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January 29, 2015

Phil Mickelson


Q. Phil, did you have a little talk with yourself after 15?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah. Some of the things I said were -- no, I felt like I was a little anxious starting the round, because I felt like my game was really where I wanted it to be. I feel like I'm driving the ball well and hitting some good shots. I came out and I just made a bunch of dumb mistakes and I'm 3-over. I made a birdie on 17 and followed with one on 18, and that really turned the round back around. I ended up playing the front 9 really solid with 3-under and hit a lot of good shots on some holes I made pars, as well, and feel much better. This was an important thing for me, because I'm in a position now if I get hot tomorrow I can get right back in it. If I end up shooting 1-over, 2-over, I end up having to get a hot round just to get in the middle of the pack, so this was a big round to get it to under par.

Q. How different is the course now than what you're used to seeing?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we have to cut it a little slack this first year because the greens are new, so they're going to be bouncing like a trampoline on the first shot, and it's not playing the way it will in the future. So it looks like it's not as exciting and not rewarding the players for the risk that they are taking. This first year, that may be the case. But I think in the future, I think the changes are very subtle and will continue to play like it has in the past with a variance of scores. Guys that pull off the shots can go really low. Guys that don't pull them off shoot over par. I think that will turn out to be the case next year, but this year, with the greens being so firm, not so much.

Q. With the threat of rain later on, do you think it was an advantage playing this morning versus this afternoon?
PHIL MICKELSON: I do. I think it will be an advantage to play during the rain or after the rain, because it will soften the golf course up, make it a little bit easier to stop the ball closer to the hole.

Q. A lot of ASU gear out there. What can you say about this crowd and the following you get at this tournament every year?
PHIL MICKELSON: I love playing this event. I love the way the community supports this tournament, the Sun Devils. This year the Thunderbirds gave an exemption to Jon Rahm, the No. 3 in the world. I think the community and the Thunderbirds and the people who come out and support this tournament are wonderful. For me, to be a part of that community, part of this tournament for 25 years, has been great.

Q. Could you feel the energy this afternoon?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I had to give them something to get energized about it. Tomorrow there will be a few more people and hopefully in the afternoon I will get a hot round.

Q. Yesterday you said you were feeling better after the offseason. How did you feel today going into the first round?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I have been feeling the best I have in a long time, in years, even, and I have been able to practice as hard as I want. My swing speed has been coming back. I have been able to, to late in the round, finish the rounds off with energy and strength and stamina as opposed to getting tired, so it's been a good thing. I'm glad I put in the effort. It wasn't easy, but I'm glad I did it and I'm enjoying it right now.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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