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July 17, 2014

Phil Mickelson


Q. How do you assess the round?
PHIL MICKELSON: This is the best I've hit it in over a year, I had as much control over the golf ball as I've had in a long time. Whether it was working cuts into the wind, draws into the wind, shots off the tee. And certainly the score sucks, but my game is as good as it's been in a long time.

Q. On 18, just from your reaction, looked like you weren't aware --
PHIL MICKELSON: No, nobody said it was out. It's not their fault, I guess. But I saw it bounce, it looked like it was fine. Nobody pointed it was out. It would be nice to hit the other ball without having an 8-minute delay or what have you, it's not their fault I hit it out of bounds.

Q. What about the idea of internal out of bounds?
PHIL MICKELSON: Obviously I think it sucks. (Laughter).

Q. You have a different feeling being a defender coming in here today after the first round? Was it different than your usual coming into an Open?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly coming in -- yeah, coming into The Open Championship as a past champion the questions were totally different than they've been before. Are you going to be able to come on top in links golf and overcome the challenge, and things like that. And to be able to have already won this tournament that question has already been answered. It's, can I do it again? Can I get in position again? And I know that this wasn't a great score, a great start, but this is as encouraged as I've been since last year's Open Championship. I hit a lot of tremendous shots today, and even though the score is not reflective of it, I can feel it's about to turn. Maybe tomorrow. It could be a week, it could be a month, but it's going to happen soon.

Q. How was your putting?
PHIL MICKELSON: Putting wasn't as great as I would've liked. I missed a few short ones. A little bit of an alignment issue with my shoulders, and then the last four or five holes I putted pretty good.

Q. For you is the bigger picture of how you're playing much more important than the score here?
PHIL MICKELSON: It is. If we can all get the same conditions. Certainly this afternoon was a lot more difficult than the morning. So if you look at scores comparatively, it's really not that bad a score, relative to the other guys that played in my wave. And if we get comparable conditions for the entire field, I think my score is going to be a little better.

Q. How concerned have you been about getting your game back?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've felt like it's just been a fraction off. I've been saying it's a fraction off for a while now. And I feel now I found that last fraction. And it's started go to click.

Q. Encouraged by your ball-striking, what clicked for the last few weeks?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was off playing and now I'm on playing. I guess that's kind of the best way to say it. I was getting a little bit steep. And now it's right on plane. And it's very easy for me to go forward to the target and the face and everything is matched up. It's easy for me to hit driving, penetrating shots now. But it was just a fraction off before.

Q. Having won the last year on a great back nine on Sunday here, would that change -- no matter what you're doing as long as you're in the mix, you know you can go on a run and do it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think so, and I remember back in '04 at Troon I shot 74 the first day on pretty benign conditions, came out the next day and shot 66 and got right back in it. And I feel like I'm more on that side of the equation, than having another round over par because I just think the way I'm starting to hit it and the way I feel with the putter is just totally different.

Q. Do you realize how much Liverpool fans love you?
PHIL MICKELSON: People here have been great. I've always loved coming over here. And now as a past champion it's even nicer.

Q. Did you think there were too many people inside the ropes this year?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's not a problem, it's just a different culture than what we're used to. That's all.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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