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March 1, 2004

Phil Mickelson

Q. Phil Mickelson, let's pick up on something we touched on in the earlier segment, and that was 2003. 2003 was a disappointment golf-wise by your standards. What we didn't know were the things you struggled with, not the of least of which was a difficult delivery for Amy and your son Evan.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I still don't like talking about it. But I think the most important thing is that Amy is a hundred percent, our baby is a hundred percent, no aftereffects. And now that everybody is doing well, we're just kind of looking forward to this year. And I think that's why we're so excited, is that everybody is healthy. I feel like my game's back on track, headed in the right direction. We just want to make this a great year. It's also the last year we're going to be able to have my family travel with me. My oldest child Amanda will be starting school soon and we'll have to stay at home a lot more to let her be in school.

Q. That will be a big change, no question about that.


Q. But you're looking forward to it. 2003, no wins for the first time since 1999, and out of the Top 30 on the Money List, 38th overall. You slid to 13th in the world rankings. So when you had time to kind of go all over that in the off-season, did you look at the numbers? Did that serve to motivate you or was it just kind of a refocusing thing?

PHIL MICKELSON: Those statistics didn't bother me. It didn't bother me I was 38th on the list, it didn't bother me I was sliding in the world ranking. What bothered me was that I was playing poorly. What bothered me was that I didn't have confidence I could drive in the fairway, I didn't have confidence from 150 in, my birdies were going way down per round, my bogeys and mistakes were going up. That's what ultimately bothered me. And it wasn't until the start of '04 that I really tried to fix it. We spent November, December trying to develop a game plan. I didn't touch a club. I worked on chipping and putting only. I worked out a lot. And from January 1, Rick Smith flew out. That's when I started spending time with him. I didn't want to waste any more time, just looked forward to this year.

Q. Were you amazed in '03 that kind of an innocuous interview that you did, a quote that you had regarding equipment and the world No. 1 turned into the story that it did last year? I don't want to relive this, but I want to read the quote. It was from Golf Magazine.

PHIL MICKELSON: How nice, thank you. Let's rehash it.

Q. We don't have to rehash it fully. But it was talking about the equipment issue, and that you said that Tiger hates that I can fly it past him now. He has a faster swing speed than I do, but the inferior equipment, the equipment issue. Again, I'm not trying to open old wounds. I'm saying, that's kind of an offhand remark and it took on a life of its own.

PHIL MICKELSON: Sure. You just shouldn't talk about other players, other things. It was a bad area to go into. I was so excited at the time about how far I was hitting that new X Ball that I was playing. And now I've actually gone back to the Pro V1 to help my distance control from 150 yards in, and I'm driving it 18 yards shorter. So I can't fly it past him anymore, nor do I really care to. I'd much rather just get it in and play and try to work from 150 in and see if I can win tournaments that way.

Q. Strategically this year, is there anything you can cite that would be a different Phil Mickelson approach in a tournament as opposed to something you would have done differently in '03, whether it's laying up, hitting irons off tees, anything like that strategically?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, in all honesty, there really isn't. I haven't played any different this year than I would last year. Now, I know a lot has been written about how I have a 1-iron, I'm just trying to get it in play more. A lot of that is true, but I only used the 1-iron I think in one tournament, the Bob Hope, where it seemed to fit. I'll probably use it at just a few more events throughout the year where it fits, where it's windy. I may use it here at Doral. But for the most part, I still want to drive it and get it inside 150 yards. Dave Pells has explained it perfectly to me. Listen, when I hit from 90 yards, my misses are going to be much better than 120 yards. And from 120 yards, they're going to be much better than 150. So the closer I can get to the hole, the closer my circle is around the pin. So if I can hit driver, I want to hit driver because I have a better chance at leaving myself a birdie putt.

Q. Your quote was you were pathetic from 130 yards and in.

PHIL MICKELSON: That's true.

Q. You were so awesome before that. That's a tough thing for you to say.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, but it was true. It sucks to admit it, but last year from 130 in, it was my worst year. This year it's a tremendous turnaround. It's been much different. A lot of it's been just stressing that area. And also I really didn't spend the proper time last year, I was so worried about some of the areas of my golf swing, trying to change things to get better, that it kind of backfired.

Q. Also I want to talk to you about while all these things were happening to you, you know, the novelty of a left-hander changed on the PGA TOUR. Flesch won, Weir steps up there and wins.

PHIL MICKELSON: Wins the Masters, by the way. Only second left-handed person to win a major besides Bob Charles.

Q. And the first Canadian.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, that, too, but I only see it from the left-hand perspective.

Q. I thought we got into this whole thing about facts about that event. I don't know where I went. All right. So, anyway --

PHIL MICKELSON: A lot of left-handers are playing well.

Q. Exactly.

PHIL MICKELSON: Mike Weir, a bunch of other good ones.

Q. What was it like to see this kind of emergence on the tour?

PHIL MICKELSON: See, I think it's cool. I pulled for other left-handed players because I know what it was like growing up without proper equipment. And now that we're having such success with a number of left-handed players, we're seeing manufacturers develop the top-of-the-line equipment, left-handed at the same time as right-handed. And granted, with Titleist, we're a little bit fortunate that the CEO happens to be left-handed as well.

Q. And I understand he -- it's exclusive, the equipment that both you and the CEO play.

PHIL MICKELSON: That's correct. I was very fortunate. When I came to Titleist in the end of 2000, 2001, Wally Uihlein let me develop my own set of clubs. So I hand-did each set of clubs on the computer, went through the whole process. And it was just supposed to be for me. But we thought, hey, let's do a dry run. And we ended up making a thousand or two sets, two thousand sets. We sold right through those. We had demand for a lot more. We only made it left-handed only. We sold about 10 thousand sets. Now left-hand only, that's pretty cool. But it's a nice set of a muscle back short iron that progresses into a cavity back, which for me, the short-irons, I need to get at little bit more turn in the ball to get to some of those tucked pins. The longer irons I want to fly a little bit straighter. What's really cool is from a left-handed point of view, we say to people, "Where can I get those?" We say, "Oh, no, no, you can't. It's left hand only." Never been able to say that.

Q. So it's kind of like a little exclusivity on that.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it's good fun.

Q. You say you pull for the guys, and Mike Weir had an amazing year last year. I want you to be Phil Mickelson honest with me, because you've gotten off to a great start, as has he. Who is the best left-handed player on the PGA TOUR?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, I'm not going to go there. You know, that's not for me to go. I think Mike's a great guy. Not only is he a great player, he's a great person. He's got a wonderful family. He's ranked higher than me in the world ranking right now. So I can't talk any smack right now.

Q. All right. Well, very diplomatic. That was a very magnanimous answer you gave there. I appreciate that. More to come of Golf Talk with Phil Mickelson. Coming up on the show, we are just about a little over a month away from the first major of the year, the Masters. Phil grew up dreaming he'd win there, practicing to win the Masters. Is this the year? Phil at Augusta, and much more coming up.


Q. And welcome back to Golf Talk with Phil Mickelson, who has been that close in some of the majors, the memorable majors. I want to read you a comment from the GolfChannel.com. This is from a viewer. This is from Frank in Texas who writes, "When all the reporters ask you, why Haven't you won a major yet, when are you going to finally reply with something like, The same time you win a Pulitzer prize, then ask them how long they've been a reporter and how long before they win something, and then ask them how much money they made last year without the Pulitzer." We're kind of having fun with the whole thing.


Q. My question is, do you think the media's more fascinated with this than you are?

PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I don't worry about it, Vince. I lived a charmed life, major or no major. I've got the greatest wife in the world. I've got three wonderful kids. I've got business relationships that are just tremendous. When I decide to do the Warrior Fund, I got a call from Bearing Point, from Ford, Chuck and Helen Schwab, they said, "Listen, we love this, we want to match it." To be involved with people and companies like that, those type of relationships mean everything to me, major or no major. Now, with that being said, obviously I'd love to win a major. I'm striving for it, I'm working hard for it. I get to play golf for a living, what most people do on vacation. I just have an unbelievably fun, enjoyable life. And I'm not going to let the fact I haven't won a major ruin it or be a huge negative. But I also love the challenge of trying to get there. It's a tough road. We've got some great players. I love trying to beat Tiger in a major. It's tough as heck. And we got another, you know, a bunch of other great players with Davis Love, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh playing tremendous, Mike Weir now playing so well, Jim Furyk winning The Open last year. There's so many great players stepping up that it's just a fun challenge to try to break through. And I think that this off-season, I've developed a game plan that should help get me there a lot quicker.

Q. Well, I think that you could tell that obviously the questions remain, partially because you're so talented, you're such a talented player. And we see people who have stepped up and claimed these in the past. So maybe, you know, that's part of the burden.

PHIL MICKELSON: Maybe it's a compliment.

Q. Maybe it is a compliment, is that we're trying to digest why, the big question why.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, you saw those 15-, 20-foot putts going in on the last hole to beat me by a shot. That's a big reason why.

Q. That's true.

PHIL MICKELSON: The other thing is I have not led after 54 holes in a major. That's one thing I'm going to try to work on this year. If I can get in the lead, that's much better than trying to pick up four or five shots on Tiger at Bethpage. That's a heck of a task in one round. Best player in the world, five shots, come on.

Q. I've heard you talk about not necessarily course management mistakes, but execution mistakes as far as along the way. And maybe those are second guessed in some way, but you know what happened.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, I've had some poor executions and hit some bad shots that I wouldn't necessarily do any different. Just a few days ago, I was playing Davis Love in a match, and we were tied going to the last hole. I had a great opportunity to win. I had a 3-wood to the front of the green. If I knock it on and made birdie, I most likely win. He's 170 yards in two. And I hooked it, it hit a cart path, went behind a tree, and hit a couple of bad wedges, made bogey and lost. That's poor execution. The decision making was fine. And in the past, I've been questioned for some of my decision making. But the fact is, is that I'm trying to win tournaments, and that's how I've been able to win 22 times. If I'm not trying those shots, I'm not going to win. And yet if I don't execute, then it's bad management.

Q. But, you know, you're a sports fan. You know a lot of this stuff is always attached. You're a friend of Charles Barkley. I'm sure you know what he goes through, being ribbed about not having a ring, not having a championship. In the grand scheme of things, ultimately when we look at careers and stats, that's part of it, either fairly or unfairly.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, that's different because that's such a team sport. You rely solely on your teammates. Whereas golf, it's an individual sport, and you have nobody else to blame but yourself. But on that same token, I can't control what the other players do. I can only control what I do. And if guys make putts in the last hole to beat me by a shot, so be it. There's not much I can do than play better over the 71 holes previously.

Q. Sure. You're right, you're blessed. You're an amazing player, have had a wonderful life, you have a great family, the whole bit. And that's important to you, I know. And, believe me, this is my last "major" question. Can you walk away career-wise, step away from the game, not have a major and be okay with it? Would that be all right?

PHIL MICKELSON: Vince, I just don't -- it's hard for me to even address that because I've got so many more years of playing, and I just don't see that as being something I'll have to face. Maybe it will, but I just don't realistically see that happening. I just feel like I'm playing too well. I've got a path and direction now that should give me an opportunity to win a number of them, not just one.

Q. Are we officially sick of it now for this show?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's your show, Vince. I'm just a part of it.

Q. You're a big part of it. You are the entire show. We are going to step away once again.


Q. Welcome back to Golf Talk at the Doral Ford Championships. Some kids grow up thinking, "I'd like to beat Phil Mickelson someday." Phil was trying to beat Drew Bledsoe out of Rochester, PGA Championship time, with some throws in camp. Very nice. Look at that gun, on the money. We are back with Phil. Ford had an idea about this, turning it into a commercial spot for you that will be unveiled later this week.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I took a lot of hits last year for playing baseball. I mean, what guy wouldn't love to go spend two or three days with a professional team and take batting practice, throw batting practice? It was a lot of fun. I had a tough year last year, not playing well. The majors were done, were threw, my season was basically over for the most part. And I went out and spent a couple of days. It was a great way to get my mind off golf, and yet I took a lot of hits for it, which to me, I just don't fathom. Life is about doing fun things, having fun, enjoying life. This opportunity came to hang out for a couple days, and I took. At the PGA Championship, I went out to the Buffalo Bills training camp, which was cool, threw the football with the guy and had fun. Ford took that and said, "Let's do something off this. What will Ford and Phil do next?" So we modeled the Ford GT, which is an awesome car, oh, man, and the Expedition with its flip-down rear seat capability, then we have me singing with Toby Keith, me represents the Ford.

Q. I think we have a clip, Phil. I don't mean to interrupt you.

PHIL MICKELSON: We're not supposed to announce it till tomorrow.

Q. We were able to secure a little piece of it.

PHIL MICKELSON: The Golf Channel's got some pull.

Q. A little bit.

(Clip shown.)

PHIL MICKELSON: I never claimed I could sing.

Q. You got a great line. "American Idol, look out."

PHIL MICKELSON: They need to watch out because Josh Grayson, another country singer, myself, whose contracts are piling in. Then we have another one with Wayne Gretzky playing hockey, which is fun, too.

Q. That is cool. As long as we don't hear "she bang, she bang," anything like that. Speaking of hockey, you're actually in the net with Wayne Gretzky, some kids are firing pucks at you.

PHIL MICKELSON: You have that one, too?

Q. Saw the spot. It's a good one. We don't have that one. But speaking of the other sports, how good an athlete were you growing up? You pitched, a little quarterback.

PHIL MICKELSON: We all have our Al Bundy stories. Four touchdowns, single game, Polk High. We all have our Al Bundy stories. My Al Bundy story is back in little league days I pitched a no-hitter against a team that had Eric Karros on it. That's my Al Bundy story.

Q. Wow.

PHIL MICKELSON: Still reliving it.

Q. Eric Karros.

PHIL MICKELSON: Still reliving it. 33.

Q. How many of these guys on the PGA TOUR are good athletes, in your estimation?

PHIL MICKELSON: From what I've seen, I've seen a number of really good athletes. I've seen a lot of guys very good at hockey, which I never grew up with. I couldn't play at all. You can kind of tell from the Gretzky clip you'll see in a few weeks. But I've seen some really good athletes. You know, Tiger is an incredible athlete, in other areas, although he struggled with me at ping-pong. But Brad Faxon is an incredible ping-pong player. You know, Hale Irwin used to be a great defensive back, University of Colorado. I think there's a lot of hand-eye coordination that's needed in golf. Consequently a lot of guys are pretty good athletes.

Q. Why football? Why do you love football so much?

PHIL MICKELSON: I grew up playing. I was quarterback till I broke my arm way back in the day. I had to have surgery, and they cut open my elbow and so forth. So I stopped playing that. But I've just always enjoyed throwing. My dad would throw with me when I was a kid. We'd play catch with a baseball. He put a mound in our backyard. He used to manage my little league team. I used to play a little bit of football growing up. It's just fun.

Q. Your mom was a good athlete.

PHIL MICKELSON: She is. In fact, she was on the Senior Olympics Basketball team the last couple years that's won the gold medal in the United States, which is pretty cool.

Q. That is cool. The PGA TOUR, very strong, purses going up. Sponsorships, you know, they've had situations where sponsorships have come and gone in certain events. But when you look at that as compared to the troubles maybe hockey might be having, Major League Baseball, now we have steroid investigation, Maurice Clarett situation in the NFL. Your league is a pretty strong league all things considered.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we're very fortunate. I mean, if somebody out here is doing drugs, they're not going to be on the leaderboard. For the most part, everybody out on tour is at least high school and many times fully college educated. Guys are well-spoken. You don't have problems that a lot of the other sports have. The other thing is our tour, our commissioner, has had some great leadership in pacing our growth. The last three years the market has been very tough for corporate America, which affects us. But because of the pacing that he has set forth and putting cash away, other investments, he's grown the tour at a very steady 10 to 15, 20% rate. So we were able to withstand the downturn. And now that things are starting to recover, it's a very good time for the PGA TOUR. Last year, last week, at the Accenture Match Play, we had a $7 million purse. Ford Championship, we're at $5 million plus, plus a GT for the winner. So the purses are just starting to really thrive. And we don't have that high price of mediocrity that other teams have in professional athletics because if you don't perform well, you don't get paid.

Q. That's a good point. Before we go to break, really quick, did you have the Patriots or did you have the Panthers?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't do a thing this year. I had so many other things going on that I was trying to reverse. I haven't really spent any time with football this year.

Q. Did you enjoy the game? Did you watch it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I only watched the last quarter, which turned out to be the best time to watch it. It was pretty nice.

Q. Good time to pick it up. More from Phil Mickelson coming from Golf Talk. We're going to reach into the great mind of Phil Mickelson and talk about incredible shots, shots like this. Where does this stuff come from? How he sees the course and why. Plus we'll also have personal trivia, Ford Championship at Doral.


Q. Welcome back to Golf Talk, Ford Championship at Doral. We're with Phil Mickelson. We go back to the Internet, The Golf Channel.com. Bruce from Ohio had a question for you. He wants to know why you wear the watch.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, back in the junior golf days, I would wear a watch because a couple of players that I would compete with would have swings that if I watched, it would throw my timing off. So I would just watch my watch. And I've been wearing one ever since. Now, I'm fortunate enough to have a representation deal with Rolex. They have a line of Cellini, hence the name. I don't know if it was named after you or not. They have a line of Cellini watches that are much thinner and don't annoy me, whereas this is a much thicker watch.

Q. Maybe we can talk after the show about some other dealings after that.

PHIL MICKELSON: Is that a Rolex Cellini there?

Q. It would not be that. Now let's talk about the imagination aspect.

PHIL MICKELSON: You don't want to have your name on the watch. It's a little showy.

Q. I don't know about that. I'd be showy. Where did that come from, Phil? Do you see things other players don't see out there? Do you see that "I can pretty much get this done"?

PHIL MICKELSON: Like those trick shots and so forth you were talking about?

Q. Yeah, something other guys may not dare attempt.

PHIL MICKELSON: I enjoy having fun. And part of the fun for me on the golf course is to try and challenge myself with different or creative shots. And I learned a lot of those backward shots and weird shots in my backyard growing up because the same chip shot over and over would wear on me, get tiresome, and I would go behind the trees, off the edge of bunker, so forth. That's where I learned a lot of the trick stuff. But what I've needed to do is basically start playing the percentages, be more mathematical. How many times will I pull it off? What's the penalty? Is it a one-shot penalty, two-shot penalty or even a half-a-shot penalty if I can possibly get up and down and start playing the percentages better, which is I think why this year I've been able to be in contention a little bit more by not maybe taking the chance or two that I don't need to.

Q. Yeah, but if you do that, if you pull back at all, do you stop being yourself as a player, the daring aspect of yourself? You don't want to compromise who you are.

PHIL MICKELSON: I know what you're saying. What I've been trying to do is become a player that's very effective from 150 in. So instead of trying a shot at 250 yards, I'll try a shot from 150 yards in that I feel I can get close. As we get out, the misses start to get larger, get away from the hole. So from 150 I want to redefine myself as a player who can get it close from anywhere, different lies, different conditions, so forth. That's what I've been really working on hard this year.

Q. Throughout your career, has it been a blessing and a curse then, because you may have options other guys don't.

PHIL MICKELSON: It's won me some tournaments in the past, but it's also cost me a few tournaments, too. And I think those are the ones that seem to be looked at with scrutiny as opposed to which ones of the 22 it's actually helped me win.

Q. At Match Play, the announcers were talking about you and saying they don't remember anybody being better than you around the greens. Do you think you're going to make everything that you're hitting there?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'm trying. I'm certainly trying. What I've actually done is spent a lot more time on the basic chips, not the ridiculous ones from behind the trees, from out of the rough, but just the basic chips, because those are the ones that I've got to get up and down. And the difference between having a two-footer and a three-footer is astronomical. Those 12 inches make a big difference on the percentage of putts made. So I'm really trying to get the basic chip down to inside two feet, which is a putt I know I'm going to make a hundred percent of the time.

Q. When a regular amateur player sees you chip on the green and then goes to his muni and does that, you might have gotten a lot of guys in trouble, trying to pull off shots like that.

PHIL MICKELSON: I've heard of a broken window or two, sure.

Q. "Don't try this at home" is the bigger message. Before we head out to commercial one more time, I also want to talk to you about some of the things you think about, maybe other PGA TOUR players don't think about, things like time travel, world population, things like that. Are you fascinated by maybe theories or things that maybe a lot of us don't think about?

PHIL MICKELSON: I enjoy reading and learning about that stuff. I enjoy reading about how if you travel the speed of light, the aging process ceases at a 50-to-1 ratio. I think that stuff is fascinating. I think ultimately our solar system, the sun, our star, will expand and ungulf the earth. Right now what I think is happening with this Mars exploration, I think we're trying to establish life there. We're trying to find life forms on earth that can withstand 120 plus degree temperature heat, as well as extremely cold temperatures, and put plants on Mars in what we call terraform it so that we can ultimately live there. After that, we will plant some trees and develop some type of oxygen and atmosphere and be able to live there 100, 200 years from now. I think that would be really cool, and something we should look for as our population increases at this fast rate.

Q. It is interesting.

PHIL MICKELSON: Steven Hawking is great reading, I think. It's really fascinating stuff.

Q. We'll be back with more Science Talk with Phil Mickelson after this break. As we head out, we want to tell you to go to the The Golf Channel.com and join in a discussion regarding this show. You can e-mail us a question or a comment and look at a list of future guests.


Q. And welcome back to the Ford Championship at Doral. We are at Doral with Phil Mickelson. It's time now, as the little leather binder indicates, to play some personal trivia.

PHIL MICKELSON: Okay. Ask me anything.

Q. Questions about yourself.

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, about me?

Q. Think about some things in your life maybe you haven't thought about for a while.


Q. And here we go. What was your nickname among your teammates on the Arizona State golf team?

PHIL MICKELSON: They used to call me the Roman. I don't know why. Not like I lived a couple hundred years ago. They used to call me that.

Q. Was it the toga or anything like that?

PHIL MICKELSON: We had a couple of those. I think that was it.

Q. Okay. When you were a kid, we understand you wore a piece of sporting equipment around your house.


Q. Because of your clumsiness.

PHIL MICKELSON: I used to wear a football helmet because I used to run into all the corners. I was actually five or six at the time. I remember wearing it, and somebody asked me mom, "Why is he wearing that?" I come running around the corner, bang, right into the corner, fall down. He said, "Oh, I get it."

Q. That had to be a bad look for a kid.

PHIL MICKELSON: It wasn't bad. Shoot, we always wanted to wear a football helmet when we were a kid. Now I just had to.

Q. Your sister Tina used to take you to one particular class of hers when you were both kids. Where did they drag you off to? She would take classes, kind of a physical class.

PHIL MICKELSON: Her gymnastics class, yeah, when she was a kid. I used to watch her. She was really good. She was a really good gymnast as a child.

Q. Did you do any of the gymnastics?

PHIL MICKELSON: Cartwheels, splits, summersaults that was all me, Vince. Are you kidding me? No way.

Q. Your college coach, Steve Loy, found out you were choosing Arizona State via what method? How did you let him know?

PHIL MICKELSON: I told him on an airplane. I left him a note on a napkin, I think, or something.

Q. That says, "Hi, coach."

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, something like that. We were both flying back to the AJJ Awards.

Q. Now, this is interesting. You debuted in a television series and you were quite the actor in an episode of?

PHIL MICKELSON: The Jersey. The Superman was actually the first one. But I did The Jersey shortly thereafter.

Q. Okay.

PHIL MICKELSON: And Amy and I went on a trip to Italy. And we go up to our hotel room. We just got there, coming back from the airport. Turn on the TV, and it's my mug on TV in The Jersey speaking Italian, saying, "Ciao." I got a real kick out of that.

Q. We loved you in Lois and Clark as the golf instructor. Your first set of clubs, can you describe your first set of clubs?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, my dad -- first full set or my first golf clubs?

Q. First full set.

PHIL MICKELSON: First full set was a set of ladies clubs that we found on a drive back from a family trip. And I had won a set of clubs because I finished second in this tournament as a junior that gave a trophy. First and second got a trophy. If I win the trophy, I get a full set of clubs. So we find these ladies set. They were $75. My dad cut them down and fixed them up. Probably a good set because the shaft was real week, and it worked out well. But I was expecting, a nice shiny new Wilson Staff Blades at the time because those were the bomb back in the '70s.

Q. All right. This is the last question. No one's ever gotten all of them right. You have a chance to complete it right here. I don't want to put any extra pressure on you. Here we go, last question. This is my favorite answer, by the way.


Q. When you were three years old, you decided you were going to run away to Balboa Park muni golf course. What did you pack in your little brown and tan suitcase?

PHIL MICKELSON: I had a bunch of golf balls and my clubs, and I had a blank -- you caught me, I had my two little security -- I had a security blanket and my little stuffed animal called Flopsy.

Q. Flopsy.

PHIL MICKELSON: I wouldn't go without him.

Q. Flopsy was with you. You did it, congratulations. Clean sweep.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, The Jersey, I said Jersey.

Q. We're very lenient when it comes to those things.

PHIL MICKELSON: Wish you were my teacher back in high school.

Q. Grade on a curve. Are you kidding? Do you still have Flopsy? Where is Flopsy?

PHIL MICKELSON: We have him framed.

Q. Nice.


Q. Flopsy. That's a sweet story. When we come back, we'll finish things up here at the Doral?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's such a good color on you. Brings out the colors in your eyes.

Q. Thank you, Phil.


Q. We'll be back with some final words after this. Flopsy, we love you.


Q. And some final words at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, and a shot of 18, the Blue Monster. Doral, Phil Mickelson is with us, finishing up at the Ford Championship at Doral. We haven't mentioned Tina. And she's joined The Golf Channel family, broadcaster in the family here.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, that's great. Oh, it's just great. She went over to the dark side.

Q. Not invited to the family functions anymore?

PHIL MICKELSON: I really enjoyed watching her. I think she's done a great job on The Championships Tour. It's not easy commentating, it's really not. But I think she's done a good job. I know that she was saying how she did this and that the first week. Gosh, you know, everybody's going to make mistakes. You're on air for so many hours. But I think she's doing a great job. I'm proud of her.

Q. I think it's neat that your family, your mom and dad, kind of made sure everyone learned to love golf. It wasn't all about Phil when you were growing up. You were an exceptionally talented player. But they made sure everybody kind of took part in that and learned to love the game.

PHIL MICKELSON: Golf for us was a reward. We were never forced to play. In fact, it was used as punishment if we didn't do our chores or didn't do well in school. They would take our clubs away. I remember I couldn't play in some tournaments because I did something. My sister, she was not -- Tina was not really into golf at such a young age. She started to really develop a desire for it later on. My brother Tim, same thing. He instead of starting when he was a couple years old, he started when he was seven or eight. And he's turned into an excellent player. He's now coaching at University of San Diego. It's been a big part of our whole family.

Q. We talked about family extensively through this show, your immediate family. I'm wondering, because you want to spend more time with them, because you have been blessed, you have many different directions you'll go, is there a long-term game plan for you career-wise as far as how long you'll be out, how long you want to play, that kind of thing?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, Vince, it's interesting. I just think there's so many great things in life to do, so many great opportunities, and I love playing golf, and I really committed myself for the next seven years. I know that till I'm 40, I'm going to play competitive and try to play the best I can. And over the next seven years, that will really determine how my career is looked at. Those next seven, as well as the first 10. After I get 40, if I win a tournament here or there, or even majors, it won't really be looked at or alter the way my career has been looked at. Now, I'll probably play longer than that, I'm guessing. But when I'm 40, I'll relook at it because I'd like to spend time with my kids as they are doing sporting events, so forth. And I'm very fortunate to be able to be in that position to do so.

Q. We appreciate you spending time with us during this show, and it's great to see you down here. Best of luck to you this year.


Q. Best to your family. It was a pleasure.

PHIL MICKELSON: I enjoyed it. All but the Flopsy part.

Q. Well, it can't be a perfect sweep. Thanks for spending time here.

PHIL MICKELSON: My pleasure.

Q. That's going to do it for us, for Phil Mickelson, I'm Vince Cellini at Doral. We'll talk again.

End of FastScriptsÂ….

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