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April 10, 2015

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Good shooting today.

Q.  There was a lot of attention all over the course today with Jordan going at it early and Ben's last round and you quietly shot 68, four birdies in the back nine.  Take us through the back.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a good back nine, obviously.  I think we got a little luckier with the later tee time.  The wind started to die down a little bit, and around Amen Corner, although there was still a little bit of wind, it was nothing like what was going on earlier in the day.
We were able to get at some pins and make some birdies.  Ryan had a good back five.  Rory had a good back five.  It was a good day.

Q.  Talk about that second shot on 17.  That was something special.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, I was surprised with what I had left after I thought I hit a pretty good drive in the fairway and it ended up being in the rough and it was blocked out.
But because the wind was helping I was able to get a wedge up over the trees and the wind was able to push it just far enough to get to the pin and I made a good putt coming back.

Q.  So you've seen everything in your tournament career.  Eight shots, two days, weekend championship golf.  What's your strategy?
PHIL MICKELSON:  There's really no different strategy for me going into tomorrow than really what I had today.  Today was a tough day starting out, where I'm 12 shots off the lead.  I've got a difficult golf course with windy conditions and a lot of tough pins.  It was tough to be patient.  It was tough not to force the issue and make some dumb mistakes.  It would have been really easy to do.  But I shot a good round.
And tomorrow is the same goal is to just go out and shoot as low a round as I can given what the conditions are, given where the pin placements are.
A lot can happen on this golf course, and he was playing some of the best golf coming into this tournament, he's playing the best golf in the tournament.  And I expect him to continue that.  But you never know what's going to happen in this golf tournament, and if something were to happen I want to be there, be there to take over.

Q.  Considering what you said about Jordan, you're not expecting him to back up, are you?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† No, he's an exceptional player, and he's playing‑‑ he's been playing great golf heading into this event.¬† So this is no shock that he's come out hot in the first two days.¬† And I would expect it to continue.¬† I think that the conditions are soft with the rains that we've had that you can get away with a few errant shots.¬† You can use your short game to get up and down and if you happen to hit a bad shot the short game is good enough to salvage pars.¬† It will be tough to catch him.¬† But we're only halfway done.

Q.  So you have such a great love for this place and the history of it, talk about what Ben has meant to Augusta National, the Masters?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† He's the best. ¬†He was one of the‑‑ he and Julie were one of the first couples that Amy and I really got close to when I came out on Tour two decades ago.¬† He's a great man, a passionate man, an emotional man, and his love for the Masters is second to none.¬† I'm hopeful that he will come back every year and head up the Champions dinner on Tuesdays, the way he's done the last it few years, taking over for Byron Nelson years ago.¬† He's a very integral part of the event and I love seeing him every year here.

Q.  Your yardage on 17?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I had 142 to the hole.  And I hit pitching wedge.

Q.  Does he have to back up?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Just depends on the conditions and the pins.¬† If we're able to go low, so is he.¬† So you just‑‑ you can't project what you're going to have to shoot because you don't know where they're going to set the pins.¬† Any given hole there's a pin placement, you're just happy to make par.¬† But if you put it in certain spots you're able to make birdie.¬† So you just don't know how they're going to set it up.

Q.  We were talking about it and thinking that the best thing, at least to get to Sunday, would be to make the course very difficult tomorrow.  Do you think that would make sense?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, certainly the firm conditions make angles important, past knowledge important.
But there's no fire in the golf course right now.  We've had the rain come in.  There was a little bit of fire in the greens on Monday, and when that happens angles into the green off the tee, places to miss, shots around the green become much more sensitive.  But here we haven't had that yet.  And so that's why we have such low scoring.
I think for us to catch him we're going to have to get a little fire on the golf course.  But for that to happen the rains have to hold off.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Yes, I just had a slight adjustment in my set up and that was‑‑ just felt like‑‑ I've been putting really well, and I just didn't feel great yesterday.¬† And today is good.

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