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FEDEX ST. JUDE CLASSIC


June 5, 2013


Phil Mickelson


MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Q. What motivated you to play here this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I like playing the week before. I didn't play well at the Masters this year taking the week off. I know that for me to be sharp mentally especially into a tournament where the penalty for missing is so great, like the U.S. Open, it's important that I'm sharp and I'm ready to play.
This is a great golf course. The greens are small, they're difficult to get the ball stopped, and there are a lot of cool little shots around the greens. So the precision of the iron shot into the green as well as the importance of hitting fairways here is a similar style of golf that will happen at Merion next week.

Q. What did you learn at Merion the last two days?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's really a wonderful set‑up. It's the best I've seen. I think the reason I like it so much is they've made the hard holes more difficult. They've made them harder, but they did not make the easy holes harder. They gave you birdie opportunities on the easy holes, and they made tough pars a little bit harder, which allows the player that is playing well to separate himself from the field. I thought that it was probably the best Open set‑up I've seen.

Q. Does that play into your hands because you've made more birdies than anybody else on TOUR this year?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. It plays into the hands of the guys that are playing well, because you've got to make pars on the tough holes and you've got to make birdies on the easy holes, and you have that chance now. It didn't look tricked up at all. It looked like it was a very fair, hard test of golf.

Q. How much different was it than '89 when you played there?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to remember the differences 24 years ago when you're dealing with Match Play and Amateurs as opposed to professionals in the Open.

Q. Phil, how many days did you get there to practice?
PHIL MICKELSON: A couple of days. I had a couple of days up there. Got in Sunday night and spent Monday, Tuesday.

Q. You haven't been here for a few years, but Memphis really is a place that enjoys having you. What about maybe outside of next week's U.S. Open made you want to come back?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a great place and a great tournament. Unfortunately, we have quality events every week and we can't play them all. So it's fun to be able to come back to an event like this. What stuck out in my head from years ago is how much I like the golf course. How much of a good challenge it is. I didn't play necessarily the greatest on it, but I always thought it was a fun, fair test. I love the small greens. You really have to be precise with your shot making into the green with your irons to get the ball close to get it stopped.
I think that there again it allows the player that is playing well a chance to make birdies and a guy who is not to make bogeys. So you separate the guys that are playing well.

Q. The TOUR does so much for charity, but when you realize you're teaming up with St. Jude, how important is that to you when you realize what it's for?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's pretty cool for us as players to be part of an organization, the PGA TOUR, that does so much for charities and every community that we're involved with, specifically here at St. Jude's because of the way that this organization helps children. I mean, everybody has an affinity for helping children who are in for the fight of their lives.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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