September 18, 2004
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN
JULIUS MASON: Phil Mickelson, David Toms. Phil, why don't you begin, give us some thoughts on your afternoon and we'll go to David for some thoughts and we'll go to Q&A, please.
PHIL MICKELSON: Why don't we just go to Q&A. Fire away.
JULIUS MASON: Good answer.
Q. You were preached at to play loose last night heading into today. How do you play loose with this kind of deficit for tomorrow?
DAVID TOMS: Well, I certainly believe if we play tight, it's going to be even bigger by the time we get done. We have to play that way. Just, we can see it as teammates from the sidelines when we are not playing and we can feel it on the golf course when we are playing. You know, we feel like we maybe are playing like we have everything to lose and nothing to gain. I don't know whether we see it on TV every night or we read about it in the paper every day, I don't know what it is, but when we play like we know how to play and we play like we're having fun and we're free-wheeling it, I know we played like that today and we sure played a lot better.
Q. You are the most successful team from the last Ryder Cup, yet it's taken till the second afternoon for you to team up again. Obviously Hal's call, but did you have any say in the matter?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think we both liked the pairings that we had. I think we both thought it was a good idea. I think it was also a great learning experience for us, because yesterday, we all approached the round so intense. We want to win this thing so bad, we are under constant scrutiny and ridicule. Yet, we know that we can really play well and we fight. We just fight it. And we don't play loose, we don't play upbeat. And I was looking at my body language, I was looking at all of the players body language but mine in particular because I had such a tough day yesterday. I was watching how I was walking down the fairway, I wasn't smiling, I wasn't having the normal enjoyment during the round that I have when I played well at all of the majors. I was steering the ball. I just felt like I couldn't find the fairway. I felt like I just didn't feel like I was swinging the club. And I came out today and saw the guys in the morning play a little looser, play a little freer, make some birdies. I went to the range and all of the sudden the golf swing loosened up and I played great today. David and I kept the atmosphere loose, we told jokes and just had a fun time and tried not to worry about the pressure and the importance of our point and we ended up playing much better. Now I think this has been a great learning experience for us because it's taken us a while to see from the outside looking in how tight we play and how we play very controlled. We try to not make mistakes, as opposed to try to hit great shots. Hal pointed that out very effectively last night. We saw just the opposite of the European players, how they try to make shots, how they try to win holes, make things happen, as opposed to try not to hit bad shots.
Q. I talked to a lot of fans out there and they really wanted to show you support today and I was wondering how did that make you feel? Did you relish it or try to block it out and focus on your match?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well it felt great. I had a brutal night last night. I didn't sleep at all. I felt like I let not just my teammates down but also all of the fans and everybody who is supporting the U.S. Team. Boy, it's a miserable feeling. When I came out to try to show the support for the guys this morning and show them that we are all behind them even though we weren't playing, when I would walk down fairways, I felt the support from the spectators and it made me feel good because I felt like I was letting everybody down and they were still lifting me up and it felt great.
Q. Do you think that the looseness that you two have been talking about that you saw in the European Team, do you think some of that might have been created by Bernhard Langer's instruction for what can be described as a charm offensive?
PHIL MICKELSON: We can't answer that. We are not in the locker room, we don't know what he's saying or how he's bringing it out. We need to play loose tomorrow. You're going to see some good golf from us. Now coming from six points back, is it possible? Sure, it's possible? Is it likely? Probably not. But you're going to see us play well. You're going to see some good golf from the U.S. side tomorrow. We are not going to be tight. We don't have anything to lose. We have for all intents and purposes lost the cup, but we can still win it. So you're going to see us play loose and try to win. It may not be enough because we have such a huge deficit to overcome, but we're going to have a good day tomorrow.
Q. When did you find out you were not playing this morning and what was your reaction to that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Last night I knew that I was not going to play. It was very similar to '99 at Brookline. I played awful on Friday, I lost both points, lost a lot of confidence in my game. I had the morning off in '99 as I did today. It gave me an hour or two to go support the team, an hour or two to go work on my game to get sharp for the afternoon and I won both matches. It's been a plus. I think that guys can turn their games around if given a little bit of time, and whether voluntary or not, I was given that time this morning. I turned things around and was able to get a point for us. Now, we probably needed to get a few more, but at least I did all I could do. I was only responsible for one point today and I was able to get it with the help of David.
Q. We would be remiss to not ask your reaction because Hal had some very pointed comments about your club changes last night, we wanted to get your reaction to the suggestion that it wasn't good timing for you to change your equipment right before the Ryder Cup.
DAVID TOMS: Hold on. Hold on. He was my partner today. All I can tell you is I think he hit every fairway, and with that new equipment. He was not hitting irons off the tee. He was hitting Callaway drivers, 4-woods, 3-woods and he played damn good. So I'll answer your question for you.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. I'm going to say one other thing, too. When Bones gives me a reads or gives me a club and I feel like it's something different, eight times out of ten I'm wrong, but ten times out of ten I will take the club that I believe is right because I can live with my own mistakes. What I can't live with is going with somebody else's opinion and having it be wrong. I know that I made the right decision. Nobody else believes it but I can live with that. If I went the other way and played with something that everybody else thought was right but I didn't, that I can't live with. So it was a mistake I can live with. But it wasn't a mistake. (Laughter.)
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much.
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