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June 14, 2015

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Phil, nice round today, eight birdies on the card.  I kind of sensed yesterday in our interview you were a little frustrated, I guess, with your game, would be a good word, not making as many putts or birdies today.  How do you feel about that after your round today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, this was a good day.  I played really well today, and looking back there were there were three, four, five shots I left out there.  I really hit a lot of good shots.  I made a lot of birdies.  Made some good putts.  More importantly I was able to control the miss for the most part on where I wanted it to go.  I hit a lot of good iron shots the way I wanted to and ended up making some good birdies.

Q.  Made a really long one on 14 but the one on 18 as well.  Looked like you had to have perfect line and speed and fell in dead for you?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Looked like it was going to go right in three and did kind of a 360 around the cup.  I had a couple earlier in the week that had done kind of that and not gone, and I just thought how is this going to miss?  It went in.  It was a nice feeling to see that ball drop.

Q.  Absolutely.  You've already been to Chambers Bay earlier.  Thoughts on that, preparation-wise, what's going to happen for you next week?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, I really like the golf course.  I think what Mike Davis said a few weeks ago is really true in that if you're going to be ready for this tournament, it takes a lot more time to learn the golf course than just a couple of days, and if you're having to use Monday through Wednesday to do that, you're not putting that effort into your own game.  So I'm pleased that I've developed kind a game plan for each hole and how I'm going to get to certain pins, and I'm going to go back home tonight and spend the day practicing in San Diego working on a lot of shots.  I'll get up there tomorrow night and put it to work on the practice rounds Tuesday an Wednesday.
I really like the golf course, and I think that it's a special course in that there's a lot of different ways to play shots to a lot of different pins, and if you play the highest percentage shot, it's not a hard golf course.  But if you don't know what that shot is, you play the wrong one, there's a lot of penalty.

Q.  Well, nice round today to finish up FedEx St. Jude Classic.  Good luck next week at the U.S. Open.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm very pleased with the way I progressed and got better as the tournament went on, and today I was pleased because I made a lot of birdies, hit a lot of good shots.  Capitalized on a lot of those shots with making a number of those putts.  It was a good day.  I still made some mistakes.  There's still areas I got to improve.  I saw a lot of progress this week as the week went on.  I'm feeling a lot better about heading into the U.S. Open after this week than I did after last.

Q.  Certainly with putts like this on 14, take us through that.
PHIL MICKELSON:  We're going to have a lot of these putts at Chamber Bay, lot of 40, 50, 60-footers.  I like -- the speed was good.  Go 2 feet by.  That's luck the ball goes in.  You give the ball enough chances, mathematically you'll make a few.

Q.  Coming in, strong finish to the round.  Lovely shot here at 17.
PHIL MICKELSON:  This was a good one.  That's a little 64-degree wedge that I had Roger Cleveland make up we've been working on for a year or so.  I've actually been practicing hard with that.  It's going to be a very important club next week.
The ground is firm, typical British Open style shots around the greens.  That fescue grass gets firm, tight lies.  I'm going to need the club.  Putting is really a premium moreso than ever before perhaps at the U.S. Open.

Q.  Good way to finish your round with a 25-footer.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I thought it was going to lip out.  I started to kind of move to get it, because it looked like it was right in the heart.  I've had a couple of those.  We all have this week.  They look like they're going to go in and didn't quite.  I couldn't believe that was going to be one of them.  Fortunately it went in.

Q.  So you talk about the 64-degree, talk about the putting.  Overall how excited to be heading to Chambers Bay and try to get that elusive Open title next week?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm looking forward to the challenge.  I really like the golf course.  I feel like I've got a pretty good game plan on how to play the holes there and it's different to each pin.  The hole changes entirely when you have certain pin placements moving around the bunkers.  I feel like I've -- my game is coming around.  Hopefully these next three days I'll be able to really fine-tune and be sharp when the tournament starts Thursday.

Q.  The process of coming here and playing in Memphis, has that helped in terms of getting the game and mind properly sharp?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was huge for me to come here and play and play well and finish well on Sunday, after last week where I lost it on the weekend.  I needed momentum and confidence.  I had a good practice session on Tuesday and really developed the direction I wanted my game to go.  My set-up was getting a little sloppy and starting to get back to where it needs to be to be able to make a good swing.  As the week wore on, my swing was better and better.

Q.  How do you make eight birdies on this golf course?  Your thoughts on the 65 you shot?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I played really well.  I hit good iron shots and drove the ball well and put it in play, and it was a really good day.  It was a day to get some momentum and to get a little bit of confidence.  I feel like today was important for me because it validates that what I've been working on is the right path and getting a little bit better.
Now, I still have some work to do.  There were still some areas out there today that I let a few shots slide.  I've got to get sharper these next three days.  That's what I'll be working on.

Q.  You said you wanted to start strong.  You did.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I wanted to build as the week went on also, and I made more birdies today than I did the first two days combined.  That's really a good thing.  It means I'm hitting good shots and capitalizing on them.
So, that gives me some confidence heading into next week.  I really like the golf course.  I've already got a good game plan for it.  Got to fine-tune and make sure my game is sharp.

Q.  Get the Grand Slam?

Q.  The ball wasn't going to let you fail on 18?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I couldn't believe the ball dove at the end.  I thought it was right in the middle and looked like it was going to miss, caught the lip and spun around in the hole and went in.  Fortunate, very happy the ball went in, because we've all had a few here or there that you thought were going to go in and at the end they just didn't quite.  It's kind of heartbreaking.  I hit one on 18 I thought was breaking right in the middle and didn't go, and to see that one drop was good.

Q.  What's it like knowing what you're doing this week goes such a long way to help the kids at St. Jude's?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I can't get over how much FedEx does for the community.  This is a great golf course that supports a really great charity.  We get to see some wonderful kids that have a whole different perspective on life than we do.  We have out here on Tour, we're -- we get to play -- we get to do what we love to do, which is play golf for a living.  Not many people get to say that.  Then to see these kids that are fighting for their lives, it kind of puts things in perspective.  And it's interesting to see their perspective on life, how appreciative they are of every little thing, and you can't help but have your heart go out to them.

Q.  Complimentary of Southwind when you got here.  Now that you kind of completed the week, how would you evaluate the course?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I've always thought that Southwind is a very underrated golf course on Tour, probably the most underrated.  It plays fabulous.  It's not the most aesthetically or visually stimulating golf course.  Might look a little blah, which is why it's so underrated.  It plays perfect.  You have a wonderful mixture of shots right to left, left to right, working around trees, challenging shots around the green, but very playable and doable.  What I really like if you hit a good shot and you're on the green, you have a very makeable opportunity.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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