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June 18, 2010

Phil Mickelson


Q. Would you talk about struggling with the putting in the practice round and yesterday, would you have thought a 66 was out there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought something in the 60s was out there and would get me into contention. I knew I needed to get off to a quick start because the birdie holes are the first seven and I needed to capitalize on that.
And I was able to -- I think that birdieing the second hole, even though it was only a 3-footer, it was uphill, I was able to be aggressive, roll it in, see a putt, a birdie putt go in and it just gave me some confidence. I ended up making a couple thereafter and it led to a good round.
I knew I had been putting well. It was just a minor tweak here or there that was going to make the difference, and it was just a slight adjustment in the setup and all of a sudden the ball starts rolling on line now.

Q. Padraig said he's not sure if he's seen you play better and if it was an easier looking 66 out there. He's never seen it. Can you -- did you feel that today as it was rolling on?
PHIL MICKELSON: I felt like I had a lot of easy pars, the holes that I didn't birdie were pretty easy pars. The greens that I missed I didn't have too difficult a chip shot. But for the most part I hit a lot of greens, and was able to again have easy pars.
It might be 40 or 50 feet, but 2-putts are easy chips, and so the holes that I didn't birdie, again, it felt like I wasn't overstressing the entire round trying to hit miraculous shots.

Q. Did you feel like maybe you left a couple out there?
PHIL MICKELSON: No. No. I wouldn't say that. I made a lot of putts. I had a lot of putts go in, and I was very fortunate. There was only one or two that you could look back and say, oh, that could have gone in. But for all the ones that actually did, no, I don't feel like I left any out there.

Q. Scores were high, but you went low. How do you explain that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Again, I just got hot with the putter. I was able to make some birdies on the birdie holes early on and then get through the tough holes with some pars.

Q. Were these greens in considerably better condition than they were yesterday. We heard a lot of complaining about it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. They're not Augusta smooth, no. But the big thing for me was leaving the ball underneath the hole. The putts I made they were all uphill. They were all putts I could be aggressive on and get them on, get them rolling on line. The one that I couldn't was the 4-footer on 9. And the ball kind of waffled off at the hole. It looked like it was going to go in and it just went off. And that's going to happen out here. But if you have uphill putts you can hit them firm enough to hold their line.

Q. How much time did you spend on the phone with Dave, and was there anything in particular that you came away with?
PHIL MICKELSON: We spent some time just kind of talking about the setup and so forth because I was getting a little kind of contorted, and it just -- that minor adjustment seemed to make the difference of getting the ball started on line.

Q. Are you surprised you're already under par? You said that over par you thought would probably win the Championship. Are you surprised that you've already made up the ground and you're under par?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I think it's going to get harder this weekend. I think today was a day to take advantage of it. Am I surprised? I don't know. If you asked me yesterday I would probably say yeah. But right now, no, I felt like I had some more birdie opportunities too.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think so. No. I think this is the greatest place for a golfer to hold an Open to be able to play one of the most beautiful golf courses and have it be in U.S. Open conditions. No, this is so much fun and I don't want the weekend to end. I want to keep playing. I can't wait to get out tomorrow for that 4:15 tee time in the afternoon, it's great.
I don't know, it's weird because Augusta I thought was late at 3. I mean 4 o'clock, I'm getting -- I'm driving home, getting the kids ready for doing their homework and getting ready for bed. So it will be awkward for us all.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I hope not, I hope it's the same thing. Get the ball in the fairway and get it on the green and make some putts.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I think guys who cherish the U.S. Open feel that way about Pebble Beach, and I think guys who love the British Open feel that way about St. Andrews.

Q. Would you compare your mindset now to what it was yesterday when you walked off the course?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know if it's mindset, but certainly my mood is better. Yeah, I'm a lot cheerier and I feel much better about my position in the tournament and heading into the weekend than I did after yesterday's round.
But I knew I was playing well. I knew I was putting well even though I putted terrible yesterday I knew it was close. And to be able to make that change and get it going I'm look looking forward to the weekend.

Q. What did you hit into 8, and how good did you feel about that birdie?
PHIL MICKELSON: I got a little close to that cliff. I hit a 5-iron for crying out loud and it almost went over. Had to have the marshal run up to see if it was okay. I hit wedge from there and hit it to about 15 feet.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: To the pin it was 164 to the pin.

Q. How much room did you have with the 5-iron? What did it go like 240?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, well it was a little bit downwind and it was more so than it had been. It had been left-to-right in the first two days and I had been fine, I had another 25, 30 yards or so and it had a little bit of help today, and it took a big bounce and came close. I might have to hit 6 tomorrow.

Q. Interesting blimp shot. Yeah. You were right on the edge there?

Q. I know you said you don't want to stop playing, when do you allow yourself because of your history with the U.S. Open to start thinking about winning and that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, that's not even in the mindset. I can't wait for tomorrow's round, I love just being on the golf course playing. I don't want the tournament to end. I want to just keep playing.

Q. You said it was going to be harder this weekend, in what ways do you expect?
PHIL MICKELSON: Typically the weekend of a U.S. Open the greens get firmer, the pin placements get tougher, the rough usually is not cut so it gross a little bit longer and consequently also with the field being cut in half, they don't have to be too worried about pace of play and so forth so it just gets more challenging.

Q. What do you do to kill time tomorrow until you get ready to come out here to prepare?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I'll have a practice section I'll come out here in the morning or something and have a practice session. The 4 o'clock tee time, I mean that's, it's cool, I'm glad I'm looking forward to that it's better than the 8 o'clock time.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: They get in tonight. So probably do what we did at Augusta and maybe go to breakfast, play a little chess with the kids and that.

End of FastScripts

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