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February 6, 2016

Phil Mickelson

Scottsdale, Arizona

A flash interview with:


Q. Just comment on a great day.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was a good day. I ended up making some nice putts there with my last 11, 12 holes. Yeah, it was a fun day.

I actually feel like I did the same things tee to green as I did the first couple of days but I scored a lot better, and it was nice to finally get a lot out of the round.

Q. You made a birdie from 15. Can you talk us through that hole, where you went and how you got there.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the pin was all the way to the right and a tough angle. I thought if I went all the way left I could shoot right across, wouldn't have to go over the bunker and all that stuff.

Q. You wound up left of the water?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah. Over on the 11th fairway you have a perfect angle, across the green and the green just flows right down to the hole.

Yeah, it was beautiful. Beautiful. That was a terrible shot. (Laughter.)

Q. I was going to ask if you were trying to go there.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was the worst shot of the year and I ended up making a birdie.

Q. You didn't have any yardage from back there or anything.
PHIL MICKELSON: Surprisingly Bones, when he walks the course, comes up with a few of those yardages. I have been known to be in some odd places, and he tends to have some kind of number on that.

Q. Easier or harder to catch somebody for Sunday?
PHIL MICKELSON: A lot harder. It's a lot harder to catch somebody. Yeah, it's a lot harder.

Q. There might be 200,000 people out here. Do you ever get still amazed by the crowds?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yeah. The course, when this was done many years ago, they did a great job in designing the areas for the fans and creating the hillsides so you could see, have views.

Now, a few of the holes, like 14 and 13, and some of the greens have been elevated in the redesign and it's been a little bit difficult for the viewers to see those particular greens the way they used to. But for the most part, the hillsides viewing on this golf course are pretty amazing, well thought through from the start.

Q. You've been hitting the ground running from the beginning of the season. Are you surprised you're playing this well this early in the season?
PHIL MICKELSON: Am I surprised I'm playing this well? No, I mean, I had a great offseason, put in a lot of work. I knew from the details, the divot pattern, shot dispersion and so forth, that I was playing well. It was one thing to hit the ball in the hole, but in the past my divot would be going one way and the ball would be going the other and I would kind of save it with the hands.

Now the divot is going down my line where I want it to. The ball is exiting and taking off down where the club is swinging. There is no manipulation. I'm just hitting a lot of good shots very easily. Heading into the year, I knew I was playing well, which is why I'm playing six out of seven events.

I don't want to put the pressure on me to have to perform well in a select couple or few events. I wanted to have plenty of opportunities to get competitively sharp, because I knew starting the year that I was hitting the ball as well as in past years.

Q. Do you have to shoot lower than 65 tomorrow to have a shot?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what the number is going to be tomorrow. I just know that I'm starting to play well. There is a lot of holes here where you simply cannot get the ball within 15, 20 feet. So it's going to come down to the putter.

A lot of the nuances and subtleties in the new design are taking balls away from the hole, so I have to make a lot of putts. If I get hot with a putter like I did today and make a few 20-, 25-footers, I can have a really low round. But it's not the course where you can just knock down the pin all 18 holes. There's maybe 10, 12 that you can but not all of them.

Q. How much better do you feel after running in some putts than you did after the other rounds?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it feels remarkably different after today's round than the first couple where I felt like I was playing to this level and not getting the scores. So to watch a few putts to go in, especially the one on the last hole to get a little bonus putt, bonus stroke, that stuff really feels good.

Q. Is the hybrid still hot?
PHIL MICKELSON: It seems like it, yeah. I have hit some good shots with it. I hit a good shot on 3 with it onto the green. Tee on 5 where I hit it out of bounds the first day, I hit the hybrid last two days to get into play. 15 is good, but I also hit the most horrific shot of the year on 15.

It wasn't a good play for me to go for that green. There is too much penalty for such a long shot. The hole is so much longer now that it's probably mathematically a more strategic play to get a wedge in my hands and I will probably do that tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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