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January 27, 2016

Phil Mickelson

San Diego, California

Q. A couple comments about being back to a place that's near and dear to you?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's exciting to be back and playing in my 27th Farmers Insurance Open, and I'm always excited to be back at Torrey Pines. I love the place here, and it's a special place to me, and I'm excited to compete again.

Q. Does it feel like 27 years? Did that just fly?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's gone by quick, it really has. I remember still when I was a young boy walking the fairways with my dad and watching the pros play and playing my first professional event ever as an amateur in the qualifying -- I qualified as the amateur spot and played in 1988. And it was -- this is just a special place for me and 27 times, gosh, it doesn't seem like that many, but I look forward to each one.

Q. Do you think have you anything left to prove? You played well last week. Contended.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's not that I have anything left to prove. It's that I want, know and believe that I can play at an extremely high level and it's frustrating to me when the last couple years I haven't played to the level I know I'm capable of.

Last week was the first week that I saw glimpses of swinging the golf club easy again and hitting shots again. I'm excited to carry that over this week. I think that the one area that I was off a little bit last week getting my iron shots close. I had a good session this morning with Andrew Getson and the game is -- I think we addressed that. So I'm looking forward to this week. I think it's hopefully going to be an improved-upon week from last week.

Q. There's a lot of differences in the schedule this year because of the Majors that are condensed. It's a long way off still, but do you see it affecting you at all? Might you skip something you would normally play or like for example, is the Scottish Open still in there possibly? All these things seem to change people's minds this year. Thoughts on how they're going to approach it.
PHIL MICKELSON: My schedule up through May really is not going to change any. It's pretty much the same. It's when we get into the summer months where the Majors are all being condensed because of the addition of the Olympics that things get a little bit chaotic. It doesn't really change too much. I'll try to play the weeks before. The only one that I won't have a chance to play the week before will be the PGA. So I'll go in early and spend the weekend there. But other than that, I'm trying to keep it as close to the same as in the past.

Q. Walking around the North Course today, is it bitter sweet, given how sideways things went with the design?
PHIL MICKELSON: I love Torrey Pines and it's a very special place for me. And I want to see it continue to create memories and moments in people's lives, families playing together, friends playing together.

I think Tom Weiskopf is an excellent designer, and he'll be able to do something that will continue to add to the great spot that Torrey North is. It's certainly disappointing for me, but I understand the politics of it all. Actually, I don't understand the politics of it all. It makes no sense. I think it's terrible business practices, but it's what we live with here. I'm not bitter about it. I just kind of learned to accept that as being one of the sacrifices of living in California.

Q. Safe to say this was very personal to you though, I mean this was --
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it is a personal place, it is a personal thing for me because of the memories, the history, the nostalgia that I feel every time I walk on the grounds here. And every time I am here, I see what -- I see the potential. It's the greatest site in the world.

I see the opportunity to bring the canyon back into the golf course, to eliminate acres and acres of unnecessary grass that require water and maintenance. And to make it even more playable for the average guy where they can run shots up. Yet have tucked pins for the Tour players. Like I see the potential for what this could be. And it's certainly disappointing that I won't be able to be a part of it. But I think that Weiskopf has a great history as an architect, and I think that he'll do a great job.

Q. You've been such an inspiration for younger players. Talk about Ryan Ruffels and your relationship with him.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, that's an interesting one. He's a very nice person. I met him a month ago, and we played for the first time. He, he's young, and he's got some things to learn.

One of them is you don't discuss certain things. You don't discuss specifics of what you play for. And you certainly don't embellish and create a false amount just for your own benefit. So those things right there are -- that's high school stuff, and he's going to have to stop doing that now that he's out on the PGA TOUR.

Q. When Jason Day was here last week, he talked about the new rivalry between himself and Jordan and Rory. Sort of said he's kind of taken the mantle from you and Tiger. Do you see it that way yet or is it not quite to that level?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly, what he did last year is exceptional. It's one of the greatest accomplishments in the game of golf. I think that it's only fair to have him and McIlroy and Jason Day, what he's done and Rickie Fowler and those guys up there.

But that's not to say that the level of play that they're experiencing is any greater than the level that Tiger and myself played years ago. Or that I can't achieve that level again. Which I'm very optimistic that this year I'll be able to do that. But who knows. If I don't, Tiger doesn't, what they're doing is carrying on the great game and they're quality individuals who really know how to represent the sport well.

Q. Having Andrew walk the course with you today, how much do you think that will help you this week going through every step with you today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought that I was not as far off with my swing as I was. I don't like having my hand held as I work on my game, but I was so far off I've needed a little bit of hand holding. So, Andrew has spent a lot more time with me to make sure that the details of each swing are right and that the swing is on plane. Because as I'm trying to work on hitting shots and creating shots, the only way to do that is if the swing is on plane. I'm not able to identify if it's that the swing was on or off plane or if my feel and touch was just a little bit off. So I've had him spend all week with me last week as well as multiple times over the off season to make sure that I'm working on the right things and that what I'm feeling and what I'm doing are actually the same, because for a long time what I was feeling and what I was actually doing was not the same.

Q. I'm a little off the cuff question here, but what's your take on the Chargers? I know you're a big fan. Can you speak to that at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, I don't know the business side of it very well, I just, I hope from my heart's sake that they stay here. I grew up pulling for the Chargers and through the Dan Fouts era and Air Coryell and watching the greats of that time and been a fan ever since. So I hope that they're able to stay here, because they're certainly fun to pull and cheer for and go watch.

Q. You sort of took Rickie under your wing a little bit among others, what have you seen from here lately that's pushed him a little bit farther ahead the last nine months or so?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, he has progressed so much in the last year and a half since he started working with Butch that it's a night and day difference. Before he was with Butch, he had a lot of loose shots. Now he's one of the best ball strikers I've seen on TOUR. He strikes it so pure and flush. I give Butch and Rickie a lot of credit for working on that.

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