Quote the Horns: Head Coach John Fields and Jordan Spieth
Dec. 15, 2012
On what went into his decision: First and foremost, it was just me being ready. I had been thinking about it for quite a while now, just needed to make sure that I wasn't going to look back. And I'm not going to. The fact that it's now, I'm given a full season, there's multiple ways to earn a [PGA Tour] card, and that's going to be my goal for next year.
On how he is approaching earning a PGA Tour Card: I hope I earn some exemptions. That would be nice. You know I'd like to start out on the West Coast swing, try to play as many events I can on the Tour out there. Go from there. Look at hopefully getting Web.com starts, and PGA starts. Kind of see where I am throughout the year. See which way is going to be the best route for me.
On if he felt he achieved everything he wanted to at Texas: I had a lot of goals. I remember my dad kind of told me, "Hey, you've got to start setting goals." I was probably about 15 years old. I set goals of trying to be the No. 1 junior, then I could start playing amateur events and start trying to become the No. 1 amateur before considering going pro. Within that, The University of Texas, when I committed I told [head] Coach [John Fields], "I have one goal, one main goal here. That's to accomplish a team National Championship for The University of Texas." Last year, we were able to do so. That didn't mean I was going to go pro. But it was nice to accomplish that goal, along with many of the others I have had growing up. I have the majority of them yet to set out to try and capture.
On if he spoke with any former UT golfers before making the decision to turn pro: I've talked quite a bit with Harrison Frazar, he's been a big help for me back in Dallas. Not necessarily in deciding turning pro, but just in everything. Now especially that I'm going to be playing professionally, he's kind of taken me under his wing and helped me a lot. The guys, in the few tournaments I've been able to play in, have all been very supportive. And they will continue to be.
On why he didn't decide to turn pro right after winning the 2012 National Championship: I just wasn't ready. It was one of those where I just wasn't ready to leave the team. I wasn't ready to stop playing and travelling with The University of Texas golf team to the events. I wanted to have an opportunity to have a go around it. And I didn't know at the time what I was going to do. I could have stayed four years. I could have gone in the middle of the season. So, you know, I did a lot of thinking. A lot of talking with a very, very helpful and supportive group around me - my family and my friends, and coach here. And we all agreed, and I agreed, that this was the right time for me.
On if golf will now switch from being fun to all business: No, I think it will be a combination. You know, I'm going to push myself. I see what guys like [professional golfers] Tiger [Woods] and Rory [McIlroy] have been able to do, and how they've done it. I've read the stories of the 12-hour days from Tiger, and that's what it's going to have to take. And I'm aware of that. I'm ready for it. But at the same time, this is still the game I grew up playing. So I'm always going to enjoy it out on the course.
On how Coach Fields and the team reacted to his news: They were extremely supportive. And that's what made this a lot easier. It's bittersweet. But what made it easier for me was the fact that Coach Fields has told me since day one that he's going to do everything that he's capable of doing to have me become the most successful person that I can be. And that's what he stresses. And that's what he tells everybody on the team. And the guys on the team were extremely supportive. They understand that this is my dream. They understand that I have goals on and off the course. They're willing to help any way they can. And I hope to still be a part of this team. Just because I'm not going to be travelling with the team, doesn't mean I'm still not best friends and part of The University of Texas team.
On if he plans to finish his degree at UT: Yes. When I came in and committed to Coach Fields, I told him I wanted to get a degree from The University of Texas. I've been in touch with my academic counselor and we're starting to create a plan to make that happen. It is a goal of mine, and I look forward to it.
On the first thing he'll do as a pro: Just sit back and kind of smile, I guess. I have some of my friends down here. It's going to be nice to be able to hang out with them because they were so supportive. And my family's back home, they've obviously known about this decision for a while. I'm just going to start getting prepared.
Head Coach John Fields
On if it's a shock that he decided to leave and turn pro: Absolutely not. We've been preparing for this, truthfully, throughout the last year. It's simply because of the success Jordan had on the PGA Tour. Making 5 out of 7 cuts on the PGA Tour. Being the low amateur in the U.S. Open. Having won a team National Championship here at Texas, and being a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award. You know that he's going to have great opportunity. It just happened to fit him and his family right now.
On if he thinks there are other things Spieth could have accomplished before leaving: Well sure. There is a tremendous amount of other things that he could have done. And with him on the team. I still think it's possible that we could win another one or two National Championships. But certainly he could have been part of that. And I think with his game, he could have won individually. Maybe a U.S. amateur. Maybe a spot in the Masters. And who knows from there. He had to weigh all those possibilities against the possibilities of going out right away. Taking advantage of some incredible opportunities. And obviously he chose the latter. But I don't blame him. If it had been my son, we would be doing the same thing.
On what he expects from Spieth as a professional golfer: Well I think Jordan is going to be very successful. There's no question about it. I think that his abilities, the things he's already accomplished, his work ethic dictate that he is a predictor. You never know what's going to happen in golf. You never know what's going to happen in this world. But all things being equal, I think he's got a great opportunity at being very successful and one of our great professionals on the PGA Tour.
On where Spieth ranks the on list of Texas great golfers: Well he won on several different occasions. He was part of a National Championship team. We hadn't won in 40 years. You have to look way back to see that kind of team. He didn't do it on his own. He had great teammates - [former Longhorn] Dylan Frittelli, [senior] Julio Vegas, [junior] Cody Gribble, [junior] Toni Hakula. But he brought an incredible attitude. And in that regard, he's probably in there with the absolute very best players that have ever played at Texas. His attitude, his work ethic is incredible.
On if having Spieth and winning the National Championship has given Texas Golf a resurgence: Absolutely. No question about it. We d hoped it wouldn't be that long again before we won the National Championship. But it's not the easiest thing to do. There's 320 Division I programs, and 100 of them are funded to win the tournament. We feel very fortunate. No question Jordan Spieth's legacy here will be that of success.
On how often someone like Spieth comes along: Not very often. I couldn't put a number on it. I was very fortunate to be part of the team last year. Some of the guys on that team are one-in-a-lifetime guys. He's certainly one of them.
On if they'll be able to fill Spieth's shoes: He leaves behind a very, very good team. Brandon Stone is currently ranked third in the NCAA as a collegiate golfer. He's a freshman. [Texas-commit] Beau Hossler and he are top-30 in the world. Julio Vegas finished fourth in the World Amateur and he's top-75 in the world. There are a lot of golfers in this world. And that's not to mention Cody Gribble who is an All-American, and Toni Hakula who is outstanding in his own regard. There are several guys behind them who are pushing and want a spot. So there is great competition, enthusiasm, and excitement on this team. I'm looking forward to January.
On how having someone like Spieth at Texas helps with recruiting and helping get golfers to the next level: Well we have a great program here, and a great family here. We did everything we possibly could, within the rules, to give him and our team the best opportunity to win and go on to be successful. Not every program can do that. We can do that at Texas. We worked high and low to do the absolute best we could for those guys, including Jordan. I think it speaks volumes to recruits because they know when they come here they're going to get the support that they need to be successful both in the classroom and on the golf course. if they work hard, like he did and will continue to do, they will find success.