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August 2, 2014

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Went a little bit better today for you.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, it went a little better.  I thought I was closer than I am.  My first two rounds showed me I'm not as close as I thought I was.
Today was a good round, but still conditions are easy.  Good rounds in the mid‑60's, and I'm barely getting under par.

Q.  Do you feel like you're accomplishing anything as you lead up to Valhalla?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm definitely identifying a lot of weaknesses.  I've got a lot of work to do to feel better.

Q.  Are you feeling close to 100 percent physically?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I feel a lot better today.  Energy level is a lot better today.
But even today, I really only went after three or four shots.  I was always hitting it a little bit easier, but I do feel a lot better today than I did last week.

Q.  What did you make of Sergio yesterday?  You got to watch that.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was impressive to watch.  What was impressive is how well he putted, how well the ball was rolling off the face.  He's really turned himself into a great putter after having a couple of years of struggling.  He's now a really good putter.

Q.  Having 61's around here two years in a row, does that say anything about the course or anything?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Who shot it the other time?

Q.  Tiger last year, second round.
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, just you have to play great golf.  If you do, it rewards you.

Q.  What are your thoughts about how the Dustin Johnson news has unraveled the way it has this week?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Nothing I really want to comment on.  I'm interested to read.  I haven't really read up on it.

Q.  Just the way the story comes out that he's involved and then the Tour says he's not suspended.  Do you wish that the Tour had a different degree of transparency about that kind of thing?
PHIL MICKELSON:  You know, I don't really want to comment on this issue.  It's kind of a touchy issue, and I'd just rather stay away.

Q.  Can I ask you a general question with regard to Sergio?  He just seems happy in his personal life and everything.  Is that kind of what it takes?  Does it take that to sometimes get back to reach your potential again?  When everything's going well on and off the course.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I don't know, you know, all the ins and outs as to why he's playing well, but he's playing well.  He's putting the ball well and rolling the ball really nicely off the face.  He's always been a great driver and long iron player.  His game looks really sharp right now.

Q.  Phil, the last time you were at Valhalla, you enjoyed a pretty good week, in the Ryder Cup and so forth.  And you also were in contention in '96 at Valhalla.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I was in contention in '96, and I finished in the top ten but didn't really have a great chance in 2000.  I played well at the Ryder Cup.  It's a golf‑‑ I've always liked Nicklaus courses.  I've always played well on Nicklaus courses.
Usually, fairly generous fairways and greens that are blocked in front, which has been advantageous to me because I hit the ball high and get the ball to stop and spin it.  I've always liked and enjoyed playing his golf courses.  Valhalla is one of his better ones, I think, too.  It's beautiful.  I've played well there in the past.
I've got a little work to do on my game.  It's been a long time since I've played well, and it's been more of a struggle than I thought it would be.  I thought it would come back a little bit quicker.  I felt really close at the British and Scottish.  I thought it was going to click.  And then the first two rounds here were disappointing.

Q.  Is there enough time, do you think?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm not sure.  I'm not sure.  We'll see.  It would be out of nowhere for me to play well.  You just never know.

Q.  Is any of that attributable to the fact that you've been ill and not able to work out here?  Because you did say the other day that you thought you were close.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I really thought after the Scottish and British that I was on to something.  I didn't get a chance to work much the last week and a half.  I didn't hit any drivers or 3 woods.  I just hit short irons and stuff.
But as I look back on my game right now, what has always been a strength for me is my short irons.  I usually hit one or two to tap‑in distance every round or make a lot of birdies.  I've led on Tour in birdies per round in total for a number of years.
My short irons have been pathetic.  I'm not hitting the ball close.  I'm not making many birdies.  I played pretty well today, and I made two birdies.  That's just not going to cut it.  I'm just not hitting my short irons close enough.
We can look at all the other factors, but the bottom line is, if I have to get the ball on the fairway, I'm hitting this 2 iron on the fairway, and I'm averaging over 90 percent with the 2 iron from the Scottish and the British and here.  I hit a lot of fairways with that club.  If I have to get on the fairway, I can, but I'm just not hitting my short irons close.  That's the one factor right now that's really holding me back because I'm just not making enough birdies.

Q.  Despite your struggle, what do you have to say about the fans supporting you?
PHIL MICKELSON:  The people are great, and I've always loved coming here.  I've been coming here for over two decades now.  It's one of the best places we play on Tour.  There's great support from the fans.
I love the tournament itself, a small field on one of the best golf courses we have on Tour.  For a long time there in the '90s, I played really well here.  I had that win and a number of second place finishes.
The last decade, though, I've struggled here, and there's nothing more to attribute it to than poor play because the golf course rewards great play and punishes bad play.

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