solid golf right now and 8-under was a fantastic round.

Q. And conditions were conducive to low scoring, as well; no wind and soft, receptive greens.
JORDAN SPIETH: If you were hitting the fairway, having lift, clean and place was a big advantage. So yeah, I went through a stretch where I missed the majority of my fairways in the middle of the round and I was just grinding and I played them a couple over.

But started to get it back. Hit a few more fairways. Played out of the fairway coming in and I was able to take advantage on 7 and 8. 8, I could have very easily made bogey just as easily as I made birdie but a nice break for that putt to go. I may have scored even better than I played today.

Q. How would you describe your objectives for this portion of the year? Is it a case of trying to continue what you've had for most of 2015 or is there a desire for progression?
JORDAN SPIETH: May as well try to continue from 2015 here. There is certainly progression -- there always is, even throughout this year, I was working on something different each week just to try and maintain and to get as consistent as possible.

But off of this break, I took time away and it's an adjustment coming back, but I'm trying to continue whatever we had this season, especially short game-wise, I'm trying to get enough reps to feel like I'm in that same rhythm and then ball-striking will get there.

Q. And does it feel like you are in that groove?
JORDAN SPIETH: Close, close, yeah. Speed control is just a little bit off on the greens and I'm not quite as aggressive in my chipping, but it's stuff that's very easy to fix with a little bit more practice.

Q. Watching Henrik, referring back to THE TOUR Championship --
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah there were a few. Henrik is a funny guy, so we had some going back the last couple years. I played with him when he won in 2013, so we were talking a little bit about that and this year.

Q. Anything you can share with us?
JORDAN SPIETH: You know, it's stuff like whether it was a long putt -- he brought up No. 11 from THE TOUR Championship a couple times. I was talking to him about his putt on 18, because I had not seen him since, and I said, "Man, I read about the significance of that putt. It was, whatever, a million-and-a-half-dollar putt difference."

And he said, "Yeah, but the one you made on 11 was 700,000."

I said, fair enough. He goes, "Because you know I would have won if you didn't make that." He was jokingly obviously. We had some laughs. It was a fun group, talkative group. Just kind of golf was getting in the way of a nice little walk.

Q. Going back to the energy you've had -- are you able to adjust quite seamlessly do you feel to playing in new territories outside the U.S.?
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah it seems that way. I've had a bit of success here, played well the last couple years. Australia was great. Japan, played well. Korea this year had some stints of good golf. I think everyone who is here, their golf travels; I think it's safe to say that. It's not like it's totally different but adjusting to the time zone is the most important part, and typically -- Australia last year, I was coming from Japan, so it was only a two-hour time change.

I probably will come to this event a day earlier than I did this year in the future.

Q. Are you able to immerse yourself in the culture at all, outside that photo shoot --
JORDAN SPIETH: Not much. We went into the city once. I'll probably go again tomorrow night or Saturday, and that's about as much as we'll get because our hotel, it's a very nice hotel but I wouldn't say it's extremely cultural. It just seems normal.

So other than trying new foods, and I'm being careful with that, obviously, with some people this week -- not much.

Q. You tried a few new ones in Korea?
JORDAN SPIETH: I'm just following Rickie. If Rickie ended up sick, I wasn't going to try it but I was pretty safe.

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