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July 8, 2015

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. I always love this two-week stretch. I love coming to Scotland and playing the Scottish and the British, and this year they are both -- it's a special year. We have it at St. Andrews. I'm very excited. I have my family with me again just like two years ago, and it's just a special two weeks. Being right here at Muirfield brings back a lot of memories, as well. Excited to play Gullane. I haven't played yet. Today will be my first round. But we have enjoyed our time over here. I've been over here in the U.K. since Saturday morning, and we've spent a few days over in Dublin. Had a great time. Looking forward to these next couple of weeks. Before we get started. There's two things that I thought would probably come up, probably the report that came out last week. Feel free to ask about it. I probably won't say anything but feel free to ask. I understand you have editors and you need to ask questions. But the other thing is, I thought I would get asked about Tom Watson and just the only thing I would say is that he's one of the greatest champions this game has ever had, and I hope next week is a celebration of that greatness. It's his last Open Championship, and I'm certainly appreciative of all he's done for the game of golf and admire, and that's all I really wanted to say on that. So if we go down that road, I'll probably just say -- just so you know. All right.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: We have no questions. (Laughter) Who is first up for Phil?

Q. Before you're led down that road by some of my colleagues, can I ask you, you've been coming to The Scottish Open for a number of years now. How do you get changed during that time --
PHIL MICKELSON: I get a lot out of playing the week before, and I have always gotten a lot out of The Scottish Open going back to when I started playing at Loch Lomond well over a decade ago. But now that it's on links golf, I get even more out of it. I think the players that come over really enjoy it. I've been getting acclimated not only to the time change but also the links-style golf. It led to success in the following week's performance, as well. I think the last four, five, six years, the winner of The Open Championship has played here at The Scottish Open. So I think we get a lot out of it.

Q. Scott Stallings got suspended yesterday for a few months for using performance-enhancing drugs. The question is: Are you concerned that -- (Inaudible.) And secondly, guys that have been suspended in the past got a year and he got three months -- are you concerned about that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't have any concerns, per se. I think that everybody is trying their hardest to make it a fair, level, even playing field, and I give Scott a lot of credit for coming forth. He's not trying to hide anything. He made a mistake and he came forth and was very open and honest about it. I like how we have had a drug policy implemented over the last however many years to make sure that from then going forward, we are all on a level playing field, even though I feel that was the case even beforehand. But I don't feel as though he's saying the right that every other citizen has to take certain things over-the-counter to help their own physical health should be taken away just because we play golf. So he was in my opinion trying to help his overall health doing something that every other citizen in the country has the right to do and it was taken away from him because he played golf for a living and I don't necessarily agree with that.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't know that they were testing for what he took specifically. I thought that that was a precursor for what they tested. So if they are trying to test for synthetic testosterone and he was taking something to increase your testosterone. I eat potatoes, for the simple reason that's the only food I know that helps increase your testosterone levels. Does that mean I'm violating the policy? Not really, but we are both kind of doing the same thing, trying to increase our testosterone levels for energy. We are just doing it in a slightly different way.

Q. One of the things you didn't mention that I thought you were going to say, was the decision to move the PGA Grand Slam of Golf away from Trump Los Angeles. Wondering what your views were on that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Okay. You're stumping me now with all these questions off-topic. I didn't know. I don't know what to say about that. I played the course. I thought it was a good golf course. But I don't know.

Q. It's obviously in the wake of Mr. Trump's comments about immigration once he announced he was running for president. Do you think golf wants to be associated with somebody who makes those kind of comments? Do you think organisations such as the PGA tour will try to distance themselves from Mr. Trump?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think we were all disappointed to hear his comments. Yet it doesn't take away from all that he's done to try to help better golf, and take these properties and turn them around and make them prosperous. Like he did here at the golf course in Aberdeen, it's just a wonderful golf course. And it puts everybody in an awkward situation. Because we don't agree with those comments, but yet we are appreciative of what he's done to help promote the game of golf, and that puts everybody in a tough spot.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't. And I would like to tell you a little story, if I may. 1996. There was an article before the PGA Championship at Winged Foot that Jaime Diaz wrote and was talking about the young guns. Now back then I was actually -- I thought I was a young gun, 20 years ago. But he didn't include me in the story. And he talked about Duval and Justin Leonard and some other guys and Amy and I were like, upset. And to the point where like Amy went up to him and had a conversation, was really emotional and stuff. And we look back on that, and we laugh, because we were so immature that we felt we had to have input and say in every little thing. But the fact is as we have kind of learned over time, people look at tour players, myself, other, just like I look at other athletes on teams that I support, not so much as individuals, but as objects to be discussed. So-and-so doesn't -- he needs to throw the ball better; he doesn't run fast enough, whatever it is, we all have our opinions. And when I started to understand that I was more of an object to be discussed, it took out the personal element of when people say things. People are going to say things good, they are going to say things bad, they are going to say things true, they are going to say things not true. The fact is I'm comfortable enough with who I am as a person that I don't feel like I need to comment on every little report that comes out.

Q. (No mic).
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's incredibly loyal of him to do that. He won the John Deere. They went out on a limb years ago to give him an exemption. And for him to go back, despite the opportunity to continue on with the Grand Slam third leg shows a lot of class on his part, a lot of loyalty on his part. I think it should be commended.

Q. Inaudible.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't know. I think each person, each player has to find out how to prepare their best to play their best, and it's different for everybody. For me personally, I like to play the week before. I like to come over here and get acclimated to the time. He's half my age, or less than half my age; he probably doesn't need time to get adjusted to the time change. And he's playing competitively the week before and his game should be sharp. So I can't comment on what he needs to do for him to play his best. Only he can do that.

Q. Inaudible.
PHIL MICKELSON: I've never done it. I don't know. I would think it would be kind of cool, especially if I grew up in an area that I had poor weather. But Southern California, I can play just about every day to the point where I love it when it rains, which has been great here (laughter).

Q. The weather is a bit different -- will you stop by Muirfield this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I am going to stop by. I would love to, at least I'm going to try to stop by and I'd love to just walk the back nine again. It's probably the best nine holes of golf I've ever played, certainly playing the last six in 4-under. Bones and I were talking about how we would like to go over and spend some time. It's a very emotional place for me. It's probably the most special victory of my career and something that I cherish as much as any tournament victory ever. So to be this close and not go would be a crime. I will definitely do it.

Q. Thoughts on Rory's injury --
PHIL MICKELSON: I can't talk about that for the simple reason I did it myself. '94, I snapped my finger before the Masters skiing, and I said then, and I feel the same way now, you can't live your life in fear. You have to enjoy the moment. I didn't feel like anything he was doing was unnecessary risk. He was just playing around and accidents happen. People get hurt taking a shower and doing normal day-to-day things. You can't stop living your life. It's unfortunate that it happened. Hopefully he'll heal soon and be back at it. If he can't play next week, certainly by the PGA I would hope. I don't know the specifics of that particular injury.
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