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May 11, 2005

Phil Mickelson


Q. How is your game coming into this week?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's okay. I played well the last round at Wachovia and had a good practice session yesterday. Dave Pelz and Eddie Pelz came down and we spent some time. I think it's coming around. I'm looking forward to the first round tomorrow.

Q. What do you think is going to be the toughest part about this course?

PHIL MICKELSON: The toughest part about this golf course is always the wind because we get some crosswinds on some holes that makes it very difficult to hit fairways. Into-the-wind holes play very long, but by far the biggest defense of the course is the wind.

Q. Talk about the field. Do you like the challenge that this field provides?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes. The Salesmanship Club does an amazing job running the tournament and making it a very special event for the players. The accommodations here at the Four Seasons are tremendous. But we've got a great golf course, great field, great purse, great community involvement, and I think it's really cool the way they give so much to charity. They're by far the best that we have on Tour and it's fun to come to the Dallas area and be a part of it.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, when we play with a field like this, we know we've got to go low and we tend to push each other to go lower. Vijay obviously has been playing so well that to beat him you've got to go extremely low. Tiger has been playing great.

You know if you get a hot hand, if you get a good round going, you're 4- or 5-under, you've got to really push it to get to 7-, 8-, 9-, because those guys will be right on your tail and make up some ground pretty quick.

Q. Have they done enough with the golf course over the years so you don't necessarily have to go 14- or 15-under?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think there's anything wrong with having 14- or 15-under par win a tournament. I think that the trend is to make courses tougher, and certainly out here we've seen fairways get tighter and rough get higher and have it be much more difficult to hit fairways and score lower, but I don't think we have to do that.

Last week at Wachovia was a great example. It was a very exciting event, the fairways were firm and fast and there wasn't much rough, but we were able to see a lot of creativity and shots from behind trees when balls would run through the fairway.

That's what Augusta used to be, where balls would run through fairways; you'd see exciting recovery shots around trees. I don't think you have to make a U.S. Open setup every week to have it be an exciting event.

Q. You mentioned at Doral that that was one of two times in your career where you were sure in your mind you were going to win, and the other one was '99 at Pinehurst. Talk about Pinehurst and what was running through your head at that point and why you were so sure. With all the tournament golf you've played, why those two?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I just felt going into the '99 U.S. Open that to travel all the way across the country when we were so close to delivering our first child, I felt very determined to make that worthwhile and to make it -- get a win out of it. It was really a shock when that didn't happen. Granted, it was the way it was supposed to be, but at the time I really was surprised because I was playing well and I was very determined to win and just didn't do it.

Q. Was Payne right when he grabbed you in what he said?

PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely, yeah.

Q. (Inaudible) -- three kids and a major in your pocket.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I look back at Payne Stewart and I think about what a great heart he had. I thought it was very touching to me that when he just had his greatest triumph or one of the greatest triumphs in his career he was thinking about somebody else. It just shows the kind of heart that he had.

Q. What's your schedule going into Pinehurst?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'll play a couple weeks before. I always like playing the week before. It was a great move to have the Booz Allen Classic go over to Congressional for the year. I know we're all excited. I think they're going to have a really good field. It's a great tune-up for Pinehurst.

Q. Is that your favorite setup, Pinehurst?

PHIL MICKELSON: No question. Pinehurst was the greatest setup because it brought every aspect of a player's game into it. Short game in the U.S. Open a lot of times is obsolete because it's a lot of hope out of the rough. To have the runoffs and to bring short game back in, it was great. 1-under par won. We thought heading into the tournament without any rain, 14-, 15-over could win. But when the rains came, the greens softened up, we were able to keep them on the greens because when those greens get firm, the ball just keeps going off, and it's very difficult.

Q. Do you think the Mavs can beat the Suns in game 2 tonight?


End of FastScripts.

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