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May 31, 2006

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: I really like the golf course here, I know I haven't been back, it's just been scheduling. I was going to make it here last year, and wasn't able to get here in time, but get hereby Monday night, but this year I'm looking forward to it, it starts my stretch now, through the U.S. Open, and what a great place to start at Muirfield Village.

Q. Jack changed his course quite a bit, what have you heard about it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I've seen some of it on TV. I have Bones out here who's gone out and mapped the course. It looks like it's going to play very similar to the way it has in the past, other than maybe a couple of bunker changes here and there or slight green changes, but it looks terrific.

Q. What's your assessment of the course?

PHIL MICKELSON: Over at Winged Foot, it's tough. It's a very tough golf course. Obviously we know the USGA is going to make it difficult. The rough is thicker and deeper than I've seen it. But I really like the layered rough. In the past you were rewarded for missing a shot with a larger margin of error. If you could hit it into the people, you were much better off than missing the fairway by a yard. Now with the layered rough it's imperative that you keep it, if you do miss a fairway, just off the fairway, because that thick rough is so high that there were sometimes it would take two or three shots just to get it back to the fairway. We'll see a lot of doubles and triples out of that rough, especially given the fact that they're going to keep the people further away. That thick rough won't get trampled down.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: I can always reach the people. If you reach the people now you'll be in the trees and it will be much more difficult to get it back to the fairway, because you have to chip it over the chick rough and get it stopped in a narrow fairway under the trees.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: It wasn't like Carnoustie like it wrapped around and they hadn't cut it for 1 year. They've ^money it perfectly right across the top, probably six inches, just like they said. Very consistent. But the third cut is. But it was thicker than I've seen it. It looks like when the ball would go to the bottom, the grass would just grow over it. It was very difficult.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, yeah, the guy who wins won't be hitting it there. He'll be hitting it in the short stuff or if he ^dismiss it in the shorter cut. However, that thick grass was all around the green, they didn't layer it around the green, the six inch rough around the green.

Q. Do you like it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Do I like it? I'm not in favor of it around the green as much, because it takes the short game out of play. But I think that if you miss it right or if you hit a number of greens you'll be okay.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, oh, yeah.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: No, but I have a hard time seeing it being anymore difficult than Shinnecock in '04 on the weekend. And I think the USGA can make it as hard as they want. Winged Foot is such a good course that it won't require ridiculous things to keep par a good score. In looking at it now, I don't see how guys are going to shoot under par. Of course I say that every open, and every open guys are under par the first couple of rounds.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: No, you have to hit driver.

Q. Actually, yesterday Jack said he thought the turning point for you was The Presidents Cup?

PHIL MICKELSON: That was certainly the low point, so it only could get better.

Q. (Inaudible) what went into the decision to come back here?

PHIL MICKELSON: I've been trying to come back, and I loved playing here, it's just that in between The Masters and the U.S. Open there are eight really good tournaments, and this has just been the one that has fallen out the last couple of years. But last year I was going to come. I told Jack I was going to come, and I didn't realize there was a Tuesday Pro Am, and I couldn't get here Monday night. And so that was the problem. But I was able to get in last night, no problem, and looking forward to playing here.

Q. The sand traps, they're going to do something different for the first time here at this tournament, the raking. It's really going to be a penalty. What do you hear about that, what are your thoughts?

PHIL MICKELSON: It is a hazard and nothing says that the bunkers need to be immaculate. Bobby Jones, back in the 20s, I believe, played Oakmont when they were using those furrowed rakes, and he said that he didn't like it, because it took the skill out of the game. Now, it just depends how bad a lie. Is there a chance we can hit a shot out of it? Or is it going to be just ridiculous where you're lucky to get it on the green, and it takes the skill out of it? So it's a fine line between the two. But I don't mind making a bunker a hazard, because it is.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, but it's certainly been flattering. And Amy and I have had a lot of fun coming back to the northeast and playing there.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes. I hit 4 iron, good, solid 4 iron, and then about a 50 or 60 yard pitch. It was perfect.

Q. Do you think that length (inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: I will most likely, unless it's downwind and the greens are soft. I plan on hitting a 4 iron and having about a 50 yard pitch.

Q. There's a lot of superstition in every sport. Do you have anything quirky that you do?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I try not to be superstitious, if I have a coin that I made a couple of putts with, I'll use a different one. I don't want to be superstitious, I almost go the other way with it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't feel as though past performances are going to dictate my performance at Winged Foot. But I like the way I've prepared for the tournament. I feel like I have a good game plan going in. I feel like I've got the right shots that I've been working on, the right equipment to attack it and I think that I'll be ready here in a couple of weeks. I've got some work to do on my game to get it sharp, but I should be able to get ready in the next couple of weeks.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: It's been great.

Q. What's it like being you now?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's been fun. Winning The Masters obviously makes it a great year, if I don't play well the rest of the year. But I also see it as a great opportunity to do something even more special. The most majors I've won and one. I'm going to try to double that total, at least. And as I have had success I'm been more inclined to work harder and prepare harder for upcoming majors, because it has been so enjoyable.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I thought that New Orleans was a very emotional week, seeing the city and being there. It was an emotional week for us as a family, all the players there. And it took a little more out of me and I was just tired. I ended up it took a lot out of the kids. We ^wound up withdrawing from the Byron Nelson, got our kids back in school another week, had a week off where we hadn't planned anything to rest. Now I'm excited to get back out and play. I have the energy and the motivation to go work hard and practice. It was tough there for a week or two. And now after a nice little relaxing break I'm ready to get back at it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: What's different? I would say there's more similarities. We're going back to New York. Golf courses are pretty similar and I would say there are more similarities than differences.

End of FastScripts.

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