Jordan Spieth reminisces about playing the Byron Nelson at 16

This weekend’s AT&T Byron Nelson is the golf tournament’s 50th anniversary and the first being played at the new Trinity Forest Golf Course. In an interview today, hometown favorite Jordan Spieth, 24, talked about the first time he played the Byron Nelson as a 16-year-old when it was still in Las Colinas. A sponsorship exemption, which he petitioned for in a letter released by the PGA this week, allowed the then-Jesuit College Preparatory School junior to compete.

Watch our video clip and read the full transcript below.

Q: What do you remember most about your first time playing this event, and what inspired you to write that letter to get a sponsorship exemption?

A: The most vivid memory is the first tee shot I hit on No. 10, just the feelings that I had. There was a rain delay. I didn’t tee off until after 4 o’clock, which was not fun waiting around. You just want to get out there and go.

But I remember the first tee shot. I remember my first birdie. I birdied the 14th hole, probably the hardest hole [or] one of the hardest holes on the golf course, to get to one under through five or so. I remember finishing up on Saturday and Sunday on [tee] 18.

What prompted the letter? Well, I was told in order to receive an exemption you have to write to the tournament. So with the help of my dad, I put together the letter that was released, I guess, within the last couple days, and we kind of got guidance, I don’t remember who from, to put in the letter: Write who you are, write your accomplishments, write why you think you’ll be a good exemption, write about how your peers have had success and why you want the opportunity. And so we kind of typed it up. My dad helped me a lot with it, and it worked out.

I remember when I got the call. I was in class my junior year at Jesuit. I missed the call, but I knew that it was coming. I knew I was going to get a call either way that week. So I went out in the courtyard. It was the middle of the day sometime in February and called them back, and they said I was going to get the exemption. Needless to say, the rest of my day was not very productive. It was very productive at the golf course afterwards. I think I practiced past dark that night. I was obviously very excited.


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