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February 24, 2009

Phil Mickelson


MARK WILLIAMS: Phil Mickelson, welcome to the media room, Accenture Match Play Championship. Great start to the year winning last week and talk about your expectations this week and having Cabrera in the first round.
PHIL MICKELSON: We all as players love this event, and it's fun to be back playing the Match Play. We only get this once a year, really. Fortunately we have a chance in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup to play match play, but everybody loves this event. I know what a great player Angel Cabrera is. He won the Open there a year or two ago. But it'll be fun.
MARK WILLIAMS: I know you practiced this morning. Have you had a chance to see the golf course?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't been out there. I'll take a look as soon as we finish up. I hear it's quite challenging.

Q. It's hard when you haven't seen the course yet.
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what to say regarding the golf course yet.

Q. Can you just make something up?
PHIL MICKELSON: From what I can tell around the greens, it is very severe and will require some interesting shots, bump-and-runs, flops, spinning shots. It will be difficult to get the ball close to the hole, and I enjoy that. I like that challenge. I'm looking forward to that challenge. I feel like that gives me a slight advantage in some areas around the greens, being that they're so penalizing and difficult. If short game is a big factor, which I believe it will be, I believe that that's going to play into my strengths.

Q. What kind of lift did you get from Riviera, and do you think it's going to carry over?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, first of all, it feels great to win. You know, it feels great to be back in contention. It feels great to be able to pull through when I wasn't hitting some of my best shots and still find it there in the end.
I think that it's also kind of a platform for me to hopefully get better. I had a good session with Butch this morning trying to improve on it and build my game up as the coming six weeks come for Augusta.

Q. I'm not trying to accentuate on any negative, but of all these WGCs this is the one where you really haven't had a really good chance of winning. I don't think you've reached the semis, have you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't. I've played well a couple times and lost some matches on the last holes. I lost to Davis Love when I was playing very well, and there was one other year, too. I think I lost to David Toms one year.
There's times I've headed into this event playing some of my best golf and just couldn't pull through. I'm going to need a little bit of luck. As we saw last week I have some hot rounds, and I think I'll be okay on those days, but I've had some less than stellar rounds and I'll need a little bit of luck on those.
Over six rounds, six matches, nobody is going to play their best golf. You do need a little bit of a break when you don't have your best stuff.

Q. You need luck regardless, don't you?

Q. More than any other tournament?
PHIL MICKELSON: Probably so.

Q. Obviously coming back this week, Tiger, everybody seems to be focused on that. A lot of players have even said that they're pleased to see him back, and it gives a lift to the sport. I wonder what your take is on what has happened on the PGA TOUR and elsewhere in the world and perhaps the return giving the attention and a lift to the sport and to people in general.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's pretty evident to see what he has done for the game of golf. You know, I came here on a Tuesday practice round, and as I'm walking to the range I've never seen so many cameras and photographers and so forth, especially that early in the morning waiting for Tiger to get there.
It's amazing to me what he has done for our sport, and for us to have the most recognizable athlete in the world playing our sport is so fortunate for all of us, and we've all been able to benefit from it and to have him back is awesome.
We are going to have more of a challenge winning golf tournaments certainly, but also it will be more rewarding if we're able to win those.

Q. Have you played Angel at all in Presidents Cup in any singles or doubles matches?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, we have played together. We played together in singles, we've played against each other in Match Play here I think once or twice.
I remember we played The Presidents Cup two years ago, and I was one back on 18. I ended up birdieing 18 to force a playoff, and that's when DiMarco birdied the last hole to close it out. We've certainly had tough matches in the past, and he's an incredible player. He won the U.S. Open. He hits the ball a long ways, great feel around the greens. I think that's going to be his strength. He's very good with his short game and with the putter.

Q. You guys never finished that match, did you?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, we didn't, because it was closed out with DiMarco.

Q. You had him though, right?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was looking good on the first hole, but you just never know.

Q. If you could describe the differences of your mindset and approach opposing match play to stroke play.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, match play is like a final round every day, and you're starting even. You don't get the luxury of a four-shot lead like I had last week. You've got to go out and beat that player straight up every day.
But on the other hand you don't necessarily have to play your best if your opponent isn't playing his best. Again, it requires a little bit of fortune to be able to get through each match, but the great thing about this match play event is every day feels like a final round, so at the end of it, it's very draining.

Q. Did you look at your bracket at all? Do you know who you would play if you were to win?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't looked at it. Somebody was saying that the winner of Graeme McDowell against somebody, of his match. I'm not sure who he's playing tomorrow.

Q. I'm just curious.
PHIL MICKELSON: I actually try not to look at the brackets because when you start thinking ahead, it takes you out of your present match and your present focus, and so I really don't -- I almost make an effort not to look at it.
MARK WILLIAMS: Phil, we appreciate you coming in. Thank you for your time.

End of FastScripts

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