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November 2, 2004

Phil Mickelson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Phil Mickelson, thank you for joining us for a couple minutes here at the Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola. You had a fantastic season. If we could start with some opening comments about coming back to Eastlake Golf Club where you've had some success winning in 2000 here.

PHIL MICKELSON: It's a wonderful golf course, and I was having dinner last night and talking about all the -- the entire process that Tom Cousins went through to turn Eastlake into such a great community, and it's something that is very impressive, and I hope that it is contagious and other communities start to do it because it's a model of success. To be able to come to play here is great for the Tour because it's the home of Bobby Jones and the area now is just an enjoyable area and place to be, and it's wonderful that the Tour is back here and has made a long-term commitment through 2010.

Q. How did you find the course today?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's in tremendous shape, as it always is. The fairways are tight and they have some contour in them, so it'll be very difficult to hit. If you hit them, though, you can make some birdies, but if you don't, it's going to be very difficult with the rough to salvage par.

Q. What have you been doing?

PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't been playing, that's for sure.

Q. What were you doing?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we had some family trips and family time. We went to Hawaii on vacation as we always do and have just been having a great time off.

Q. Speaking of getting time off, did you feel you really needed it considering you're in contention at all the majors and it's been a pretty pressure-packed year for you? Is that something you felt was necessary?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think that the eight months up through the PGA is -- the time that I really try to focus and work hard and grind it out and practice hard and so forth. When the PGA comes, it's very hard for me to play well and be on a break. I probably played more this year after the PGA than I should have. After this event, other than the two days in Hawaii for the grand slam, I won't play again until January.

I just need the time off to get excited about playing and working hard and practicing, and the Tour year is not really like a season like the NFL or baseball or what have you. It's a year-long deal, and it just seems like the last couple of months after the PGA, it's hard for me to get motivated to play.

Q. This is a very prestigious event, Phil. What did you do coming off the vacation to get yourself ready?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't know that I've done anything. Certainly my game is rusty because I just haven't played, but I'm enjoying -- I'm trying to enjoy playing as opposed to looking at it as working hard and trying to play well because after this week, I'm not going to touch a club again except for those two rounds, and I won't touch a club before that. It's just something I need to do. I need to kind of rejuvenate, recharge and get excited again about working hard, but for this week, I'm going to go down to Augusta and play Augusta tomorrow. I'm going to have fun these next couple of days.

In all honesty I don't expect to play well. I didn't play well last week. I thought if I came out and practiced last week and got sharp I might play better, but it was all over the place.

All of the areas I was sharp with distance control and so forth, I just haven't worked on it, so I'm not quite sharp. Putting hasn't been the best. I don't enter with high expectations, but again, I've played well here in the past, and you just never know if you get some things going.

Q. Would you comment on Vijay's year?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's been sensational, there's no other way to describe it. It's been amazing.

Q. Have you ever found yourself in that kind of a zone?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think I've won nine tournaments out here, no (laughter).

Q. I realize that, but collegiately when you got in the groove and you were in it --

PHIL MICKELSON: Even if you won a bunch of tournaments in college, it's very different than playing and winning at this level because it's very hard to differentiate yourself from those one or two shots that will get you a victory as opposed to 2nd place. It's been amazing. It's been very similar to the way Tiger won almost everything in 2000.

Q. Who are you going to play with at Augusta?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm going to play with a couple of friends and a member.

Q. Is that your first time to do this?

PHIL MICKELSON: As Masters champ, yeah. Oh, I've gone and played there a bunch, but not since I've won. It'll be my first round back, so I'm trying to get a little bit of positive momentum.

Q. Rekindle the memories?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's right. I can't wait to get out there and just relive a lot of the shots and putts of Sunday's final round.

Q. You said you weren't going to hit a lot of golf balls. Does that mean you've got your swing the way you want it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I've got all 14 clubs dialed in the way I want them. I feel ready to start next year. I won't have to tinker or do anything different. It's right on.

Q. 13 of those are Callaway clubs?


Q. Your putter?

PHIL MICKELSON: Odyssey. It's owned by Callaway.

Q. What's your schedule for the rest of this year?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm on vacation. I've got a lot of trips lined up. My wife and I are going on our anniversary trip after this week. We got married the 16th of November, so we always do a four- or five-day anniversary trip, and this year was my year to plan it, so I've got everything lined up. She doesn't even know where we're going.

You know, I won't play. I'll play those two rounds in Hawaii, and I don't plan on touching a club before then or after until January comes. Rick and I, Dave Pelz and I, we spent some time last week kind of coming up with a game plan during the off season for next year, areas to improve, again, trying to go off of what I've been doing this year and expanding on that. I'll have some time to think about it, but I'm not ready to dive in and look at it yet.

Q. Given the fact that you had such a good year, Vijay is setting a record, you have all these guys, how would you assess the season and where are we going with guys winning nine times and all that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Good question. I think that next year Tiger is going to have an amazing year. I think that something that happened to me last year, having the worst year of my career, I got remotivated, excited about working hard, reworked the game, came out and had a wonderful year, and I think that Tiger is going to do the same thing next year. I expect him to be the dominant force that he has been in the past. I don't expect Vijay to come back any, and I think Ernie is going to increase his level of play, as well, and so that pushes me to work even harder, and that's been fun. It's been a fun challenge for me. The majors have been a fun challenge this year.

Q. That's a really strong group of -- you just mentioned four guys, including yourself, right there.

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that the Tour has a lot of guys that are playing well right now that make tournaments very interesting.

Q. You and Tiger in terms of marketability have transcended this golf, purely golf.


Q. But it's true. I've talked to other people, and you are the two guys who can do that. People are wondering if Vijay could do that given his success on the golf course. What do you think it takes to be able to go beyond golf equipment sales?

PHIL MICKELSON: That man right behind you.

Q. This guy?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah. I've learned a lot from him about relationships, business relationships, and making sure that they're win-win for everybody. I've been very fortunate. As you put it, you talk about transcending. It's not like that to me. What I look at it as is a win-win situation, meaning my relationship with Ford has to be that we're able to work together, and I spend time with the dealers and spend time with their customers at their outings and so forth and better understand their business and help the dealers, and for the corporate Ford, talk about products that are coming out.

Bearing Point has relationships or outings where we spend the day together. We bring a client, bring three clients and a client manager and spend the day together, so it gives them six, seven hours of time throughout the day to talk about what they've done well together, where they're headed in the future, what they need to do to improve the relationship, and that's how we make it a win-win, so we do business in a fun environment. That's what we're trying to do.

Q. But you would have to have an interest in these other things.

PHIL MICKELSON: I do. I enjoy it. I've learned a lot. I really enjoy learning about a lot of things, whether it's reading about light travel or whether it's learning about how businesses work and why certain companies have to outsource to certain areas or why unions make it difficult or why unions are successful in businesses. It's just been interesting for me. I've learned a lot. I just listen because these guys know what they're doing, and I try to just understand. It just fascinates me. I don't partake in it. I'm not running a company; I'm just playing golf, but I enjoy learning about this because I can apply it to my own personal business.

Q. Since Ford has been the sponsor of the event at Doral, they've been very aggressive with the Tour trying to make their event the best event they can in Florida. There's been discussion about changing dates, doing some other things at the event. Have you interceded as an intermediary between themselves and the Tour?

PHIL MICKELSON: I really haven't. I obviously am committed to playing in the event. I'm committed with the promotion that we did "Phil is on the phone.com" where we get myself, Phil Jarrett, Wayne Gretzky playing. We made the call last week as a matter of fact, four guys competing for that one final spot. They all want a car. Those are the areas I'm involved in. The politics of it I try to stay out of.

We on Tour are heavily dependent upon the automobile industry. Buick is a tremendous sponsor for the Tour, they run four events, Chrysler is a tremendous sponsor of the Tour, they have a number of events, Mercedes, Nissan in LA, and I'm missing some, Honda Classic. We've got a lot of auto makers in golf, and they're all very important, and Ford is wanting to get stronger in the golf, as well, but it's not my place to interject because we have a lot of people in that same area trying to better their events, as well.

Q. Your interest in the companies you represent, forgive me for saying this, might be the exception in how interesting you are. Signing an endorsement deal may not be so involved in the company that they're getting paid to do. What's your impression of signing an endorsement just for the sake of signing an endorsement and getting the check?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't see any long-term benefit. It's got to be win-win and about building relationships to make it successful and make it work in my opinion.

Q. Vijay was talking the other day about maybe becoming involved in more corporate things. Does his success in your eyes or golf in general transcend into becoming something more?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know how to answer that. I think that his level of play has been amazing, and he has -- he's worked very hard on his game, he's played often, he won nine times, and he's right now the No. 1 player in the world. I don't know how interested he is in doing things like that or what have you. I've always found it fascinating to just learn about things, how they work. By learning about how companies work, I've learned a lot about politics without even trying, and I've understood why a certain president will do things one way and another president will do it another way, how it affects companies, how it affects business. It's been a very good learning experience for me. I find it interesting.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Phil, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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