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June 16, 2005

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: I'm just beat, you know. Fire away.

Q. How was that last putt?

PHIL MICKELSON: It was nice to finish the round with a birdie, after bogeying 15 and 16 with some actually pretty good shots I thought I hit in there. And having such difficult lies, it was nice to finish 18 with a birdie.

It was an uphill putt, one that I could be aggressive with, one that I had practiced in the practice rounds. I knew the break, and was able to take advantage of.

Q. The 13th hole, you the putt for birdie, about how long was it and what went on there?

PHIL MICKELSON: 13, it was about six feet, I would say, and it wasn't a hard putt. It was uphill left to right and I played about three inches outside the cup. I probably could have made it on my line, but I hit it too firm. And I don't know what to say, I hit a good, aggressive putt and it didn't play the right break.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's really important to get off to a good start, here, because it plays right on the edge today. And if it gets any harder, which I'm sure it will, and any tougher as the week wears on, it's going to be almost impossible to shoot a round under par.

Q. I'm sure there are some areas you thought you should have got up and down. But 69 you have to be pleased overall with the number?

PHIL MICKELSON: I am. I am pleased with 1 under. I'll take even par or better anytime in U.S. Open.

The disappointment for me is I spent a lot of time practicing chipping out of sand, because it's like chipping out of sand filled divots. I spent a ton of time in the practice rounds. And I had two of them for sure that weren't that hard, that I knew I had get up and down and didn't. And the disappointing thing for me is I feel I put in the effort and the time to get those up and down and didn't do it. But then there were some that were tough I got up and down, as well.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: The two the one on 15 was just not a hard up and down. And it was just lying on sand with the grain in. And the one on 7 was I put it exactly where I wanted to put it to make a par, short left. I had a great angle. I was sitting in a hole with the sand and the grain in. I thought about putting it, but I was concerned about double hitting, I thought it would pop up and I'd hit it in the follow through. I ended up chipping it and didn't get either up and down.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the greens are faster than the practice round. But the greens I thought were very fair. They were firm, they were tough to get close. 18, I landed the ball within a yard of where I wanted it to be, and I couldn't get inside 20 feet, but I was able to make the putt. My point is they're hard to get the ball close to the hole. You can hit a good shot and hold the greens.

I struggled with the fairways, because they were not running anywhere near as fast as they are now. If I got a crosswind, it would hit the fairway and go out into the rough. And that made it very difficult for me.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: It's totally different than '99. '99 we had six or eight yard wider fairways and we had rain, so the ball was stopping. Now, our fairways, we've taken 30 percent away, and they're brick hard, so the ball is just running right on through. The greens are a lot harder than they were in '99. '99 we were able to fly shots and get it close and shoot at pins. I think we're in for a tough three more days.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, heavens, yes, but I don't see how anybody will be under par in these conditions after 72 holes.

Q. (Inaudible.) They've seen pretty deep divots in the green; do you think they were softer in the morning?

PHIL MICKELSON: No question. I saw TV, I saw the ball stopping. We didn't have any of that this afternoon, it dried out pretty nice. And in the afternoon I was very pleased to have shot 1 under, I played very well.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think it's going to make a difference, because I think that even if they're hard in the morning tomorrow they will be harder in the afternoon. So it's fair for everybody. It's a good, hard, fair test. But it's certainly challenging. We see shots this week that I haven't seen probably in decades, some of the shots around the greens.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think I'll be able to. I mean I drove it very well with the exception of the drive on 1. But a drive like on 3, putting it right in the front bunker, stuff like that happened, too. So I had three or four first cuts. I drove it great today. I hit it very well for me.

Q. You said it's teetering on the edge; can you explain a little bit about what you mean by that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's just really hard, with the greens being table topped and the areas of being able to land the ball on a surface and get it stopped, where you carry a bunker and get it to stop on a green, we're real close to not being able to do it.

Q. Is it the pin positions what is the general state of the course, in terms of the pins?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure where you're going with it, it's just playing tough right now.

Q. Were there any holes that were more difficult than in the practice round?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yeah, every hole was a lot tougher today. It was surprising. The 5th hole was tough. But the thing about 5 from just right of the green it's not too hard of an up and down. You can get those up and downs okay. Anything left, it is brutal. But I thought that well, let's see, 8 played a lot tougher. 9 played a lot tougher. I think most every hole played a lot tougher. With the greens being getting to be pretty firm and the fairways so hard, it's hard to approach a hole thinking birdie, I'm just thinking about how to make par. My birdies I got lucky. I got good breaks on my bounce on 8 and stuff like that.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Probably, yeah. Yeah, I'm certainly not surprised by the performance of the guys that are Top 10, Top 15 in the world. I expect those guys to score well and play well. And I think Retief Goosen is amazing how he plays so solid in U.S. Open. It's just amazing. He's obviously a great ball striker and a great putter. And I think U.S. Open setups are where it really stands out, where you can really see his skill.

Q. How about Rocco and Olin and names like that, what's your reaction to that?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's a fair test to everybody, and what's nice is you can recover. If you miss some fairways, you can get up by the green and you can get up and down. And I like how there's a lot more skill brought into this setup, as hard as it is, and I may complain about the sand or whatever, but I love it, because skill is brought into it, as opposed to luck. Even though you always need some good breaks for lies and so forth. But I like how the short game is a big aspect.

Rocco Mediate has a good short game, and what a great way to get in the tournament. Olin Browne, I love those stories.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Actually, that's nice, thank you for bringing that up.

Q. Can you assess Adam's play today?

PHIL MICKELSON: I thought that I thought Adam really gutted it out. And by that I mean the first four or five holes he didn't hit it the way he the way I'm used to seeing him hit it. And he was 1 under, 2 under through 6. I just thought that he really knows how to manage his game when he's not a hundred percent. And he got it turned around later in the round and made some birdies, he's an impressive player.

Q. (Inaudible.) Can you talk about his perseverance; you've seen him around for years.

PHIL MICKELSON: I love seeing Rocco play well. We've missed him the last year and a half. He's such a great personality, a fun personality, and he comes across camera and interviews, and he just comes across so well for the Tour. And unfortunately he hasn't been able to play. And when he is playing, he hasn't played to his ability. And I hope that he continues it this week, because he would be a tremendous he's a tremendous asset to the Tour when he plays well.

Q. How about Steve Jones?

PHIL MICKELSON: I love Steve, because he was our assistant captain at the Ryder Cup, a fun guy. He didn't play much for a couple of years. To see him back out it's great. He's U.S. Open champion, and with him playing well he's going to be a hard guy to stay in front of.

On 3 I hit driver in the front bunker, about 30 feet from the hole and chipped up to six, eight feet and made that.

Hit driver, 4 iron to 35 feet on 4 and 2 putted.

I bogeyed 7, I hit 4 iron, 8 iron, short rough, chipped up 15 feet by and missed it.

I hit 3 wood, pitching wedge to three feet on 8 for birdie.

I bogeyed 15. I hit a 6 iron, just off the right fringe, 25 feet from the hole, chipped 10 feet by and missed it.

I bogeyed 16, I hit driver, just in the left rough, chopped a 4 wood, chipped up to 35 feet and 2 putted. Birdied 18 with a driver, 8 iron to 20 feet.

Q. (Inaudible.)


Q. How much of that is knowing exactly where you want to put it and how much is a guess?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's a little bit of both. I knew from the practice round the front of the green would allow it to run up. But it's a lot of luck. The bounce was perfect. If it goes a couple more yards left, it rolls down the swale and I've got almost no chance for bogey I mean for par, I would take bogey. I was trying to play a little right to the hole, and if it gets a little more right it swings right and goes 45 feet. It was a good couple of bounces in a row, and to be the right distance. You need to have some of that stuff, because you're hitting that shot so many times. You need some breaks.

Thank you guys, see you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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