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March 30, 2005

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'm looking forward to this event. I had some good practice yesterday and a nice Pro-Am today. I played with some great guys and hopefully I'll be able to play well this week and get some momentum for next.

Q. How did things go at Augusta and how do you feel into that defending?

PHIL MICKELSON: It went really well yesterday. It was fun to get down there and see the course in such great shape. And this course is in such wonderful shape, they are very similar, and this will be a great preparation for a lot of guys who are playing next week.

Q. Are you still riding that high from last year's Sunday?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, last year's Masters was something very special, and I feel very lucky to have won it and very fortunate to be part of such a great event and part of the history of such a great event.

Heading back this year is a lot more fun because I get to be part of the Masters dinner, Champions Dinner. It's kind of cool and I am looking forward to getting back to competing and trying to defend my title.

Q. How many rounds did you play?

PHIL MICKELSON: I played one round and had a little extra practice afterwards.

Q. You were there how long, do you think?

PHIL MICKELSON: About nine, ten hours.

Q. You came up Tuesday night?

PHIL MICKELSON: I came up late last night. I got there Monday night.

Q. Given the weather at Sawgrass, did you consider withdrawing from this?

PHIL MICKELSON: I certainly didn't want to. The only thing that would have maybe had that is if we carried over into Tuesday because I just needed to get a little extra work done before the week started. It's hard for me to get some of my practice rounds in when we have a lot of other guys playing because it takes me seven, eight hours to get some of the stuff done and it's not fair to be everybody else to be holding them up.

Q. What's your mindset heading into next week?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'll have a better idea after this week I think. I'm starting to play a little bit better and addressed an issue yesterday with the way I was driving it last week. It wasn't what I needed to be doing as far as my misses were a little bit big, and I addressed the issue and hopefully I'll drive it well this week and next.

Q. Menu for the Champions Dinner?

PHIL MICKELSON: A little basic. I have a little Italian in me, so we are going to go with some lobster ravioli.

Q. As a fan favorite last year, the galleries, what do you expect this year in that respect?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't know, I mean last year was a wonderful experience for me, and it was very similar to an experience I had in New York at Bethpage. It was just overwhelming and very flattering and to be a part of that event and be able to finally have the outcome that I want was pretty cool. I don't know how it will be this year, but I know that heading back as defending champion is going to be a lot of fun.

Q. Do you think it will be tough to focus this week with all of the hoopla of everything next week; is it tough to do this one?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think so, no. This tournament has great practice facilities. It gives me a great opportunity to work on my game and get sharp and to not worry about what's coming up next week.

Q. Anything with your driving that you can expound on at all, what you worked on?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, not too specific. I just addressed a little issue on why the ball was going left and I think that it's going a little bit straighter now.

Q. This place here you can bomb it pretty good.

PHIL MICKELSON: You have to hit the ball in the right spot if you want to be able to reach the par 5s, if you want to be able to attack some of the pin placements, and although we say it's open, if you're playing from that dormant rough, that very thick rough, the ball jumps out of there, very hard to control. So you still need to be in the fairway even if the fairways are generous.

Q. I heard there's a bad weather forecast for tomorrow and Friday?

PHIL MICKELSON: I've heard that. What a surprise we've had such great weather all year.

Q. If it went into Monday --

PHIL MICKELSON: It wouldn't bother me if it did. I think that this tournament should have the respect given to all of the others. If we have to get 72 holes, get it in on Monday. I love the way the Tour has been doing that and really making the commitment to getting 72 holes in, it would not bother me in the least.

I'm scheduled to take Monday off anyways, so if we were to play, it's not a big deal.

Q. Anything different at Augusta from the week before you were over there?

PHIL MICKELSON: Not really, no. The green speed was up. They are very fast and the fairways are starting to come down lower and lower, and it's in magnificent shape as always.

Q. Colin Montgomerie not get an invitation --

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, did he? You would know better than I would.

Q. Rick and Dave were both there?

PHIL MICKELSON: Dave was there. Rick hurt his ankle. We went skiing a couple of weeks ago and he hurt his ankle.

Q. Any thoughts on Monty not getting a wild-card?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know the qualifications.

Q. Your memories last year, what do you remember most?

PHIL MICKELSON: Besides winning, you mean?

Q. All that leading up to it, the week.

PHIL MICKELSON: I remember that it had a different field to it, just the whole week had a different feel to it. I was very confident the whole week, and even after the front nine on Sunday when I lost the lead I still was very confident it would turn around.

Q. This year so far, you win in Phoenix and it has continued on, do you feel that you need to get on that type of roll, feeling good about your game heading into this?

PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. This will be a big week for me to get momentum and to get confidence in the way I've been playing. I've put a lot of time in, now it's time to start having it payoff. Last week I just didn't drive it well enough to give myself enough birdie putts. I addressed that yesterday and hopefully have it straightened out.

Q. What's your love affair with the fans on the golf course?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's just fun. It's just fun to play with -- and they treat everybody with such respect and we are very lucky in the game of golf to have the fans that we do. We don't have people that cause stuff we see in other sports. We are have you lucky to have the people that we have.

End of FastScripts.

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