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December 11, 2002

Phil Mickelson

David Toms


JAMES CRAMER: We have the United States team of Phil Mickelson and David Toms.

Gentlemen, if you could start off, maybe a comment, your first time seeing the course today.

PHIL MICKELSON: David, go ahead. I'll let you start.

DAVID TOMS: Actually, I played -- today was the second day I played yesterday, also. I like the golf course, I think it gives you a lot of room off the tee. We've seen the pins now in the middle -- actually, in the middle of the green for two solid days. So I'm sure the course will change a little bit with their pin placements the next few days.

I like it. I thought the golf course today, we had a little bit different wind than we did yesterday. So I've played two different winds now. The golf course, I like the way it plays. If it doesn't blow very hard, I think you'll see some good scores. There are a lot of birdie holes out there, and the way Phil was driving it today, long and straight, sets him up well, especially on the par 5s. So I think you'll see some good scores.

PHIL MICKELSON: The course sets up well, if you can drive the ball well. There's plenty of room to hit it, but there's a lot of carries of about 275, 285, that if you can carry it, you have a much bigger fairway. You also have a lot shorter shot in.

So driving the ball will be critical. And if David and I can hit the ball long and straight, we are going to have a lot of wedges and short irons in and we should be able to make a lot of birdies. And if we don't, we're going to have problems.

Q. You sound as if you are sniffling a little bit. Do you have an allergy or are you really sick?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I'm not sick. I'm just kind of losing my voice. I don't know what it is.

Q. You indicated last week that you might try to play more conservative this week. Now that you've seen the course, will that change?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't see that being the case.

DAVID TOMS: I don't want him to do that. (Laughing).

PHIL MICKELSON: The fairways are plenty generous and it's also critical to carry the ball a good distance to be able to hit to a wider fairway. So I'll be hitting a lot of drivers.

Q. You also talked last week about how tired you've felt the last couple of months since the Ryder Cup; how do you feel now?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think I said I was tired as much as I am typically taking time off to get rejuvenated, if you will. This is not really a time that I play competitive golf, so it's a bit of a change.

My attitude this week is a little more relaxed, where I feel like having a partner gives me the freedom to play a little more uninhibited, with the exception of the alternate-shot days. I'll try to be a little more conservative there.

But for the most part, having a partner, I'll be able to try to swing really hard with the driver and have some wedges in to some of the holes.

Q. Were you expecting such a warm reaction from the local people?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the people have been very wonderful towards us. It's very enjoyable for David and I to play in front of people that are so nice.

Q. Did you try to do anything different in terms of your driving today? I know you had some problems with your driver the last couple of weeks. Did you change anything?

PHIL MICKELSON: No. I just kind of keyed in on something the last day on Sunday that allowed me to hit it a little bit better. I played a very good back side. It was only nine holes of golf that I played well, and it's kind of carried over. I kind of keyed in on something that helped me straighten it out.

Q. Can you tell us what that is?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to really explain.

Q. Swing change?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's just a feeling throughout the swing.

Q. With all due respect to your partner, the format calls for No. 1 and No. 2, and it isn't you and Tiger, obviously. Is there a reason for that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think the reason is that Tiger has played a lot the last month, starting with last week was his tournament that he hosts. So he has a couple of outings he's got to do. He played the Skins Game. A couple of days before, that he played the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. The week before that, he was in Japan for the Dunlop Phoenix, and I think that you can only play so much golf.

So, we had talked about it, and I understood his situation and he wasn't going to play. And I felt very good about the United States' chances, playing with David, because we played very well together at the Ryder Cup and I felt that we were going to be every bit as good a team as if Tiger and I had played together.

Q. Paul McGinley was saying yesterday that he thought the World Golf Championship event should be moved further back in the calendar, and that's the reason why some of the big names are not here. Would you go along with that?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't really get exactly what Paul said. I heard kind of the gist of it, but I haven't really heard what he said, so it's tough for me to comment on that.

I would say that historically, November and December are difficult months for me to play, because I feel like the season is over and it's hard for me to get up to play golf. This year, it feels like it's an exception; with the birth of our child, I'll be missing some tournaments in March that I would normally play, and so I don't feel as though it's a stretch to play right now. But typically, it would be.

Q. Can you comment on why you and Phil seem to play so well together?

DAVID TOMS: Well, I mean, let's say, must be No. 1, I think we get along well on the golf course. We have fun playing. I think that's a big part of it. I think we enjoy each other's company. I like his style of golf. I think I can complement that. When I'm playing well, I'm kind of a steady player and he likes to go for it at times, so I think we complement each other for our games.

That's a big part of it, being comfortable around each other when you're partners, and at the same time, our games are working well together. So I think that's why we've performed well in the past, really, in our one shot at it, and this is our second shot to see what we can do.

Q. Was it Curtis who came up with the pairing at The Belfry or did you go to him?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't really know who came up with it. I knew that we were going to play together months before the Ryder Cup, and I felt all along heading in that that was a pairing that he had wanted.

DAVID TOMS: He said, he basically said, "I'm going to stick you guys together the whole week, is that okay." It was fine.

Q. Do you think Pete Rose will be in the Hall of Fame?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. (Laughter.)

Q. They are talking about it.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I saw it. I don't know the details. I've heard some things both ways.

Q. Do you know anything about the Mexican team and what is your opinion of them?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know much about Pablo.

But I do think that in the entire game of golf, Esteban Toledo's story is one of the most fascinating. His upbringing, where he came from, how he got started to play golf, his success at the highest level, I think that he is somebody that I look at with a lot of respect and I marvel at his success.

DAVID TOMS: Esteban is the only one that I know. I've played a lot of golf with him. I played the Ben Hogan Tour with Esteban the first year they ever had that, so he's worked his way up just like I have. We've come along the same way.

It's a great success story. I mean, I think for a lot of us that had a lot more than he did growing up, and far as in the game and having parents that were either a member of a club or got us going with it, I think it says a lot about him and it says a lot about his determination; that he's been able to be as successful as he is.

Q. Is it a lot of pressure for you guys to be considered a favorite to win this tournament?

DAVID TOMS: I don't know if it's any pressure. I think that if we play our game, we play well, we'll be there in the end and we'll have a chance. If we don't play well, you know, you'll get beat and that's the way it is every week. If you have a good week, you play well, you'll have a chance in the end. And I think that's all we are asking for, is for us to play our game. I think we can make a lot of birdies and shoot low scores on this golf course, but we'll have to play well to do that.

Q. Was the defeat to Phil Price something that you got out of your system or did it bug you for a while?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't really think too much of it. I thought that he played a great -- he really played well, and he hit some very crucial shots. I really haven't thought about it again till you just brought it up. (Laughter.)

Q. Thanks.

PHIL MICKELSON: (Smiling ... laughter.)

End of FastScripts....

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