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August 6, 2010

Phil Mickelson


Q. Can you recover a little bit more on this course than you could in years past do you think?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think with the greens being soft, there are opportunities to salvage pars a little bit easier. For instance, I got up-and-down on 9, and where that pin is, the first skip is always going to go a little bit past, but because the greens were softer I was able to get it to spin back and end up making a four-footer. I thought 18 where I was in that front bunker in years past when that green is firm it'll hit on that downslope and run 15 feet by instead of sitting soft and tracking down there three feet. I thought because the greens were soft I was able to salvage par.
I didn't play great today. I was a little bit off. I hit some bad shots and I was able to salvage a lot of pars today. I didn't on 14. It got away from me a little bit. If I had made that four or five-footer it wouldn't have been too bad but by following it up with two birdies it salvaged the round.

Q. Did you have options on 14 in that bunker?
PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't have much because it was hard for me to go low under the trees because of the front lip. For me to get it over the lip I thought it would go up into the trees, so I tried to go over with a 9-iron.

Q. Where does the World Golf ranking sit on the number of priorities that you have?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, it would be -- obviously it would be cool. I'm not going to say it wouldn't. It would be something I would love to do and ultimately be regarded as No. 1 according to the rankings and so forth. And I know that I've got a great opportunity this week. I know that I'm playing well, and this is my best opportunity. I try not to think about it.
I want to come out and play well here, get in contention, get sharp, get focused, especially for next week, too. But also, this is a World Golf Championship event that means a lot, and I'd like to make a move this weekend.

Q. You've been asked about this for a couple months now but does it sharpen your focus a little bit knowing you're right there?
PHIL MICKELSON: It is and I've got some golf here. We have a lot of tournaments. I've got five or six events, Ryder Cup, so I've got a lot of golf here coming up, whereas over the summer, after the U.S. Open, you know, a couple weeks off, Scottish and British, a couple weeks off. So I feel like I'm playing two tournaments in a six-week stretch and I ended up not playing well in those two events. So I haven't been in the thick of it for a while and that's why I'm excited to be in contention here heading into this weekend.

Q. How have you sort of geared up? This has been a couple years now a lot of golf at the end of the year, all compressed, a lot of big tournaments. How do you gear up?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think as players, we can gear up for this stretch because we know there's a finish point and we know it comes to an end. I really like the way we're culminating this. I think it's important for the PGA TOUR in general to have more events where the top players play against each other, and we've done that. I think that that's been a really cool thing that has gone on the last few years. We have a World Golf Championship event here where the best players in the world are here, and the PGA Championship next week with one of the strongest fields in the game. And we've got our four playoff events.
So in a seven-week stretch we've got the best players competing six weeks, and I just think that it's important for us as a TOUR to have that where the best players in the world are playing against each other more often, so I like the way it's finished.

Q. Not to intrude on your private life, but can you tell us how your wife is feeling at the moment?
PHIL MICKELSON: She's doing much better, thank you. Things have been good. Long-term we're in much better shape. It's been an interesting 14, 15 months, but we're in a lot better position now, and we're very fortunate, thank you.

Q. Talk about 15.
PHIL MICKELSON: About the birdie? I tried to kind of cut a 4-iron into the left-to-right wind and hit it 25 feet and made the putt.

Q. I know there's 18 holes, but those last five with the double and then the two birdies and then hit a fan and then out of the trap, the bunker, talk a little bit about that maybe.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a little bit more interesting I thought the last five holes than all the stretch of pars there in the middle of the round. I think that gentleman learned the hazards of following me (laughter), and walking down in the landing area, I think that he might want to stay more by the tee next time.

Q. Do you carry extra gloves in your bags?
PHIL MICKELSON: I do, yeah. I carry a couple extra for that reason, yes.

Q. You said there was a very low round out there somewhere this weekend.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it's coming, I think.

Q. Looking at the way Rory McIlroy played today, he didn't have much luck on the greens the last four or five holes, is he the type of player you think --
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, he's fun to watch. He's an exciting player. He hit a little shot in one of these holes, he hit a little draw 9-iron to three feet on 8, just a beautiful shot that -- it's not the easiest shot on a downhill lie to hit a draw into a left to right wind, and he just hit it perfectly. It just went right through the air to three feet. He hits shots that a lot of guys aren't able to and I think that that makes him an exciting player to watch.

Q. You keep saying there's a low round out there for the week. Who's in it right now? There's a bunch of guys stacked up.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I haven't looked at a leaderboard to be honest. I only see the first wave, so I know 7 is leading and there's 6s and a few 5s and 4, but I didn't see any names really so I don't know who's up there. But anybody who's right around par is in it. If they can shoot 6-, 7-under par they're going to be right in the thick of it heading into Sunday.

Q. What do you remember about '04 at Whistling Straits?
PHIL MICKELSON: I had to birdie the last to get in a playoff, and I had a number of birdie opportunities on the back nine that would have gotten me in it, birdie putts on 12 and 15, and I ended up birdieing 16, the par-5. I remember a lot about the round. I had some opportunities, and it came to the last hole needing a birdie, and I ended up making a bogey.

Q. Did you like the course?
PHIL MICKELSON: Very much so, yeah.

Q. Word about Lee Westwood, you've just heard he's not playing?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, that's disappointing because he's been playing such great golf, second at the British and he's been playing great all year. I know it's not good for the tournament to have one of the best players in the world not be able to play.

Q. You've played so well here over the years but you just haven't been able to win. How would it be for you to win this tournament?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I have won it in '96 but it wasn't a World Golf event, and my most recent tournaments here have not been as good as I would like. So even though I had a great run here and played well for a number of years, my recent events have not been what I would expect. So it feels good to get back in contention.

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