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June 13, 2019

Phil Mickelson

Pebble Beach, California

Q. Rory was just here and said the course is benign. If that is the case, would you agree with that? And are you disappointed to finish in the red?
PHIL MICKELSON: There was a good opportunity to score, and I played better than I shot. But there's three more days. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I'll play better each day. But I thought it was a great opportunity to get a few shots, and I just didn't do it.

Q. Are you disappointed in the nature of the two bogeys or not enough birdies?
PHIL MICKELSON: I missed two fairways with a 4- and 5-iron. I bogeyed 16 and 8 with irons off the tee. And those are two mistakes you can't do. But I thought I played a lot better than I scored, and hopefully I'll get better as the week goes on.

Q. What did you think of the pace of the greens?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, I thought -- I think this is the best I've ever seen, and I'm sure it will get progressively more difficult. But this was a chance to get a few under par, and I just didn't quite do it.

Q. USGA has obviously been taking it on the chin with some of the setups, especially last year at Shinnecock. Do you think they got it right?
PHIL MICKELSON: It seems like it. There's three more days. You don't know how the weather is going to be and all that stuff, but it seems like they did a heck of a job.

Q. There were a couple of putts, we're not up there, but the third green and on 7, is there more to those than we saw?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I missed a one-footer on 3. I flinched. My concentration, I should be able to tap that in. But I ended up -- anyway, I flinched on one.

Q. Do you adjust your outlook at all for tomorrow given on where you are right now?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've played this course for so many years, and I know how to shoot under par on it. I just need to shoot something in the 60s, and I'll be fine for the weekend. But today I was playing well enough to do that, and I didn't -- I hit a lot of good putts that I didn't make.

Q. Did you have a plan going into today, and did you ever deviate from that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's hard to go in with a preset plan because you don't know how the conditions are going to be, how the wind is going to be. You try to make adjustments.

But you try to plan for the two or three options you may have. And I stayed fairly consistent with that. The one time I was in between was on 6. I sometimes will hit a driver, sometimes I hit a 2-iron, depending on how I feel. I was 1-over and I ended up hitting driver. I got lucky. I pulled it a little bit and it stayed short and I made birdie. That was the only time I kind of played a little more aggressive than my game plan.

Q. Do you ever contemplate driver on 18 given where DJ hit it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. I'll hit driver there once or twice this week. I just didn't want to shoot myself out of the tournament on the 9th hole of the round when I could get there with iron off the tee. I hit 2-iron and had 3-wood in.

So I just didn't -- I didn't feel like it was the right time to take on that -- a one- or two-shot risk. It's really a two-shot risk because I don't get the drop up there most likely. There's a good chance it will enter by the tee box.

Q. To have up the score you did on a scorable day and still be six behind --
PHIL MICKELSON: It's not disappointing at all. You stay around par at the U.S. Open, you'll be okay. And I just need to go out and shoot something in the 60s tomorrow and I'll be in a good spot in the weekend. And I'm playing well enough to do it.

Q. Is it hard for you personally to downplay a sense of urgency when it comes to this event?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly that's going to be important. But the good news for me is I'm playing really well. It's the best I've played in a long time, certainly since the start of the year. If I'm patient, I'll get better as the week goes on. The goal is just to get within striking distance for Sunday.

Q. What positives can you take from today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm hitting a lot of good shots. I'm starting all my putts on my line. I've got to get a little more connected to the hole and get the ball in and score. But this is -- I think it's going to get better each day. I feel like I'm playing really well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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