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August 3, 2014

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Were you just sort of not really telling the truth yesterday when you were lamenting the state of your game?
PHIL MICKELSON:  You know, I really thought after the Scottish and the British, my game was really close to clicking.  And then the first two rounds here came, and I don't know what to say.  I don't know what happened.  It was just terrible.
Today it kind of came together.  I started hitting the ball the right distance with my irons.  I had much better control.  I had the right spin, the right trajectory, and ended up making those putts and had 10 birdies today.
This was a big day for me heading into next week because I feel like I'm not trying to search and find it on Thursday.  I feel like my game is right there.  I have a little bit of momentum heading in, and I don't feel like I'm searching as much.  I feel like I found what I'm looking for.  I just have to keep it going and build on today's round and put together four good, solid rounds.

Q.  Is it easy to explain what you found?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, I've just been kind of waiting for it to click, just waiting for things to come together without trying to force it.
So I've been very patient.  I haven't been trying to push it along, but the first two rounds were very frustrating for me.  Where I was at mentally after those first two rounds compared to now is a 180 degree difference because I felt like it was there, and then to shoot those scores was just terrible.
To put together today's round where I really had some good control of my iron play, especially rolled it well, it feels good.

Q.  So having played like that, what's your change in your hypothesis about how well you can do at the PGA?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, I don't‑‑ certainly, my confidence heading into the PGA is astronomically higher than it was 24 hours ago, and I feel like heading into Thursday's round, that I'm not searching to find something, that I have what I'm looking for.  I just have to maintain it and put together mentally a good four solid rounds.
But that golf course is a course I've played well on, and the fairways are very generous.  I feel as though I'll be able to keep the ball in play there, and now that my irons started to click, that's going to be the big thing for me.  As I was saying yesterday, that's what I've struggled with, my iron play and not making enough birdies, and then I come out today and make 10.  That to me was the big change.

Q.  Is that all it takes sometimes, just one day‑‑
PHIL MICKELSON:  It is.  When you feel like you're close, all you need is for it to just click one day, and all of a sudden, you're off and running.
Now, I don't know what will happen next week, but if I play well, if I play well next week, I'll look back to today's round as being the key point.

Q.  How risky was the shot on 18?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, it was 175 yards.  So if I try to hit like a 9 or an 8 iron, the speed that I would have had to go into that ball, I probably could have gotten hurt.  I took a hybrid, so I had to just chip it, just an easy little strike.
Also, there's no leading edge.  There's kind of a lot of bounce.  So that club skidded right through the grass.  So I didn't feel anything because I was able to swing easy and have it just glide through, but I was worried about getting hurt if I tried to get after it.
But I didn't really have a shot to try that.  So it worked out.

Q.  Know what advantage the long hitters are going to be at at Valhalla?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I don't know.  It's been six years since I've been back.  I haven't seen what they've done to the golf course as far as lengthening it.  But the fairways are always generous.  I think the biggest thing is coming into the greens, you want to hit a lot of shots high and soft.
There's a lot of collection areas.  You've got to carry a lot of bunkers and get the ball stopped quick.  The higher and softer you hit the ball, you seem to be able to make a lot more birdies at Valhalla, if I remember correctly.  So that will be the biggest thing, not so much length off the tee.

Q.  The 62 today, when did you feel like, man, I've got a good round going, I feel really good today?  Was it when you were driving, when you were playing, or what?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, I birdied the first two holes, and I just felt like, without doing much, I made two good putts and felt like it started to click.
I hit the first three fairways, and it just started to kind of click.

Q.  Were you maybe as disappointed yesterday as you [ Inaudible ]?
PHIL MICKELSON:  After Friday's round especially.  After Friday's round, I was very frustrated because I thought it was right there for one of these rounds to come, and to shoot 71, 73 is just terrible.
I didn't understand why it was not coming together.  This is only one round.  I don't want to jump ahead, but I feel like I'm not searching anymore.

Q.  I'm sure you heard about Tiger.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I saw him walking down 9.  I was on‑‑

Q.  11 maybe?
PHIL MICKELSON:  ‑‑ 11.  It didn't look good.  It looked like he was really in pain.  I hope he's okay.  I mean, I hope he's able to play next week.  I hope it's a muscle and nothing serious because I'm really looking forward to playing with him.  We rarely get paired together.  If we do, it's been early Saturday.
So it's nice to be paired together and have a couple of rounds and I hope he's able to play it.
As much as I love playing with him, playing against him, trying to beat him, it's we all want him in the field.  We all want him back.  I just hope he's okay.

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