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July 21, 2013
MIKE WOODCOCK: I'd just like to welcome the 2013 Open
champion, Phil Mickelson.
Phil, what a fantastic achievement today, you came from
five behind. I heard you mention on television this is one of the
best rounds, if not the best round, of your career. Can you sum
up how you feel.
PHIL MICKELSON: This is just an amazing feeling winning
this great championship. And to play probably the best round of
my career and hit some of the best shots that I've ever hit.
Certainly putt better than I've ever putted.
You know, I was getting ready for today and I just
thought I need to bring my "A" game today. I just need to bring
it. I need to show up and play some of my best golf. And I did.
I played some of the best golf of my career. It feels amazing to
have this championship. And then to make it even more special, to
have Amy, Amanda, Sophia, Evan here; to share this with Bones; to
have Steve Loy who's been with me back from my college days all
the way through; to have Butch Harmon here to share this moment,
it really is special. It's a day that I'll always cherish, always
Q. As that back nine was going on, you are a guy that gets
energized by the big stage and you're moving up the leaderboard
and hitting the ball well. Can you talk about the wave that
started and when it started, and what that was like as it
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I was behind, obviously, the
whole day. And I was 1-over par for the championship, 1-under for
the day when I was on 13. And I hit a really good 5-iron in
there, and it was a putt that was going to make the rest of the
round go one way or another. Because I just thought if I made it,
it would give me some momentum, get me to even par for the
championship, a score I thought had a good chance of being enough.
And that putt went in and it just gave me a nice momentum boost,
because it's very hard to make birdies out here. You're not going
to hit it to tap-in distance. You're going to have to make some
good putts. And that was as close as I thought I would have a
chance at birdie coming in. And I ended up making it. It was a
I came right back on 14, where I had a good opportunity
to make another one and I did.
I made some good pars on 15 and 16, and when I was
walking up 17, that was the moment that I had to kind of compose
myself, because I hit two of the best 3-woods I've ever hit. That
is exactly why I don't have a driver in the bag. Those two
3-woods were the two best shots of the week, to get it on that
green. As I was walking up to the green, that was when I realized
that this is very much my championship in my control. And I was
getting a little emotional. I had to kind of take a second to
slow down my walk and try to regain composure. Because not only
do I still need a two-putt birdie, but I also needed to make a
tough par on 18, and I fortunately made birdie on both.
Q. Did you know you had sole possession when you got to the
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, I saw 1-under was leading, and I
had a chance to get a two-shot lead if I were to two-putt. I
believe this is the first year we've had electric scoreboards here
at the British Open, and I was able to see one right there on 17th
Q. Many congratulations. This time seven days ago I seem to
recall asking you at Castle Stuart where your first win in the
home of golf ranked against all the other titles in your career.
So where does this now rank against the others? And can you just
explain how much of a benefit playing at Castle Stuart and the
Scottish Open has been for this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, winning Castle Stuart, at the
time, you know, was a big win for me. But in seven days it has
gone down considerably (laughter).
It was a special week for me last week because I was
playing so well. It gave me confidence heading into this week.
It was exactly what I needed to propel me into this championship.
And playing well in that final day in difficult conditions gave me
the confidence that I could play some of my best golf on links
conditions. And I did.
I mean, today was as good as I could play. It was one of
the best rounds I've ever played.
Q. You first visited these shores essentially in 1991 when
you played in the Walker Cup at Portmarnock. But you
were inspired an Alastair Mackenzie classic at Lahinch. You cited
it as being one of your favorite courses. It's a great links
course. Why has it taken 22 years for you to bring home a Claret
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I did enjoy links golf when I
first played at the Walker Cup in '91 at Portmarnock. It was a
wonderful test. I played well. But the conditions and the
penalty for missed shots in The Open Championship are much more
severe than we played then. And it took me a while to figure it
out, I would say. It's been the last eight or nine years I've
started to playing it more effectively, I've started to hit the
shots more effectively. But even then it's so different than what
I grew up playing. I always wondered if I would develop the
skills needed to win this championship.
I saw you there on 9, and it was a cool feeling where I
made birdie there to get to even for the tournament, and I knew
going into the back nine I was in contention with a good shot.
And to finally capture this, it feels really, really good.
Q. Can you kind of explain how important that session with
Butch was yesterday morning that we talked about yesterday? And
No. 2, Bones said to us after the round that you actually had to
slow him down on No. 1. Can you talk about that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, yesterday I had a good practice
session with Butch because Friday I did not strike it very well.
And we set up a little mini station that gave me a little bit more
width and forced me to keep the club a little bit more out instead
of dropping underneath, which is a problem I tend to have. I
started to hit the ball pretty solidly yesterday. I had to hit
some fades throughout the day because I didn't quite feel
comfortable hitting draws from that wide a position. But today it
all clicked. Today was where I put the rhythm and the mechanics
together and hit some great shots.
And walking down 1, all week Bones has said to me and
last week at Castle Stuart, "Slow down. Let's enjoy this." And
he started walking a little fast, so I was able to reverse it on
Q. Related to that, what does winning this Major mean to
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, he was getting choked up in the
locker room. This is really special for both of us. It's a
special moment to be part of the great history of this
championship. It's a great accomplishment for us as a team and
for me in my career to win this championship that has been the
biggest challenge. This has been the biggest challenge for me to
overcome and capture this championship, this trophy.
Q. Can you just sort of talk about coming from the deflation
that you felt last month at Merion to the elation that you feel
today and that transition in getting there.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a huge difference in emotions, as
you can imagine. And being so down after the U.S. Open, to come
back and use it as motivation, to use it as a springboard, knowing
that I'm playing well and to push me a little bit extra to work
harder, to come out on top, in a matter of a month to turn it
around it really feels amazing. I thought that it could go either
way. You have to be resilient in this game because losing is such
a big part of it. And after losing the U.S. Open, it could have
easily gone south, where I was so deflated I had a hard time
But I looked at it and thought I was playing really good
golf. I had been playing some of the best in my career. And I
didn't want it to stop me from potential victories this year, and
some potential great play. And I'm glad I didn't, because I
worked a little bit harder. And in a matter of a month I'm able
to change entirely the way I feel.
Q. Many congratulations. First of all, can you tell us a
little bit about the name Mickelson. And whether there was any
Scottish Heritage to that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I don't know (with a
Scottish accent) (laughter). Maybe a wee bit (laughter).
Q. Will you be finding out?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know.
Q. Second question is, the last two editions of the Open
have been inherited by someone else's misfortune. Is it extra
special to have taken that tournament by the scruff of the neck
and positively have won it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Honestly, I don't care either way how I
got this trophy. I got it. And it just so happened to be with
one of the best rounds of my career, which is really the way I've
played my entire career. I've always tried to go out and get it,
like you're saying. I don't want anybody to hand it to me, I want
to go out and get it. And today I did.
Q. Congratulations again. The list of winners of here at
Muirfield, I think most of them are all Hall of Famers. It must
be extra special to do it here. And secondly, did you set a
target this morning? Did you think, I'm going to have to shoot
this sort of number, or did you just go out and try and play?
PHIL MICKELSON: I saw that there were some scores under
par early on, and I thought maybe it was playing a little bit
easier than it had. But there again, the conditions tend to get
more difficult later in the day as things dry out.
My only goal was to get it to even par in the
championship at the turn. When I got to No. 9 at 1-over, knowing
that's really our birdie hole there. And I made birdie and I was
able to do that, get it to even par, that was my goal. Because
now it's a 9-hole competition and I'm right in the thick of it. I
thought right around even or maybe 1-under would be enough to win
the championship. And I felt I was playing well enough to shoot
that on the back nine, and ultimately did. It feels great.
Q. And to be in that roll of honor?
PHIL MICKELSON: Any list, no matter where it's played,
to be able to capture this Claret Jug feels terrific. The past
champions here at Muirfield are exceptional, and to be part of
that it feels great.
Q. You spoke earlier about Castle Stuart, the last three
Open winners have played the Scottish Open the week before. Do
you think that suggests more of the top world players should play
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that getting your best golf out,
and try to peak for certain events is a very personal thing. Some
people like to play the week before, some people don't. For me I
do. And for me personally Castle Stuart was a great place for me
to get ready. It gave me some great links golf experience. I got
to hit all the shots that we were playing today. In fact Castle
Stuart was very firm and fast, just like it was here at Muirfield.
That doesn't mean that it was right for everybody, but it
certainly was good it for me.
Q. You'll be around to continue your winning round in
Scotland in Aberdeen next summer?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yeah, sure. Absolutely.
Q. You realize you haven't let go of that trophy since you
sat up there?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it feels pretty cool to have this
Q. How about the way you won, just hanging around, hanging
around, shooting a 32 in the back. Is that more satisfying and
fun? And how do you describe that and the wow factor?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, the wow factor just kind of
happened. It wasn't like I was setting out thinking, I need to
make birdies or I was trying to force birdies. I was just trying
to hit good shots. And I made a bunch of putts today. I really
putted great. It's as good as I ever putted in my career. I've
been fortunately putting like this for quite some time now.
Links greens have actually been, I think, the reason why
I have not been in contention very often here. More so than some
of the ball-striking. And I putted these greens phenomenal. Some
of the best I've ever putted.
And today those birdies just kind of happened. They
weren't forced. I just hit good shots. The ball ended up in a
spot I could make a putt and I did. I made a lot of putts.
Q. More satisfying the way you won it?
PHIL MICKELSON: It really doesn't matter how. Just to
capture this championship and to be part of the history of this
event, and to win The Open Championship, the event I thought would
be the hardest, and has been the hardest in my career to capture,
to come out on top and to play my best golf, it doesn't matter
how. But certainly to birdie four of the last six is awesome.
Q. Some of the guys mentioned the greens were slower today.
You said earlier in the week you've been watching in the mornings.
I'm wondering did you do some scouting again this morning? And
also you mentioned you had a secret you'd determined with your
putting. Can you reveal that now?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, when I said -- I said it was a
secret of my putting. There's a million different ways to putt,
but for me I've kind of really keyed in on some stuff. It feels
great to putt like this.
Then I didn't really look at the players this morning. I
didn't watch TV. I wanted to kind of create my own way of how I
was going to play the course, and I didn't want to be influenced
with what was happening by other people's shots. But I did see
the scores, and I did see that there were a number of people under
par, 2, 3. 4-under Dufner shot. So I felt like there were some
birdies out there.
Q. This might be a hard one for you to answer, but you've
got three out of the four now and your six second places away from
a career Grand Slam. Do you think this enriches your legacy, say,
as one of the greatest players in the game?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that if I'm able to win the U.S.
Open and complete the career Grand Slam, I think that that's the
sign of the complete great player. And I'm a leg away. And it's
been a tough leg for me (laughter).
But I think that's the sign. I think there's five
players that have done that. And those five players are the
greats of the game. You look at them with a different light. And
if I were able to ever win a U.S. Open, and I'm very hopeful that
I will, but it has been elusive for me. And yet this championship
has been much harder for me to get.
Q. Congratulations. The course has had its critics this
week, mainly for the state of the greens, and how quick they were.
How big a part did conditions play today? A little bit cooler
today, a little bit more moisture in the air, did that help?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure. I thought these last two
days it was set up perfectly. And it's very difficult to find
that fine line between hard but fair and going over the edge. And
I thought that these last two days were perfect because it gave a
player like myself, that hit shots exactly how I was wanting to,
to make birdies and to pull away. And I also saw a lot of guys
where they hit less-than-perfect shots and made bogeys and doubles
and fall back. I think that's what you're looking for. I thought
the last two days were great.
Q. When is Bones the most valuable to you, on days like
Friday or days like today? And just how do you explain that your
long and productive relationship with him?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, we've had a partnership over the
last 20-plus years of my career, from the time I turned pro. It's
very difficult here to pull clubs because you have three different
options on every shot based on the trajectory and whether you're
working it into the wind or with the wind. And to pull shots or
to pull clubs when you have to not only pull the right club, but
you have to describe the right shot and to be descriptive and for
us to be on the same page, it's really difficult to do. And we
were on the same page all week.
There were a few that we were off, like everybody, but
there were only a few. We did a good job together. Bones was
exceptional. We sure are enjoying this. This is a great moment
Q. Congratulations, Phil. When I was walking through there
a few minutes ago I think I heard Amy say on TV that you said this
morning that you were going to bring the Claret Jug home. Is that
the case? And if so, is there any reason why you said that?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I didn't make any predictions. I
just felt like I was playing really well. I mean, playing some of
the best I've ever played. And to just try to put it all together
and just play a good round that we were going to try to get
something we didn't have, which was a Claret Jug.
But there were no predictions, because you just don't
know what's going to happen out here. You don't know what the
winning score is going to be. You don't know what the other
players are going to do. This is just a day and a moment that I
will cherish forever. This is a really special time, and as
fulfilling a career accomplishment as I could ever imagine.
MIKE WOODCOCK: Thank you again. Congratulations, the
2013 Open champion.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports