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March 22, 2016

Phil Mickelson

Austin, Texas

Q. What did you think of the golf course?
PHIL MICKELSON: I liked it, I thought it was a fun, difficult test. It's in great shape, terrific shape. I thought it seemed like a very fair test, challenging. The wind is tough, but it's a great site.

Q. You didn't play last year in this. What are your feelings on the format?
PHIL MICKELSON: I like it. I think that guarantees three matches, and I think that's a good thing for the field. I think it's a good thing for the players. I like the addition of the format, I think it's good.

Q. Especially for a guy like you, you like to make the Masters feel like you get a full week's work in?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think so. And if you end up getting knocked out early and don't make it to the weekend, you can go to Augusta and get a few practice rounds in. I think where it is on the schedule is a very good thing for the players. It is a beneficial thing.

Q. Your game is in good shape right now?
PHIL MICKELSON: It seems to be. I've taken two weeks off, so you never know where it's going to come back. It seems to be okay. But in this wind and so forth, it's tough to tell, but we'll see.

Q. Will you play Houston?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'll play Houston, I like it there.

Q. Some players when they play match play, they play only the golf course, and some concentrate only their opponent. How do you approach match play?
PHIL MICKELSON: A little bit of both, you want to play solid golf, but sometimes you have to take on some risk and try to win the match. The thing about match play is it's a final round. It's a Sunday final round where you start out square and so you feel the pressure every single shot from start to finish. It's a great way to get competitively sharp.

Q. What's your thought on rivalries in the sport of golf, is that good for the sport?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't ever think it's a bad thing.

Q. Have you been to Augusta yet this year?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I'll go after this. I'll go from here.

Q. Either way, you'll go before the start of Houston?
PHIL MICKELSON: Either way, yeah.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I don't know. Golf's got a lot of great young players, and they're great people. They're very enjoyable to be around.

Q. How encouraging is it to be part of the conversation again, as you've been here now this year, and moved back up?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's fun to be back playing well. It's fun to be hitting shots the way I know I can hit them. It has been very frustrating not doing that. So to be in contention again, I know that victory will be -- it's close, it will happen. As soon as I don't force the issue, it will come. But more than that, it's just fun to be playing good golf.

Q. Adam Scott today was mentioning some names to be thrown out, Rory, Jason, he said he played a couple of rounds with you. He said he's very impressed with the way you've been playing. Do you feel that your game has got a lot of people noticing it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm starting to swing the club a lot better and hit good, solid shots. Again, it's fun to be playing good golf again.

But I thought he played some incredible golf, tee to green. I played with him at Honda the first two rounds, and he ended up winning there. And I played with him at Doral and he ended up winning there.

Q. Is there anything you need to do after Doral to take a notch forward or leave it where it was or --
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I thought that Doral was a really good tournament that was probably one that I let get away, even though, as I look at it from my own internal perspective, I played nine holes on Friday terrible, shot 40. And on Sunday I was in the lead there and hit it in the water on 10.

I felt like I made a couple of mistakes there, but I played well enough to win. I didn't shoot the number and made a few mistakes. So I don't feel like it's far off, it's just a little thing here or there.

Q. The golf course, you haven't played. How much is it Bones doing a lot of preparation work? Did you enlist anybody?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I'm a little bit behind. I feel a little bit behind. I feel like the nuances of the course are not sharp in my mind. It's hard to get a really clear picture of the shot you want to hit when you don't know what it's like around the greens and how the ball is going to react. So I'm a little bit behind.

I tried to cram in a quick round today, but you also want to pace yourself, too. I think what will happen is I'll be studying the course as I'm playing the matches and hopefully get a little clearer picture of how I want to have the ball coming in and reacting on the greens and so forth.

Q. Other than Jordan knowing the course, everybody is in the same boat?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I think so, because we only have two practice rounds, Monday and Tuesday, so nobody is going to be really sharp on the golf course. But I don't feel as prepared as I like heading into a tournament. But my game feels sharp, it's the course knowledge that isn't quite sharp.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't spent too much time, no. I played some college tournaments here, but we really haven't had professional events here since I've been a pro.

Q. Are you cognizant when you come to a place that fans haven't seen most of the Tour spots you've played?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I haven't really thought about it.

Q. Do you have any sense of what Jordan is going through, the fact that you've won five majors, you've been in his position, how he's going to handle the year after flirting with the Grand Slam one year?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's always a challenge to follow up a year like he had last year. It's a challenge for anybody. And what a special year it was. It really was remarkable. I'm happy for him. He's really a terrific player, but really a great guy.

Q. Do you put too much pressure on yourself, everyone expects you to win every week?
PHIL MICKELSON: There are a lot of things that can be challenging for you following a year like that. That's certainly one of them, yeah. But in the end, he's got such great skill that usually that will come forth.

Q. Adam and Jason, just to name two players, talked about how you're surely going to be one of the contenders at the Masters this year. You're in such a good place right now. What does that mean to you when everyone is talking about the 20-somethings, that you inserted yourself into the conversation?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I kind of would like to slide under it, and go unnoticed. It was nice to do that last year. But the fact is I'm playing well and I'm playing a golf course that I play extremely well at. And I would be very surprised if I didn't have a very good chance on the weekend.

Q. You finished 2nd and now, in retrospect, didn't really have what you want?
PHIL MICKELSON: Right. I managed my way around it without being able to fire on all cylinders. By that I mean, when I would look up with an 8-iron or wedge, it was always 15, 20 feet off. I didn't know if I was going to miss a little bit left, a little bit right. But I managed my way around the course. I was never really able to attack it. And I'm starting to hit shots that I feel like I can attack in the right spots.

Of all the courses that I play, my course management on that golf course is the best of anywhere that I play because not only do I know it well enough, where I can and can't go, but the recovery shots are manageable if I put it in the right spot. And usually I can salvage less than perfect shots and salvage pars.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I got out-putted by a bunch. Clearly I got destroyed on the greens, and there's nothing I could do about it. I will spend more time on the greens and see if I can get a little bit sharper.

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