home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 14, 2009

Phil Mickelson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Phil Mickelson, thanks for joining. Thank you for joining us, currently the 54-hole leader along with Nick Watney at the CA Championship. Looking for your second win of the year, thoughts on three really good days for you.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's been a fun three days and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's round. Nick Watney is playing well and putting great. It will be a tough but fun day tomorrow.

Q. It seemed like from about the ninth hole on, you had about six, seven, eight holes in a row where you were within ten, 12 feet of the hole; a really good stretch of iron play. I wonder if you could speak to that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I would have taken a 69 at start of the day, because it was tougher and windier; but midway through the rounds, I had opportunities to make that round a low round, and a couple putts didn't fall.
I thought I hit good putts and it could have gone either way: A putt on 10 I thought was breaking right in there; I couldn't have hit a better putt on 14, I thought that was going to track right in the middle, and just little things like that that turned, could, have turned this round of 69 into something really special. But I'll certainly take 69.

Q. Do you see that stretch as a negative or a positive? You were all over the flag for a good two hours.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't see how it would be a negative. I hit a lot of good shots and I feel confident in my game heading into tomorrow.

Q. Phil, is it a match-play-type situation with you guys with a significant lead on rest of the pack; are you watching him as much as you are watching the leaderboard?
PHIL MICKELSON: We've seen a lot of guys shoot seven, 8-under par; it's out there today. Guys that are three or four shots back, if they shoot that, they can get right back into contention. So Nick and I need to play well to separate ourselves from the rest of the field, and if we are able to do that, it could turn into a match-play situation. But right now, I don't think we can approach it like that.

Q. Had Butch ever said much to you about Nick, and did you ever run into him while you were working with Butch at all or heard much about how he's progressed in the last several months?
PHIL MICKELSON: I saw him when I was working with Butch in the off-season. Nick is one of the nicest guys we have on TOUR and is one of the strongest good, young players we have coming up. He hits it hard and a long ways. He has a complete game and is a good, solid iron player as well as good short game, chipping and putting. There's really not any weaknesses in his game. He's already won this year and played tough down the stretch in that win and he's a tough competitor.

Q. Could you see on 13, if that ball was about to go in, how was your view, and if it had gone in, how would that have changed your attitude?
PHIL MICKELSON: It probably would not have changed much except I would be a shot in the lead now. I couldn't see it that well after the first bounce. I thought after the first bounce it was going to be pretty good, but with the glare I couldn't see what happened.

Q. 5-iron?

Q. For those of us who have never been there, what's it like to be playing this freed up and this confident and just kind of going with the flow and letting your hair down and having so much fun?
PHIL MICKELSON: It certainly fun. It's fun because I feel like I'm playing without fear of a big miss. I certainly have missed some big -- I've had some shots that have been a little squirrely, and very square, I don't feel like it's going to happen and I feel very confident standing up on the 14th hole and hitting driver where I have L-wedge in and those type of tee shots have made a world of difference. I can't wait to play the rest of the year like that.

Q. There are a lot of youngsters coming through, Nick Watney is one at the moment and Rory McIlroy springs to mind; do you see a future No. 1 taking over for Tiger at some point?
PHIL MICKELSON: Eventually, there are going to be people who replace myself, Tiger, Ernie, Vijay, the guys that have been in the top 5 or ten in the World Rankings the last however many years. Guys are going to come in and replace those players.
I think eventually it will happen, but I just don't know if those are the guys; maybe. Will it happen in the next couple of years? Might happen in the next 15 years. I know that I'm going to try to stop it from happening and I know Tiger is, too, and I know Vijay has been working hard; here he is in his mid to late 40s and playing tremendous golf. We are trying to hold these guys off, but it's just a matter of time before they start to overtake a lot of us.

Q. Nick said he enjoyed the conversational part of the round talking about college basketball and the NFL; do you think tomorrow there will be more or less of that, or are you comfortable enough with each other that you'll enjoy that aspect tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I like Nick a lot, and not only do I have respect for him as a player, but as a person, too. We had fun today.
I would expect that he and I would be able to separate competition from personal relationship and be able to converse throughout the round and have a good time, as well as compete against each other.
But if that helped him in any way, then I will probably stop it tomorrow -- (laughter). No, I don't know. (Laughter).

Q. On 17 you looked long and hard at several options; what did you think was there and what ultimately made you kind of take your medicine and go that way?
PHIL MICKELSON: There were bushes in front of me that I had to get up quick, and I didn't feel like -- I felt like if I tried to hit a shot that didn't get up quick it, could go right in that bush and stay there, and I could be looking at a seven.
So I tried to -- I didn't feel like a five was going to hurt me that much. There was a good chance that I might get that up-and-down from the fairway, so I just hit a sand wedge to get up over those bushes and get it back in play. Every now and then, I'll make a smart play. (Laughter).

Q. You've talked this year about trying to take right out of play for you. You can't play it on the right side. Yesterday when you went right on 12, I think it was, when you have a shot like that, does it -- what does it do to your psyche at all? Do you just look at that as a one-off or does it concern you at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know that one, I had to let go, because I just wasn't there in that shot, and I should have backed away, but I just didn't and I have to let that one go, because I haven't hit a shot like that in quite some time.
Well, I hit one like that in L.A. in the final round on 3, but since then that was the last time I hit a shot like that.

Q. Does it spook you?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I stood up on 12 and hit a great drive, so it wasn't something that lingered.

Q. Butch was mentioning out in the hallway a little while ago, it's the two-year anniversary of the time you guys first started working together. I'm trying to remember, off on the Gold Course or whatever, do you feel like all of the pieces have come together now to where you don't have to connect the dots and it's a natural process and you can stand there and whale away versus swing keys and whatnot?
PHIL MICKELSON: I do. We are basically done on our changes. I've learned a lot from him. It's taken some time to be able to increase clubhead speed and still match it up with my shot -- match it up with my swing, if you will.
I've learned from him and have made a few changes and been able to shorten up the swing, but still accelerate faster and pick up more clubhead speed.
We are basically done with our changes and it's basically keeping things in check. We have been able to do two things now, take the right side out of play, but also take the left side out of play, which is why I was able to stand up on 18 and know that drive was going to go either in the fairway or to the right and I could swing aggressively. That has been the real key, being able to take either side out of play now.

Q. Somewhat of a continuation on that, do you ever see that when television announcers are analyzing your swing and why you make the misses, as they did in L.A.; what do you think about that? Do you scratch your head?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I don't pay any attention.
Look, it's not about pretty. It's not about pretty or looking good. It's about getting the job done. It's about shooting the lowest score and making birdies and doing whatever you can to win. I don't care what it looks like. I just care about getting it done.

Q. I wasn't out on the range today but curious how far away you and Nick are, and where's Butch? Out of courtesy, do you get as close to Nick as you can just to keep Butch from having to work up a sweat?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, we certainly do that. Nick does the 25-minute pre-round warm up, so he hits all of 11 shots before he goes and plays. (Laughter).
So he requires about 90 seconds from Butch, and I'll end up taking the other however many minutes. Right now it's been great, because I don't feel like we've really been working on anything. It's just been keeping an eye on it and making sure that I'm doing what we've worked on.

Q. When you get through with your round, how much do you enjoy being able to go over it with Butch like you did tonight?
PHIL MICKELSON: We don't do it too much. We'll go over a few shots. The real key is picking the misses and identifying what the problem was, what the cause was, because then I'm able to work on it the next day on the range. I don't really practice much after the round.
That's been nice. But I've learned a lot from him these last two years. I feel comfortable now with our changes, and I don't want to say that we are done, because we are always fine-tuning, but there's no more overhaul. It's just maintaining what we've done.

Q. When were you done, during the off-season, in terms of reaching the actual changing process?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, the start of the year, just before the year started.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you, Phil.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297