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July 19, 2013

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: It was really a challenging test today.

Q. You're only four back. The leaderboard is really tightly bunched. Is the course allowing somebody who is playing well to separate themselves?
PHIL MICKELSON: When I made those comments yesterday, I wasn't being totally fair to The R&A, because they've done a lot of things great this championship. The fairway width is a very fair width to get the ball in play. The rough is difficult and challenging but it's not over the top. It's very fair in spots. And the setup has been great. And for me to single out just a few sketchy pin placements and not give them credit for all the good things they've done was not fair of me yesterday. But I think that it is set up where if you're playing well, you can make up some ground and separate yourself. I think that really solidly struck shots are giving you easy pars and potential birdies. And poorly struck shots are making it extremely difficult to salvage par. So I think that it's going to be a good test to be able to separate yourself, if you're playing well. The great thing about tomorrow is that now all the players that are in contention will be on the course at the same time. And that's going to be the key.

Q. If somebody told you on Wednesday you'd be four off going into Saturday, how would you feel?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, certainly I would take it. I would have taken it after the double on 2. And certainly after the double on 16 I'll take it. I fought hard today. I putted phenomenal. I made everything. Some of these six-footers, eight-footers, 15-footers for pars and stuff that I made were really hard and I ended up making them. I putted phenomenal today to stay in the tournament.

Q. Can you talk about 16 and what you were thinking about when you walked off?
PHIL MICKELSON: 16, it happens. The tough thing about that particular putt for me was that it was in direct crosswind. So I've got a left-to-right breaking putt and the wind was directly left-to-right. You could see I hit a solid putt, it rolled a few feet by, and it snapped low. And the same thing happened on the way back. I just didn't play for enough break on the direct crosswind. Something you don't see on TV, because you can't tell which way the wind is blowing. But that's a huge factor on those short putts. And I was compensating well for it and playing for it well thought the entire day. And I didn't there. I needed to play more break. I tried to hit it firm thinking that it would keep its line a little better and it didn't, it snapped.

Q. Do you question yourself coming off of the green (inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: Look, it's part of the game. It happens. It's going to happen to everybody. Everybody is going to miss those length putts. Everybody has. I saw Tiger miss a couple today. I saw all these guys out here, are, too, because it's hard. You do the best you can and fortunately I made a heck of a lot more of my share today.

Q. What you made at 15 had to be one of the ones that you're talking about. That was a good one.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I had to chance to stop it, so I had to make it or I was going to have a 15-footer coming back. I barely hit it, it just got over the crest. But it was downhill, downwind, and these are faster than Augusta. Augusta is 14 1/2 on the Stimp and these were well into the 15 on spots. And that was one of them. I gave a little fist pump because I knew I was going to have to make a 15-footer for par.

Q. Some of the guys were saying that this was the toughest grind they've ever had to deal with. How do you respond to that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I definitely would not disagree with that. I think it's one of the most difficult tests that we've had. We don't get rain, any of the four days, whether it's a U.S. Open or a British Open. There's no governor. When I say "governor," I don't mean like governor of the State of California, I mean governor like on a golf cart that slows -- (Laughter). There you go.

Q. You're within striking distance, how do you feel going into the final two days?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm excited. I'm playing great. I'm putting phenomenal. And I'm looking forward to the next two days.

Q. Is that really what it's going to take is two-putt phenomenally this weekend more than most?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think so, I do. I think that two-putting from 60 to a hundred feet, around that range, is going to be important, and making those six-footers, six-to-12 footers, those are really big par saves, I had a bunch of them today.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: Decent amount until about 12, 12 thirty.

Q. What's that like going on in the course compared to more greener Open?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, maybe the iris of the camera gets more of the chlorophyll of the greens on TV than what I saw with my own eye out there, I don't know (laughter). But it didn't have the same coloration. Is that even a word?

Q. Just your anticipation?
PHIL MICKELSON: I try to watch to see what tendencies are, what certain putts do, where you don't want to go, and where guys are making birdies from.

Q. Is the wind from the east tougher than the west wind?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wouldn't say that. It's certainly different. But I wouldn't say it was necessarily tougher. I thought the back was easier with this wind and I thought the front was harder.

Q. Jimenez, his character, he's always around the Majors. What's your impression of him? Do you know him at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've always gotten along well with Miguel. We see each other at a lot of the Ryder Cups and World Golf Championships. And I've always enjoyed being around him. He's one of those guys I like to people watch and just kind of watch him move, you know, see how he rolls (laughter). I'm amused by his warmup routine. I always get a kick out of that. I'll actually arrive early to the course to watch it (laughter). He's just an entertaining fellow.

Q. About 24 guys separated by five shots. Does this weed out more than --
PHIL MICKELSON: I think you can get off to a hot start. I think you can make some birdies. I think you can shoot 2, 3, 4-under par in these conditions and move right up the leaderboard, and certainly a bunch of guys are going to fall by the wayside.

Q. You said you love the challenge. Is there a way to have fun in this process or is it in such a grind that it takes the fun out of it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's fun. I think there's a lot of times where it's fun. You know, when you get the ball on the green and when you're walking up, that walk is enjoyable. The walk around the hole, that's enjoyable (laughter). But I think it's a fun -- it's a fun challenge every now and then. I think we were all excited to have these firm, fast conditions, because we haven't had it since maybe Hoylake in '06. And it's really a different test than we've had in a long time.

Q. Should it be that way? It's a Major.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, absolutely.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I've had to make an adjustment in the bunkers, yeah. It's hard to control the ball. There's a lot of sand and it's very powdery. I've made an adjustment by just catching it further behind the ball. And I've seemed to do okay with it.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I don't think you ever want to let your guard down out here. One shot gets going with the wind and it just goes into the wrong spot, and the next thing you know you're looking at double or triple. You don't want to let your guard down here, even on the par-5s.

Q. Having two days with Matsuyama, what do you think?
PHIL MICKELSON: He's a very solid player. He hit a lot of good golf shots and made some key putts. He's right in it for the weekend. He's playing well.

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