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December 14, 2002

Phil Mickelson

David Toms


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'd like to welcome the United States team, Phil Mickelson and David Toms. Thanks for coming in. Fantastic round today, 15-under par, 57 ties the EMC2 World Cup record set back in 2000. Really not much to say. If we could get some opening comments from Phil; and David, if you could chime in, you certainly did chip in with some birdies as well today.

PHIL MICKELSON: We were quite a ways back heading into today, and needed to have a good day to make up some ground. I think we made up half or so of the seven shots we were after. In best-ball it's very difficult because nobody is going to make a bogey.

We played very well today as a team, and early in the round, David made a couple of key putts to keep our momentum going, and we got a hot hand there at the back side to shoot 9-under and make up a lot of ground. Tomorrow will be an opportunity for us to hopefully start out ahead of the leaders, and keep playing the way we did today and try to post a score that will be tough to beat.

DAVID TOMS: First of all, he's giving me way too much credit. It was fun. It was a great day. We got off to a good start. I think that was the difference from the first couple of days. It took us a while to get going today. He got us -- birdied the first three holes. He actually lipped out for eagle on the third hole and then I birdied the fourth hole, so we got off to a roaring start and we just kind of maintained that throughout the day.

And then on the back nine, he got hot. I was kind of there to watch, and it was a lot of fun.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: How important was it to make that eagle putt on 10 as far as getting from 18 to 20 and putting a little heat on the other teams out there?

DAVID TOMS: We even talked about it right after he made it because there was a scoreboard right there. Like you say, when we jumped from 18 to 20, and kind of like, hey, we are here, hopefully those guys started trying harder to make birdies and maybe they wouldn't make so many coming in.

I think we did what we needed to do. We've got a chance tomorrow, and that's really all we can ask for, seeing as the situation we had starting today.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: It seems like you guys played well the first two days, but just haven't made as many putts and today they seemed to drop. Is that the case?

PHIL MICKELSON: I would agree with that.

DAVID TOMS: In a way, we are both similar type putters. If we make a couple, it gives that you confidence and we can make a bunch. That's what Phil was able to do today. There were many holes that I was on the green and didn't have to putt or anything. He was draining them from everywhere. I told him on 18 when he knocked it in, I said, "You don't have to worry, I had that putt anyway."

It was fantastic. I love to see golf played at that level, even though I'm a world-ranked player myself, to see somebody play at that level and to see him get it going and get it in the zone like everybody talks about, I think it was not only fun for me, I know it was fun for the fans that were out there. They got behind us, and I think that helped a lot. It's kind of like you got up there and you've got 10 or 12 feet and you didn't want to let them down. They were getting excited and cheering for us. I know it helped us.

Q. You'll probably be playing last tomorrow, will you be using the same strategy as yesterday?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, we will. David will tee off on 1 and I'll play the even holes.

DAVID TOMS: I think that's the best thing for us. Actually, we had ourselves in position the first day of alternate-shot. We just didn't capitalize on all of the shots we had. The difference was, we just didn't make the putts when we had them.

I feel like, I know that he's confident in the way that he's rolling the ball right now. I feel good with the putter, too. If we could just set ourselves up like we did the first round of alternate-shot, I think we can post a low score.

Q. How would you rate this round with great ones you've had in your career?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I certainly made a lot of birdies today, but there were some holes that I was out of. When I walked away from, let's say, the fourth hole after having not birdied but David birdied it; and when I bogeyed 5 and David made a clutch par putt, I still had the momentum as though I had made the par or as though I had made the birdie on 4. And so that momentum carried us into the back side.

The real turning point, I felt was on No. 8 when I hit a really good drive and David looked like he might be out of the hole. I hit such a bad second shot and made a 5, but David came up with a great up-and-down from up by the green, made a birdie and it felt like I made birdie and it gave me that same momentum. Going into the back side when I started to make a couple of putts, I had that momentum from the front side.

So although I played well today, a lot of the holes that I was out of, are the holes that David stepped up and knocked it a couple feet and made birdie and kept the round going.

Q. Did you ever pick up today?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yeah. I didn't finish out every hole. When I missed the birdie putt on 14, David knocked it in. When I missed the birdie putt on 15, David made par. So, yeah.

Q. What's the difference from the first two days, you came on really strong today; was that a strategy ?

PHIL MICKELSON: The difference from the first two days was we didn't make any putts and today we made some putts. We played very well the first two days, also. We played the same, but we just made a lot more putts today.

Q. How are you feeling the support of the people?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, the people here have treated us excellent. We have really enjoyed our stay.

During the round, we have really enjoyed the enthusiasm that the people here have shown, for not just our team but the entire tournament. It's been very exciting.

Q. What do you think about the golf course compared to the other courses?

PHIL MICKELSON: The golf course is a wonderful golf course and the reason the scores are so low is because you have a partner. It's a wonderful course to play a Tour event, especially a World Golf Championship.

Q. You were 15-under today, but what were your expectations this morning coming out?

PHIL MICKELSON: The way I saw it was we were seven back and I figured the lead was going to shoot around 10 or 11. So for every one we could get past 10 or 11 we could make up a shot and that was our mindset. So once we got to 10 or 11 I felt like then we started to improve on our seven-shot deficit, and we didn't get it all back, obviously but we were able to get four or five of it back, maybe just four of it -- I haven't seen where they finished, but that's very difficult to do in best-ball because the other teams are not going to make bogey. So we have to make birdies to gain ground. I actually think in alternate-shot, it's an easier format to make up those types of shots because the lead can come back; and if you get a hot hand, you can shoot pretty low.

Q. In this tournament, is it better to come from behind or being at the top?

DAVID TOMS: Always like to be ahead. Any time you can beat the best players and you're ahead of them the whole time and you play your own game and you don't think about the guys behind you, I mean, why would you not want to be in the lead?

But still, like Phil said, if we can post a score tomorrow, put something up there, at least get it going early to where those guys know that we are going to be there in the end, I see no reason why we can't come back and win this thing.

I think that the first couple of round we put a lot of pressure -- at least I know I did, and I think he did the same thing. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform and to make the putt when you had to. Today it seemed like we were more relaxed, probably because we were so far back and we just went out there and played, played golf, and the results were there in the end.

Q. Inaudible?

PHIL MICKELSON: I felt like in the Ryder Cup when David and I played together, we made a very good team and we were going to represent the United States as best we could. I felt that heading into the World Cup, we would be every bit as strong a team as if I were to have played it with Tiger.

Tiger and I get along great, and obviously he's the best player in the world. Sometimes when we play together or when we have played together in tournaments, we haven't played our best. I tend to play better when I play with David, and I think that started to come out today.

Q. How important is it for the United States, your country, this tournament, as compared to a country like Fiji?

PHIL MICKELSON: We've been very fortunate to have many opportunities to represent the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. Previously the Dunhill Cup was an opportunity, may not be as unique of an opportunity for the United States. But the World Cup has always been a very integral part of the history of the game of golf. And to represent your country with only two people -- when only two people can represent the United States, that's a great honor for those two people. David and I feel that it is very prestigious to have that opportunity to represent the United States this week.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Let's go over your birdies and eagle quickly. Phil, you started out with birdies on the first three.

PHIL MICKELSON: No. 1, I hit a 3-wood and a gap wedge to 8 feet.

2, I hit a driver in the rough and a 9-iron out to a foot.

3, I hit a driver and a 4-iron to six feet but I missed it; so 2-putt, birdie.

4, David hit driver, sand wedge to six feet, birdie -- actually it was four feet, pretty close.

DAVID TOMS: Yeah, give me some credit here. (Laughter.)

PHIL MICKELSON: No. 5, we actually made par but it was a very big par because both of us hit in the bunker David made a six- or seven-footer for par that kept us going.

Birdied 7. I hit driver, sand wedge to three feet.

8, David hit driver, 5-iron just short of the green right. Chipped up to three or four feet and made it for birdie.

10, I hit driver, 2-iron, 25 feet.

No. 11, I hit driver, sand wedge to a foot.

12, I hit driver, 3-wood way right of the green but chipped up to 15 feet and made it for birdie.

13, I tried hit driver off the tee and tried to hit it in the front bunker hit a good bunker shot to a couple of inches and tapped in for a birdie.

14, David hit driver, pitching wedge to three feet for birdie.

16, I hit 3-wood and a gap wedge, to about ten feet.

17, I hit a pitching wedge to about ten feet.

18, I hit 3-wood, pitching wedge to about 15 feet.

Q. This tournament represents the top players in the world but it's also a showcase for tourism. I know that you played a couple of years ago in Los Cabos with Sergio Garcia, so you've had a couple of experiences playing in Mexico. Can you relate how this can be for tourism in Mexico?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, in the last ten years, the golf in Mexico has become world class. We've had many top designers -- Jack Nicklaus has many golf courses down here, as does Pete Dye and Tom Weiskopf and Tom Fazio. Many of the top architects have made their way down here, creating a great avenue or venue to come and play on a vacation, making this along with the wonderful hotels that you have here in every city, it's a great place to come and play golf and have a great golf vacation now.

Q. You guys play in relatively huge galleries, but this is modest, I would say. Is this a pleasure or are you tuned in and it doesn't make a difference?

DAVID TOMS: You're trying to do your best, but like I said, the crowd here has been very supportive and very vocal in their support. It sounds like there are more of them out there than there actually are because they are so into it. A lot of times in the States, some of our TOUR events are kind of the place to-see-and-be-seen kind of thing, but they are here they are all into the golf. It's nice. They have been great fans, very enthusiastic and hopefully we can have a good day for them tomorrow.

Q. We know that "these guys are good" and we just reconfirmed that. Mexican golfers really love this game, and golf is blooming in Mexico. When kids here are asking you to sign balls, does it mean something to you, knowing what you are doing for the Mexican people?

PHIL MICKELSON: I appreciate you saying that. It is certainly a great opportunity for us to be able to have an influence on a child or another potential golfer.

Q. If you could, would you come down to play in Mexico in another city?

PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. I've played in Mexico a bunch. I love going to the different cities in Mexico. Cabo is a very desert-oriented city; this is very tropical. There's a lot of beautiful areas.

End of FastScripts....

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