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October 5, 2005

Phil Mickelson


NELSON SILVERIO: Welcome, Phil, to the media center. Give us some general comments on the course and how it played today, what you expect for the week.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a wonderful golf course. I think we all know that, and the renovations have been incredible. We're all looking forward to holding this event here. It's just terrific. This is my first round around Harding Park. I walked away very impressed and excited to play such a great championship here.

Q. How important is this week? Some things in the season have been decided, but we look around and you've got the top 50 players in the world and just the feel of a very big event. Do you guys feel that? How important is this week?

PHIL MICKELSON: It is a big tournament in that the World Golf Championships continue to develop in prestige and we continue to have our best product, our best players competing on some of the best golf courses such as here at Harding Park. So it's an event that we all want to win and do well at.

After the PGA, it's hard to have the buildup in tournaments because our next major isn't for five or six months. But if there were a tournament to look forward to and work on your game and get ready for, it would be this one.

Q. You've gotten such great support everywhere you've gone. Is this kind of like a hometown support for you with your wife's ties to the area, and are you staying in Pleasonton this week?

PHIL MICKELSON: This is such a beautiful area. With my wife living here when she was growing up for a few years, we've come back here a number of times. I love playing golf here. We have some of the best golf courses in the world here, and it does have a very special feel coming to San Francisco. It's a fun place. We brought our kids. They're loving all the opportunities that the city provides, having a lot of fun. I hope that I'm able to play some good golf because this golf course is very demanding and difficult, and I know that we do have some family and friends in the gallery, and I hope I play well for them.

Q. Tiger said that this course is set up for a right hander's draw. How does that affect your game, if at all?

PHIL MICKELSON: Which would mean a left handed fade, and it has been a shot the fade has been a shot I've been playing, to play it exclusively at the PGA, and I tried to play a fade exclusively at the Presidents Cup, and I anticipate playing almost every shot right to left here. I do like it. I do have to hit the shots because the fairways are tight, the trees are difficult if you do miss fairways. The course is playing long. It's playing 7,000 yards, but it's only par 70, and it's some of the thickest air we play at sea level, and the ball doesn't travel very far and the course plays very long.

Q. You went through all that static of not winning a major. You win a major, last year's Masters. Is life now, having won two majors, any different than it was after finally breaking through at Augusta?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's not something I think about. It's fun to be able to compete in majors, contend in majors, but it's also fun contending in majors knowing I've won some in the past and that that first one isn't still eluding me. It's nice to have a second one to back it up. But really what it does is it gets me excited about every major championship. It gets me working harder and focusing on playing well and it gives me some confidence knowing that I've been able to do it before, that I'm not trying to search for the right way to do it.

I've got a preparation routine that has worked out very well for me getting ready for the championships, and I just really look forward to those tournaments each year, and winning those two has got me excited about them.

Q. Michelle Wie just announced her becoming a professional. Just your comments on a young girl like that jumping into the pros.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I've never met Michelle. I've never seen her hit it. I've heard how impressive she is as a player and I've seen the results that she's had in many tournaments. She's going to have a very long and stressful career, and I think the LPGA is in great hands with Paula Creamer having such a great year, Michelle Wie turning pro, and I think Morgan Pressel is an incredible talent who's coming out and turning pro. She made it through the first stage of qualifying school. I think that those three girls are going to be challenging Annika for her dominant role that she's had in the game. I think the LPGA is in great shape for the years to come.

Q. Do you see any problem with young kids coming into a sport being a professional, or is age an issue at all for you?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's not for me to say. What worked well for me was getting an education. I felt that getting my college degree was important. I felt that going to college and having that life experience was important. But I wasn't really money driven. I wanted to enjoy those times that I knew that over the course of a long career that there was plenty of opportunities to make some money, and I wasn't worried about it. Not everybody views it that way, and that's fine. You've got to do what works for each individual.

Q. As a Charger fanatic, where did you watch last Sunday's game, and how did that make you feel, beating the Patriots finally?

PHIL MICKELSON: We're the first team in 25 tries to win in Boston. I was actually flying back from Boston, roughly. I was up in not Massachusetts but up in Maine and was flying back and watched it on the airplane coming back, and it was exciting. Obviously after our 0 2 start we needed a couple of wins, and it was a really big game. The Chargers have another big game against Pittsburgh, but for me football is fun again with what Coach Schottenheimer has done and all the young guys coming up, and it's fun for me to watch my team that I grew up watching playing well now.

Q. I heard Gary Player once said that the players at the high level have different swings on different days. Is that accurate?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think he ever said that no, I'm just kidding (laughter). I don't know. I don't know if I'd agree or disagree. I think that the swing is very similar, but a lot of times your shot will change from day to day. One day your draw might be easier to hit and one day your fade might be easier to hit. But rarely does every shot click each day. So it's important to take what feels good and what's working well that particular day and go with it to try to shoot the lowest score.

Q. I understand you may have received an offer to play at Qatar next year on the European Tour and if that's something that's going to happen.

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure about that yet. We're discussing things, but it has not been finalized as far as my schedule next year. It is tricky with some of my representation agreements to skip away at that time of the year, but we're still trying to make it work.

Q. This being a municipal golf course close to the city, do you find yourself thinking about Balboa Park in San Diego and imagine if they ever did the same type of restoration at a place like that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think about what they did at Torrey Pines. I wish that it had turned out more like Harding Park did, but it's still for me a place that everybody can go play to have it be such a fun, difficult challenge, so I think a lot about Torrey Pines. But I think Harding Park turned out just tremendous. I mean, this golf course could hold any championship that it wanted to and be a tremendous venue.

Q. Comparing it to Olympic and San Francisco Golf Club, all three of the courses are golden age designs. Do you see a lot of similarities in the shot values or are they entirely different courses?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think all three are comparable. I love playing all three. I fly up for the day just to play Olympic, just to play Cypress Point, just to play San Francisco Golf Club. Harding Park is very similar, same bunkering, same green complexes. The only difference is the greens are a straight bent rather than a poa annua. That's the only difference, otherwise they all seem to play very comparable to each other.

Q. Just going back, can you briefly just go into the sort of things that may clash with the tournament in Qatar? Are we talking about different events?

PHIL MICKELSON: Just scheduling.

Q. Is that related to some of the responsibilities that you have, fulfillments then?



End of FastScripts.

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