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February 12, 2016

Phil Mickelson

Pebble Beach, California

Q. Comments on your day.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a good day. I got off to a good start and had a lot of fun. I made some good putts early on and had a good round.

Q. How would you assess your driving today? You called yourself an idiot after yesterday's round for your driver selection. Did you change it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I went back to my old driver. I drove it great. The only fairways I missed were with 3-wood, and it looks like I'm going to go back to my old 3-wood too.

Q. You've talked in recent weeks about face dispersion, divot pattern, face awareness, shot dispersion, divot pattern. Do you feel like you're becoming a more technical player?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I think it would be just the opposite. The only way to have feel and have proper feel and that, the slight sensitivity to get a ball to fade five or six feet or get it to draw four or five feet, that stuff, you got to be on plane. And all the sensitivity that I've had and the fine touch, and so forth that I've had, is irrelevant if I'm not on plane. Now that I'm starting to be back on plane, all that touch, sensitivity and feel is coming right back.

Q. In that early stretch today, was it as good as you felt whole-game wise?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, it just felt easy. Just driving it straight and hitting iron shots close and make the putts. And I had a good putting day. It was a good day.

Q. The last two tee balls, were those 3-wood then?

Q. So what's the feel with the 3-wood that's different?
PHIL MICKELSON: I tried a new 3-wood this week trying to take some spin-off it, yet again, and it just has a tendency to hook. And it cost me a few shots today. Cost me on the par-5 where I hit it in the bush and made six. It cost me on 18 where I had hit it to the right.

Q. Are those two holes holes you hit driver on in the past?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I couldn't hit driver there on those, no. You've got water on the par-5 that I laid up on, and then it's a 3-wood second.

And 18 I can't hit driver, it was just a little 3-wood. But that club kept hooking on me, so I'll go back to the other one. I hit it straight, but it just has a little bit more spin and so it's not as long as I was hoping it would be.

Q. Can you explain the difference between the two drivers?
PHIL MICKELSON: One goes straight and one goes the other way. The reason it goes straighter is the increased spin. So I was trying to pick up a few extra yards by having a lower spin. When I hit it great, it goes perfect. But my misses will be a little bit bigger, and it was. Today, I hit it -- with a little bit more spin I hit it a lot straighter.

Q. At this point in your career, do you find yourself looking forward to even more tournaments like this and playing well?
PHIL MICKELSON: I love this tournament. Certainly, the courses are a big part of it. I love the golf courses, some of the best in the world. But I love everything about this tournament. From meeting and spending time with many of the CEO's, many of the athletes that play, many of the actors that play. It's really a fun opportunity for me to connect, great friendships, and I've developed some traditions over the years, whether it's the restaurants that I eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner at, the people that I have dinner with. We have had little traditions that have been going on for many years.

And when I missed it last year, it was a lot more than just the golf and the tournament that I missed. I missed the whole environment.

Q. What is it about the courses though? What about the courses suit your game?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think, first of all, the setting is spectacular. But the greens being poa annua are what I grew up on, so it's a grass I feel comfortable. Not just putting on, but chipping on, chipping into and hitting full shots into. It can be challenging for guys if they're not used to it. It's something that I've become very comfortable with over the years.

Q. Can you quantify, in terms of stroke value, how much your experience and knowledge here is worth over four days?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think it means anything because it's about execution. You have to hit the shots. The golf courses are straightforward, there's nothing tricky about them, that's why they're some of the best. Because of that, it's all about execution.

Q. What did you have on 12? It looks like there was no place to take an unplayable.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a good shot to move it six feet where I did, yeah. It wasn't hard. I had a little bit of a back swing, I could take it a foot back.

Problem was, if I tried to get it too far, I was afraid it would roll up the face and role back down in the bush like it did. So I just wanted to move it five or six feet so it didn't go up the slope.

Q. What was your thought coming off 10 knowing you had two par-5s left and were putting nicely?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought I was going to shoot a lot lower than I did. I was 7-under for the round, I didn't expect to play 1-over coming in. But I'm not going to complain, because I made a lot of good putts on the front.

Q. How close do you feel your game is right now versus where you want it to be?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's pretty much there. I just, the last piece is mentally being -- performing under the clutch.

But I'm very pleased with the way I'm striking the ball, the way chipping, putting, all that stuff, the way it's coming together. Now it's just a matter of being in contention a few times, and -- which I've already have, so I expect to have a good weekend.

Q. The last drive, you found the ball, right? Or did you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Bones did, yeah.

Q. I'm confused on the marking thing you talked about yesterday. Are you saying -- yeah, I wouldn't know how to put it.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a mustache or a peanut, whatever you want to call it. It will be gone. You just can't make a straight line. We had to cross something out. The USGA doesn't allow an alignment aid to be marked on the golf ball.

Q. You can't use a straight line?
PHIL MICKELSON: With the Sharpie, but not from the manufacturer.

Q. This is the 30th anniversary of Jack winning Augusta. How much do you take any inspiration from that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't thought about it. I loved watching it. I remember 30 years ago watching him win, it was awesome. But I don't think much about it now, other than when I see it on TV.

Q. One of the fans said that they think you still have a Major in you. How confident are you and would Augusta be --
PHIL MICKELSON: Let's just deal with this weekend, all right?

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