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July 29, 2022

Charles Howell

Phil Mickelson

Patrick Reed

Henrik Stenson

Bedminster, New Jersey, USA

Trump Bedminster

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to flash interviews, Round 1 of the LIV Golf Invitational: Bedminster. We're joined by Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed and Charles Howell III. Over to you guys.

Q. Patrick, Henrik, 64 each. Can you just talk about your round? Patrick, obviously you ran up a stretch there of six birdies in seven holes.

PATRICK REED: Yeah, just kind of felt like I was putting the ball in the right place, and around a golf course like this, even though the greens are relatively large you've got to put the ball in the right spots. I felt like I left myself below the hole most of the day so I was able to be aggressive with the putter, and with how pure these greens are, once one goes in, it kind of felt like I was able to kind of get on that run.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I was playing pretty solid. Hit most of the fairways I'd say. Hit some really good iron shots, gave myself plenty of opportunities. Unlike Patrick, I did end up on the high side a couple of times, and even though I had really short birdie putts, had to be very cautious. The greens are running really quickly. They're pure and quick, and then you've got the slope on top of that.

Had a couple probably about eight, ten feet, but on the high side, and you just have to dribble it down and accept that it's not going to be the same kind of look for birdie that you might have if you were putting up the hill. But very pleased with the first round.

Q. Phil, was it disappointing to get heckled on the first hole? I saw you had to step away from your ball.

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I had a really good day. The people here have always been great. They've really treated me well. I had a really good day with the fans. With Henrik playing well, there was a lot of good things going on.

I'm just a little frustrated with my game, to be honest. It doesn't feel that far off. I don't feel lost, I'm just not scoring. To three-putt the last two holes with makeable birdies, I'm just frustrated because I expect more of myself. I'm going to work on it until I get it fixed.

Q. Was it a little strange to see that because you are pretty beloved in this area and you did get a lot of support out there otherwise.

PHIL MICKELSON: Like I said, I think I've always enjoyed playing in this area. We had a great day thereafter. I thought it was a good day all around. I didn't really think much of it.

Q. Just the state of your game, it has been a little bit of a struggle the past couple of months.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it really has been. I don't know what to say. It's just stupid stuff like I'm in a great spot on the 15th hole, par-5, to make birdie and I make bogey. It's just stupid stuff I've been doing.

It's frustrating because I don't feel lost. I don't feel like I'm hitting terrible shots, but I'm just not scoring.

HENRIK STENSON: I guess it's called golf.

Q. Patrick, I know it's only been a few events you've been here, but you seem a lot happier since you've made the jump. What has that done to your game, not only game but just are you as comfortable as you seem to everybody else now that you're with LIV Golf?

PATRICK REED: Yeah, I've always been comfortable no matter where I've played, but to be out here and have the support that we have out here, not just with the players but the whole staff and the courses we go to, the spectators we have and just being a part of something new and being a part of something that I feel like is refreshing.

Let's be honest, to me team golf is always amazing, always fun. To be a part of a team that we have four Americans on our team, it's one of those things that it's kind of like one of those mini-team events. I can go out there and play for something other than just myself; I'm playing for my teammates.

I love being able to look up at that leaderboard and not just see my name but also look for my guys, seeing, all right, what do we need to do to try to stay atop that leaderboard. It just gives you a little bit more edge and a little bit more fire to go out there and play.

Q. Henrik and Charles, you said you had talked to other players about their experiences at LIV before you came out here to play. What did you make of your first round? Did it live up to your expectations that you had or what do you take away from your first round here at LIV?

CHARLES HOWELL III: Well, all the feedback I had got from multiple players, managers, et cetera, was just this, it was fun, the music playing, I really liked that. I play a lot of professional events, never played with that. It was actually really fun.

It was relaxed, but the golf course is challenging and tough. It's not exactly relaxing for us standing up here, but no, listen, it was wonderful. Once we started it was a golf tournament again on a hard golf course.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, pretty much the same. Yeah, it is a tough golf course, and I mean, I felt extremely focused today, and I was right into my game. You can't ease off on your concentration around here. Yeah, good crowd support out there, and like I said, it's only the first round that we've played, so yeah, I should be able to give you better feedback as we move along and I've played a few more rounds.

If I continue to shoot 7-under it's going to be a good one.

Q. Patrick and Phil, how has LIV kind of grown in the first couple events? The league is obviously growing and moving very fast. I'm curious what you guys have seen from a day-to-day, tournament-to-tournament aspect what it's been like?

PATRICK REED: Me personally, my first event was obviously Portland, and coming here and having -- trying out having music during competition for me is fine. I listen to music every time I practice, every time I play, so it's something new, something exciting.

I think the fans enjoy it. They get a little more relaxed, kind of get more pumped up, especially if you're playing well.

Then on top of it, from Portland to here and seeing the other guys that have joined like these two, it's just getting stronger and stronger.

At the end of the day, you keep on adding the strength of fields and the caliber of players we have, it doesn't matter what we're doing. You have to grind, you have to focus, you have to be 110 percent in in order to have a chance to win golf tournaments.

I probably can speak for all of us up here; there's nothing like going out and having a chance late Sunday to win a golf tournament and try to earn a trophy.

PHIL MICKELSON: I think the great thing about LIV is that it's got the ability to adapt, make adjustments and change things and make it better instantaneously. I think that's a big thing.

The reason why I'm so high on LIV Golf is it addresses the two areas that for the 30 years I've played the TOUR, they have tried and struggled, meaning LIV has a chance to bring professional golf throughout the world. Players here, when they sign up, we receive a ton of money, and we give up our schedule and we commit to wherever they hold the events we're going to go and we're going to be there, and then they have the ability to move professional golf throughout the world. I think that's a really big thing as we try to grow the game of golf throughout the world.

We might not feel it here in the United States, but globally I think that's going to be a big impact.

The other thing is we as a game and sport, the viewership has gone up five years to the average age, I believe, of 64, and we have to target younger generation. I think that the way that's going to happen is two things. One, it's not a 12-hour day, having to watch golf all day. You've got a four-and-a-half-hour window.

Second, when I think a streaming partner comes about, I think it's going to revolutionize the way golf is viewed, because you'll have no commercials and you'll have shot after shot after shot and it will capture that younger generation's attention span. We'll open up a lot of opportunities to get the younger generation, which again, for 30 years we've tried to do and it's gone the other way.

I think LIV Golf addresses two really big areas, and that's not even talking about the team aspect, which is a whole intangible that is difficult for anybody to grasp, but I notice how people like to identify with a team rather than just individuals, and so that's a whole -- that's something I don't fully grasp how big that could be, but that's in addition to those two main areas that I'm talking about that I think we're going to see a lot of benefits in the game because of.

Q. Henrik, it's obviously been -- I don't know if it's tumultuous, but the last two weeks probably have not been that easy. You mentioned you had great focus today. Were you fearful that you wouldn't have that or was it just nice to get back to playing golf?

HENRIK STENSON: It's nice to be out there playing golf, and yeah, of course it's been a busy couple of weeks and not the most fun, but we keep our head down and focus on the golf, and yeah, just very pleased to have the ability to go out there and do that and play such a solid round. It's the best I've played all year, and yeah, I'll take a lot of credit from that.

Q. Phil, can you take us through the gorilla video, the process?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, eight months ago my wife -- we planned a trip for my wife's 50th birthday, which was the end of May, and we ended up spending a few days in a Rwanda and then we went to Tanzania. But that video was just a random shot. It looked like it was a preserve, but one day out of a month the gorillas come out of a jungle. There's like a wall there and they come out of the jungle and eat some of the eucalyptus trees for the salt and the stem, and we were lucky enough to see them on that day because we had a much better view of the entire family. Amy is all excited because a little baby gorilla came up to her and kind of bumped into her. She seems to have that effect on all animals. They all come to her. But it was a really special trip for us.

HENRIK STENSON: Did the gorilla bring a birthday present for her?

PHIL MICKELSON: They sang happy birthday for her.

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