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July 6, 2005

Phil Mickelson


SCOTT CROCKETT: Phil, many thanks as always for coming in. It's always a pleasure to welcome come you to Loch Lomond. You said you got here to Sunday to the U.K., so why don't you tell us what you've been doing since you got here.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I came over a little early to get adjusted to the time and to get a good look at St. Andrews before the British Open starts next week. So I spent the last couple of days over there and the course looks terrific.

Now I'm trying to get acclimated to this golf course. This is a wonderful event and one I'd like it play well in. I think I'd like to play well in it for a couple of reasons, but one of them is it's a great event and second I'd like to get some momentum for next week. The greens are very different from what I saw yesterday, so I'll be spending a lot of time here on the greens trying to get adjusted to the fast pace that we have here at Loch Lomond.

SCOTT CROCKETT: You must be quite pleased with the way things are going for your own game this year.

PHIL MICKELSON: It's been a good year so far, thank you, and unfortunately, where I really want to play well are the majors. I have not had as good a performance this year as I had last year. So I'm really trying to get my game sharp and I feel like I've prepared well for me vent and hopefully it will carry over for next week.

Q. Not everybody agrees with the changes they have made to St Andrews?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't remember too much how it played in 2000. It was five years ago. What I noticed was that a lot of the bunkers that were not in play in 2000 are in play in year. And so with that being the case, I would think that the changes have done exactly what they have hoped to accomplish, which is bring on 14 the Beardies bunkers and Hell bunker in play, and they are very much in play. A lot of the holes are very difficult and challenging because the bunkers are now very strategically placed, so I think it's been I think it was very well done.

Q. Do you feel you haven't done yourself justice in this tournament?

PHIL MICKELSON: I would agree with that. I want to play well in this event. I think my best finish, I think I have maybe only one Top 10 here, but I want to try to contend in this event. I know the golf course well enough. I've come in now this year a couple days earlier than last year to try to get adjusted to the time and give myself enough time to adapt to the golf course, and I hope to play much better this year than I have in the past.

Q. Any idea why you haven't played well here?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure what the problem was, but I just kind of tweaked my schedule a little bit to get a better performance here.

Q. Were you here Monday?

PHIL MICKELSON: No. I came in Sunday night and went into St. Andrews. I came here Monday morning to hit some balls and practice, then I drove over.

Q. Last year when you missed the cut

PHIL MICKELSON: Did I miss it last year?

Q. By one shot.

PHIL MICKELSON: Okay. I believe you. I didn't know that, but go ahead.

Q. Did you feel you lost a little bit of momentum going in the Open because of that?

PHIL MICKELSON: It would not appear that way because I only missed the playoff by a shot. A lot of times guys have won major championships missing the cut a week before, a lot of times it can be a positive by having a couple extra days' practice. But a lot of guys who have also won major championships after playing well the week before, they take that momentum and carry over into the majors, so it could go either way.

Q. Do you have a game plan for St Andrews?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's a good question. I've been trying to look at the course next week for different wind conditions, how I will play if it's very windy and how I'll play if it's not very windy and the types of shots that I'm going to play are totally different. So I feel like I've got to spend a lot of time on a lot of different shots to be properly prepared to face the conditions that we have.

Q. What haven't you got quite right the first two majors this year?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I haven't scored well enough, and looking back on it, I felt like I was hitting the ball well going into the two majors. I didn't feel like I got out of the greens; I didn't putt as well as I did last year. So I'm spending a lot more time on the putting green, just getting a feel for the speed. I think that the putts have started on line, but I haven't had the right speed to make them, and I think that's the area I'll spend the most time.

But the greens are so different that from next week to here, I want to make sure I spend enough time this week getting adjusted to the quick greens at Loch Lomond, and I'll have plenty of time the next few days before the tournament to get adjusted. But right now the greens are a lot faster here.

Q. Did you ever go into the Road Hole Bunker at the 17th?

PHIL MICKELSON: I did not go into the bunker there, no. I did look at it and it looked a little different, but I did not hit any shots out of it, no. It was marked off. I didn't think they wanted anybody in there.

I think this year is going to be a lot harder, because off the tee the bunkers are much more in play than they have been in the past. But I wouldn't put it past Tiger or another player to avoid them all 72 holes. I think if you're hitting the balls in the bunker, then you're probably not going to be in contention.

Q. Is the course tricked up, do you think?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, no, no, it's not tricked up. It's as fair as ever. It's really in great shape. I'm really impressed with the setup.

Q. Is it one of your favorites?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that St. Andrews just has a different feel when playing it than any course because you just feel the sense of history and the sense of the home of golf being there. Other courses have different looks, may have tougher penalties or just have different setups, different holes, but there's something about St. Andrews that gives you a unique feel that no other course has.

It's certainly up there.

Q. Or Muirfield?

PHIL MICKELSON: I do like that course. I very much enjoy Troon. I enjoy all of the courses that we play in the British Open rotation.

Q. Was there more rough?

PHIL MICKELSON: Surprisingly there's a lot more than I expected, yes. It was very penalizing in some spots. Right of No. 5 green was extremely difficult; 17 to the right, I don't recall ever having rough to the right of the fairway, and there was a lot of thick stuff, some of the thickest on the course. That hole is going to play very difficult.

Q. When you think of St Andrews, what first comes to mind?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I had some good memories in '95. I shot a very low round in the second round. I had some good memories in '96 when we played the Dunhill Cup; myself, Steve Stricker and Mark O'Meara won the Dunhill Cup. Didn't play the best in 2000; although at the time it was my best British Open finish, so go figure.

It's been an adjustment for me to learn how to play the proper shots over here and to appreciate the proper shots. And now I can't wait to get back here to play a style of golf that we don't get to play over in the States.

Q. Have you played Hoylake?

PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't, no. I hear that's terrific. I have got to get over there, but I have not played there yet.

Q. Tiger said he couldn't fathom why the changes had been made?

PHIL MICKELSON: If you had not played before the changes were made, you never would know that there were changes. It blended in very naturally. It looks like it's been there from day one, and the course I think is playing the way it was supposed to play years ago. The bunkers that are such great penalties are very much in the driving or landing areas now.

Q. Does the setup favor the longer hitters?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that there is an advantage to hitting the ball long, and maybe taking a carry like No. 4 and being able to fly it over the hill. Although this year it's going to be very tough if you have any hurt, because they moved the tee back a little bit but it's still very possible.

So there's an advantage there, but, I think the winner doesn't necessarily have to be a long hitter. I think the winner is going to have a lot of creativity into the greens, hitting some bump and run shots that have a lot of touch and end up right distance and using the slopes properly, as opposed to somebody who just bombs it, because the course is playing longer. And if we get some wind, we'll see a lot of creativity and I think the winner will show that.

Q. 19 under won the last time at St Andrews, can you see that again?

PHIL MICKELSON: One of the things I really enjoy playing the British open with the exception of one or two years is that the course is not tricked up and it's very straightforward; and the defense is the wind and they set the course up to blow 20, 25 knots. If the wind doesn't blow, then the defense isn't there and the guys are going to shoot a low score. I've always appreciated the fact that the R&A sets the course up as fair as it possibly can given the difficult conditions we might see.

If the wind doesn't blow, if it's great conditions, we'll see guys shoot 19 under. Maybe not 19, but we'll see them shoot low like Tiger did in 2000. But if it blows, I think only 5 , 6 , 7 under par won in '95. We could very much see that as well.

Q. Are you more confident heading into the Open this year?

PHIL MICKELSON: I do feel more confident heading in this year than years past because of the finish I had last year and the opportunity to win, as well as feeling very comfortable now with the bump and run shots and actually looking forward to hitting each one.

I've actually really enjoyed the different style of golf in the last few years, and I'm starting to play better and better. St. Andrews is a wonderful test and people who have won there say that it just makes their career; it's their fondest memory. I remember Jack Nicklaus saying his career would not be complete had he not won at St. Andrews. Next week we are going to see a lot of guys trying to win their dream as a child and winning the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Q. Were you able to watch any of last week's play at The K Club?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't watch the final round because we were en route. But I watched Saturday's round and it seemed like there was some impressive play. I guess it didn't carry over to Sunday. It looked like it was playing very difficult.

Q. Will you be able to play there before the Ryder Cup?

PHIL MICKELSON: I would like to. I don't have it planned this trip but I would like to get something scheduled. It looked like it was a very penalizing, tough golf course.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much for your time.

End of FastScripts.

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