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January 20, 2006

Phil Mickelson


Q. What kind of day did you have?

PHIL MICKELSON: It was a great day today. This is without any wind a very tough golf course, I thought. Even though we had low scores today, there's a lot of penalties, a lot of water out here. I can imagine that it would be extremely difficult with some wind. I was fortunate to have a calm day and I'll take a 4 under par round, even though there was probably lower rounds out there.

Q. Did you get to see the golf course before today?

PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't, I haven't. I thought about it, I just couldn't get out. I came out early and did some chipping and putting on the greens. I thought they might be a little firmer than the other ones because they were new but they actually played very similar. I thought that it was a very fair test, but we also played without wind. I can't imagine what guys had done in the wind.

Q. How did you feel coming into the week?

PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I was a little rusty and not really sure how it was going to go. I had six good days of work with Rick Smith and Dave Pelz before the tournament, so I was somewhat optimistic.

But still, after not playing for a few months, you're never quite certain how things are going to go. I came out and played a very good front nine at La Quinta and have been playing somewhat okay since, too.

Q. You said there were probably better scores out there, do you feel like you were not getting enough out of it?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I wasn't you know, the nice thing about not playing a golf course before, you don't know what holes are birdie holes and what holes aren't, so you just kind of play it as it comes. I never got ahead of myself and looked ahead. Played pretty patient.

You know, I shot 4 under. I could have maybe gotten two or three more shots out of it, but I'm pretty pleased with it. I felt like I managed a lot of misses around a lot of water and was able to keep the ball in play and come up with a solid round.

Q. What do you think of this course now that you've seen it and played it as a Sunday golf course; the golf course that decides the tournament, how could you compare it to a PGA West?

PHIL MICKELSON: You know, they are the same designer. Palmer did both courses, so they are going to be very similar. I think that they both have great risk/reward coming down the stretch. I think it's going to be a very exciting venue. I like the way that they built up the sides to accommodate spectators. I think that is was very well thought out and I think that it's going to be a great Sunday venue for this tournament.

I know a lot of people feel a certain sentiment for the older courses. I know I do because I played well and I won there. I'm sorry to see it leave the event, but I look at these new courses and they are good and I think they are going to be a great host site. In fact, I think this one will be probably easier and should hold a few more people.

Q. Do you feel like it's maybe fortunate the way the draw worked that you had the calm day here and tomorrow you have Bermuda Dunes?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'm still seven shots back, so I don't feel all that lucky, no. I do have Bermuda Dunes tomorrow, which I think is the course that most people have been going low on, so I need to shoot 8 or 9 under par to really have a good run at it on Sunday.

I do feel fortunate to have played the Classic Course, a course I haven't played without any wind. I think it would have been much tougher if it were windy, given the fact that I had not played it yet.

Q. You set up your schedule the same way you did last year, playing six out of seven early, is that because you were so successful, you do the same formula?

PHIL MICKELSON: I do that every year. I like the West Coast, I grew up on the West Coast, I want to play those tournaments. I skip Hawaii so I can play more tournaments on the West Coast. And I'm anxious, the last month I was itching to go play and I kind of fought myself to not go practice so that I would wait until I had some help with Rick and Dave to get on the right foot and right track.

Now I'm excited to play. I want to play, which is why I'm playing so many tournaments starting out. But I usually do that every year.

Q. That was the exact same quote you gave us when you won here, that you were excited; does that sound familiar?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, that's exactly it. After playing for eight or nine months, I tend to get tired and my desire isn't as strong, so I don't practice and work as hard. After forcing myself to take a couple of months off, when I get back out, the days are not long enough and I can't get enough practice in in sunlight. So consequently, I tend to play better.

Q. The work with Rick, was that all you did?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think I played three or four rounds sporadically with friends in those three months. I went to Hawaii and played those two days, too, but I had not touched a club in the first six weeks before that.

Q. Do you like leaving them down, some guys say they play at home no matter what?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, but I had a lot going on, too, outside of golf. I shot a bunch of commercials, did a bunch of photo shoots, did a couple of company days with friends and working on other projects.

So even though I wasn't playing, it wasn't as though I was just sitting at home doing nothing. I went skiing with my daughters, got them started, so it's been fun.

Q. So those things that we don't see on a daily basis, does, in fact, take a lot of time; it's not playing golf but

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, and they are all day, they are long days, 12 hour days typically. But I try to schedule all that in December so it doesn't affect my play. That's so I don't have to take a Monday or Tuesday and get sidetracked in the middle of the season.

Q. Where did you decide to go skiing?

PHIL MICKELSON: I took my daughters to Beaver Creek. They have a great ski school there and an ice skating rink.

Q. First time?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, they have been up. I take them up quite off. Every year I try to take each one on an individual trip. So I take them one at a time and so I do a couple overnight trips with them.

Q. Just you and then Amy stays home?

PHIL MICKELSON: Right. And she does the same with the others. When I'm gone, she takes one and does the same thing. It's that one on one time that I really cherish that I kind of find out and I learn a lot about them.

It was great, we came right after two weeks of snow. It was perfect.

End of FastScripts.

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