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September 14, 2011

Phil Mickelson


Q. I guess everybody wants to know your opinion of the course after a year of settling in.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's in good shape. You know, this will be the last year we play here, so hopefully we'll make the most of it and then we'll move on. And the people of Chicago here have been great in supporting the game of golf, and hopefully we'll find another course that's a little more suitable here in the future for us, for this tournament.

Q. Is the conditioning better?
PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. Absolutely it's in good shape. That wasn't the gripe, about conditioning. Conditioning will come and go with courses, but it's good to see it's in good shape.

Q. Were you surprised at the level of criticism that came out of last year?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, no, not at all. It's unfortunate, but we all feel like the Jemsek family has done a lot for the game of golf, and this facility here provides great public golf for all players. I know we all wish that it had turned out differently. But there was a lot of other guys to choose from that probably could do the job, and maybe if they just start over, it could turn into something really special.

Q. If the TOUR were to lose Chicago, would that be a disappointment for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think the people here have supported golf for so many years. I think it's been a great place for us to play.

Q. What would you have done differently or what would you do if you could do it over?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've kind of gone into it. But for the most part, but I would have the four par-3s would not be the same club. That would be the first thing I would do. I'd have maybe four different clubs. I also think that when you look at -- when I ask a player like yourself or anybody, what's your favorite golf course and on that course what's your favorite hole, and if you think in your head what your favorite hole is, most of the time it's a par-3 under 150 yards, a lot of times it's a drivable par-4 and occasionally it'll be a reachable par-5. And this really doesn't have any of those. 15 is a reachable par-5, but it's overdone. That's like another thing.
There's really no shot-making here that's required. It doesn't really test our ability to maneuver the ball because the fronts of the greens are blocked, and the only shot is to hit a high flop shot that stops. But being able to maneuver it doesn't really matter. That's basic stuff. Chipping areas, shot value around the greens, penalties for certain misses, all that stuff wasn't really well thought out.
But tee to green and the property, it's got really great potential. I'd love to see like a Gil Hanse or a Crenshaw/Coore or Kyle Phillips or David Kidd or guys that really know what they're doing come in and create something special here because I think that's what the family and this facility deserve.

Q. Did the redesign make it easier then?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, a great golf course is a golf course that's challenging for the good player but playable for the average player, and I feel like this is the exact opposite. It's playable; it's fine for us. We don't have any problems with it. But the average guy just can't play it.

Q. Are you getting more accustomed to the long putter?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm enjoying it. The more I've spent time with it, the more I'm enjoying it, yeah.

Q. What does it add to your game and around the greens?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not giving shots away on short putts anymore. But again, I've only used it a couple weeks. It's not like I'm sold on it. But it's helped me not throw too many shots away around the greens. I feel like I'm putting short ones a lot better and starting to make some more mid range.

Q. Do you feel like it could be a long-term part of your game?
PHIL MICKELSON: Very possible, yeah, I'm probably going to spend more time with it in the off-season and see if I can get more accustomed to it, but so far I like it.

Q. Would it be better to have more belly or less belly?
PHIL MICKELSON: What are you trying to -- is that a fat joke? (Laughter.)
I don't know.

Q. Did you see your pairing?
PHIL MICKELSON: Woodland and Bubba?

Q. Are you prepared to hit first?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't mind. I don't mind hitting first. I will. I'll hit first certainly into the greens. I hope I'm hitting first off the tees. That would be good, too.

Q. What do you make of some of the young guys breaking through like Keegan?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's been great for the TOUR to get good young players having success. And the guys that we have coming up that have had success are quality guys. Brendan Steele won this year, really a quality person; Keegan Bradley now winning a major, that's terrific for the game, especially American golf; to see Webb Simpson win a couple of times, I mean, this guy is a very talented player and he's young and he's going to do a lot -- it's good to see American golf have good young players because for a while there we were taking some hits, and yet as a player you see this talent, and I'm glad to see it start coming out.

Q. Any idea if you had to vote right now who your Player of the Year would be?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't really thought about it yet, but there's certainly a number of people that you could argue.

Q. Is it harder to play well on a course you don't like?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, uh-uh. I played well last year here in the final round and finished, I think, eighth. I'm excited to play. I mean, I'm excited about playing because I feel like I'm starting to play well and hit it well. I'm looking forward to putting now just because I've got something different than I'm working with, and I'm looking forward to the chances on the greens, and I'm excited to play.

Q. How much does the long putter have a placebo effect on you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm just not the best guy to ask about the belly putter because I've only used it a couple weeks. I took some shortcuts there with Keegan helping me on how the thing works. But I haven't used it for years like those guys have to really know the intricacies of it and comment on whether or not it's really a better way to putt or not.
But I feel like I'm putting better from eight, ten feet on in, and so I like that.

Q. How did you like the week off before this week instead of next week? Did that work out for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was pretty cool with a week off before two more. But however we do it is fine, but I liked it.

Q. During the course of the year when you've had some kind of bad results at tournaments, were you surprised by it? In other words, did you show up at most of your tournaments expecting to play a certain way and it maybe didn't go well that week, or were there times where you knew you didn't have it?
PHIL MICKELSON: You mean this year?

Q. Yeah.
PHIL MICKELSON: This year tee to green I've played probably better than I have in my career, and on the greens and around the greens has been one of my worst. So what's happened is I've made a bunch of cuts and I've finished middle of the pack because I haven't made the putts that you need to make to get up in contention. And I've started to feel a slight turn there the last round, Sunday, where I made a lot of four-, five-, six-footers at Boston, and I spent the last week putting and I started to make more eight-, ten-, 12-footers, the ones you really need to make. I feel like if I have a good putting week, the way I've been striking it will start to come through. But it's not noticed until you shoot the scores, because all that matters in this game is what number you shoot.

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