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April 3, 2015

Phil Mickelson


DOUG MILNE:テつ All right.テつ Phil Mickelson, thanks for joining us for a few minutes.テつ 66, 67 to head into the weekend at 11-under.テつ Obviously a tournament you're fond of and familiar with being a past champion here.テつ Just some thoughts heading into the weekend.
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ The golf course is in great shape as always.テつ It's a fun tournament.テつ It's going to be a shoot-out.テつ There's a lot of guys at 8, 9, 10-under par that are right there, and it will be fun weekend.テつ It's fun for me to put myself in a position heading into the weekend to have a chance.テつ And I think that's an important thing for me heading into next week to get into contention, feel that pressure, and get back to playing later on the weekends.
DOUG MILNE:テつ With that, we'll take some questions.

Q.テつ Phil, do you feel like you're gaining some good confidence on the greens this week?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ Yes.テつ I spent -- before San Antonio, I spent hours each day, four, five, six hours on the putting green just getting my putting back to where I wanted, going back over the drills that made me successful that I use as kind of a foundation or the basics for my putting.テつ Got back to work on it, and I thought I putted well at San Antonio.テつ What really hurt me at San Antonio last week, I actually played really well, my chipping was terrible.テつ It cost me multiple shots each round.テつ I went back home, spent the last three days working on that.
My short game has been sharp this week.テつ I've hit some good pitches and touch.テつ The putter does feel a lot better, but it's felt better for awhile.テつ It's felt better for a few months now.テつ I'm excited about this weekend.

Q.テつ When did you start using that putter again?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ I've had it for ten years.テつ Basically a putter I used to win the PGA in '05.テつ I've had it for awhile.テつ I used it at San Antonio.テつ I used it at the Doral event for a round or two right after Honda.テつ So, I had been in and out of it.テつ I prefer to use this putter over a mallet, but the mallet sometimes with the line helps me with alignment.テつ I'm having trouble lining up.

Q.テつ Phil, no one has proven to be better than you than driving down Magnolia Lane and igniting your game.テつ Is there something this week you can take that will help maybe when you driver there next week?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ You have to be in contention in tournaments and play well heading into that tournament.テつ Although it's happened in the past where guys have out of nowhere played great that week and had a magical week and won, the odds aren't in your favor.テつ You've got to kind of build your way into the tournament and continue to play better, better each week and get in contention, have opportunities to win.テつ Because the pressure that you feel trying to win the Masters is greater than just about anything we have.
Certainly there are a couple of events, other Majors, Ryder Cup.テつ For the most part you want to experience being in contention and dealing with that as you enter the Masters.テつ You don't want to just hope for blind luck.

Q.テつ Does your approach change heading into the weekend expecting a shoot-out, expecting more low scores?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ You know, I've been trying to just keep pushing and keep trying to make birdies, and I'll have to do the same thing on the weekend.テつ I'm looking forward to it.テつ I feel this is a course where I can make birdies.テつ My game has slowly progressed to where it is now, and I'm excited about hopefully playing better and better as the weekend goes on.

Q.テつ Are you basically then saying you're playing pretty aggressively this week?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ Well, I always play fairly aggressive.テつ I don't feel like it's out of the norm.テつ There's a few holes that I play almost defensive that I don't feel good on.テつ Holes 5 and 6 are challenging holes to me, so I tend to play those a little more conservative off the tee.テつ There's some holes feel very comfortable to me that I'll play a little bit more aggressive than some people might expect.
It just depends on how the holes set up.テつ There's a great variety of movement, of dog legs, of positioning of water, risk/reward on this course.テつ Some holes feel good and some don't.テつ I'm a little more cautious on the holes that don't.

Q.テつ What are some of the holes that feel really good to you out here?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ I love the stretch of 10 through 13.テつ 10, 11, 12, 13 is a great stretch.テつ I love the stretch 1 through 4.テつ Those holes feel really good to me.テつ They're giving you a chance to really get both 9s started off on the right way.

Q.テつ Is your game good enough to go to Augusta at the moment or do you still need these two rounds on the weekend before you go?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ I've been playing what I feel is well.テつ I haven't been scoring well.テつ I haven't been focusing as well as I would like. テつThat's starting to get better.テつ The only way to play Augusta effectively is to have good visualization, see the shots and have confidence in your swing.テつ As I continue to play well, I'm building more and more confidence each day.
You can never have enough heading into the Masters.テつ These next two days are important for me to continue that momentum of working on my game, hitting the shots, seeing it well, and not just playing a certain way but really mentally staying sharp, and that's what I've done fairly well this week.

Q.テつ Can it be difficult to kind of curb the enthusiasm with what awaits next week?
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ No, because -- it could.テつ It, certainly could.テつ But for me it's not, and the reason is I know that for me to have a good chance next week, I've got to play well this week.テつ I've got to get in contention.テつ I've done that so far.テつ I've got to continue to stay focused, hit shots and be sharp throughout the weekend.テつ If I'm able to do that, that will give me momentum heading into next week.

Q.テつ Phil, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I assume you're not shocked that Tiger is playing next week.
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ That's a tough tournament to miss.テつ The Masters is the tournament we dream of as a kid.テつ That's a tough one to miss.テつ I just don't think anybody would miss it if they were in it, if they were physically able to play.テつ And he's had such a good short game and such a great game throughout his career, I think it's going to be an easy fix.テつ I think his game will be sharp.

Q.テつ Phil, on the late bogey, we saw the long putt for the birdie, but we didn't see -- can you talk -- tell us what happened on that one.
PHIL MICKELSON:テつ I was trying to take it over the people on the left side and hit a little draw.テつ I pushed it and it cut and it went down the embankment.テつ I have hooked it -- when I hit a draw, I go in the right hazard.テつ There's a hazard right of the fairway there.テつ So I was trying to play up the left side.テつ I just blocked it a little bit.テつ Not a very good swing.テつ But I've been driving it really well.テつ I've driven it really well this week.テつ Hit a lot of fairways.テつ I had great control off the tee.テつ I certainly let that one get away.テつ That doesn't affect the way I feel about driving it.

Q.テつ Very much an aberration the way you've been playing that particular shot.
DOUG MILNE:テつ Phil, thanks for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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