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February 7, 2019

Phil Mickelson

Pebble Beach, California

Q. You're a hard guy to figure out. I saw you at the Desert Classic. I thought that was going to be a shake down cruise. You had a chance to win. Then the Waste Management Phoenix Open, I thought you could win and you missed the cut. You hit the driver beautifully today to start. So tell me about the round.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a really good solid round, good solid start, and we had beautiful weather and the golf course here is in spectacular shape. I think that one of the rules changes that came about where you can fix some areas of the green that were caused by other players made a big difference in this tournament for everybody, because around the hole you can smooth out some of the spike marks and indentations. And I think that made a big difference and I think that rule is really turning out to be a good one.

Q. Is it tough to differentiate between natural imperfections in the poa annua and golfer caused problems?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, because you can see the spikes. You can see the spike impression and it makes it pretty easy to identify.

Q. Tell me about your driver. Because sometimes stats change but ShotLink right now has you hitting every fairway?
PHIL MICKELSON: So history was made today. To the best of my knowledge it's taken me 27 years and a few months to hit all fairways in a single round in a competition. I may have done it before but I don't ever recall doing it.

Q. And the golf course is playing wider but I'm not going to take that away from you. You're still hitting your driver fine.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, let's not nitpick here. If you hit them all, that's all that matters.

Q. Do you think it's a break playing this golf course? You need to get off to a good start. This is the most scorable of the golf courses. And if we do get a lot of winds on Friday, Spyglass may be a little bit more protected over there.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's possible that's the case. But the great thing about Monterey Peninsula Country Club is that the fronts of the greens are open and you can run shots up on a number of holes and that makes it -- and the fairways are very generous -- which makes it more playable if you were to get some bad weather. So even though the course is exposed, the guys that get to play here in the tough conditions do have a chance to still score.

Q. Hitting all the fairways today, was that the kind of key to your round to be able to shoot 6-under?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was certainly a big part of it. You got to drive the ball well to be able to attack and I drove the ball very well today, obviously. I think history was made as far as my career. I don't think I've ever done that before, certainly in competition, so that was a big milestone for me. I putted very well too. My speed was off. I ran a number of putts by, but I made a lot of them coming back and made a lot of short ones.

Q. How big is this getting off to a hot start here at Monterey Peninsula Country Club with the weather coming in over the next few days?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's a big factor. You don't know how it's all going to play out but I think it's important to get off to a good start. So I was even through five or six holes and then I made a nice little run to shoot 6-under. And this was a day that we had great weather, the courses were very scorable, and so you need to take advantage of that.

Q. You have a history at Pebble Beach as a winner and a debut here as a pro, I believe in '92. Does Pebble Beach have some sort of special meaning to you whenever you're playing here?
PHIL MICKELSON: There's a few things that within our family that go back to this place where my grandfather grew up here and he was one of the original caddies in the caddie group. And he would go around here for 25, 30 cents a loop. And when we would talk about this place and what it meant to him growing up. And so there's an emotional tie to this place. I don't think it has anything to do with why I've played well here in the past, but you never know, it's just I always enjoy coming here.

Q. Is the history of Pebble, the fact that Nicklaus and Tiger and all, Watson won here, is that as much a part of the lore as the course itself?
PHIL MICKELSON: Maybe. I think that those tournaments you mentioned, those are U.S. Opens you're referring to, and that's a tournament that's alluded me throughout my history here and it just has a special feel.

Q. Why does this tournament bring out the best in your game?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's always at the start of the year where I'm fresh and ready and wanting to play well. I grew up on poa annua greens so it's a very natural grass for me, whereas a lot of guys who grew up and live on the East Coast, it can be a challenge. So I feel comfortable. I have had good putting rounds here and I just have been fortunate to play well here, I guess.

Q. The conditions are obviously going to be different in June but how can you use this tournament to try to prepare for it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know if you can. This is a separate event and separate conditions, separate shots, different shots that you're hitting, so I don't know if you can really prepare, other than to visualize it and see it.

Q. When do you start -- what's your grandfather's name?

Q. When do you start your preparation for the U.S. Open every year?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't thought about it. Probably not until right before it. It's not going to be anything like what we're seeing now. When we came back in 1998 and I ended up winning I think my first event here it was with that three-month gap and we came back and the greens were firm and fast and it was just a whole different golf course. And I don't think that there's really much you're going to gain by playing here for June. But they did do a nice thing where they have the fairway cuts the same as what the U.S. Open will be, even though the rough isn't as long and I think that's been a good thing for the guys that did show up to play here. That was nice of the tournament to do that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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