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June 10, 2016

Phil Mickelson

Memphis, Tennessee

Q. Joining me in the Sky Cart, Phil Mickelson. Phil, thanks for being here. Yesterday a level round par of 70. Today, 65. What was the difference?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit it a little bit better today but I really didn't hit it the first two days the way I'd like to. Both rounds, I putted phenomenally.

Yesterday I putted incredibly well just to shoot even par, kept me in the tournament. I was able to get some birdie putts today that got me right in contention.

Q. Well, let's look at one of these examples. Leading strokes gained this week, this one --
PHIL MICKELSON: This is a long one. It broke a couple of feet. You can see it's way to the right and swinging, right at the end it dove to catch the lip. That's a putt that I was very fortunate to make but it's not one that if it doesn't go in you're too worried.

You're trying to get down in two and make sure you have an easy par. I made a bunch of 10 to 15 footers, the ones that really make or break the round that make this a good round.

Q. Third here last year. You've been in contention the last few years. You said earlier in the year this is one of the most underrated courses on the PGA TOUR.
What is it about that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Esthetically it might look kind of plain. The greens are very small, small targets. The course challenges you with precision as opposed to overwhelming length and so you really have to be precise off the tee to maneuver around trees in the right spots so you have shots into the greens.

You can hit fairways because out of the rough hitting these small greens is extremely difficult and it just -- it rewards great shots with a putt that is not a ridiculous breaking putt. You can really get it going on the greens here.

I just think it's a wonderful, fair test. That's why we have just a discrepancy in scores. We have a lot of guys going low, also a lot of guys going high.

Q. Finally, Phil, 6 times second in the U.S. Open. Clearly in fantastic form at the moment. How do you feel about your game not just next week but heading into the weekend here?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm very excited that I'm in contention, that I have a good opportunity heading into the weekend. I get to feel the pressure and excitement of having a chance to win, especially a week before the U.S. Open.

I love getting in the thick of it. I do have some work the to do. I hit a lot of good shots but I hit a lot of bad shots and I've got my guy here, Andrew Getson, he came into town and we had a little work this morning and get at it this afternoon and hopefully for the weekend I'll get it dialed in.

Q. Phil, that was fun to watch today, 65.
Before we get into it, are you putting in a bathtub right now? Man, are you rolling the rock right.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I am putting well. No question. I putted great yesterday on a day I didn't strike it very well and then today I got it going as well.

I love the greens here because although they're small and difficult to hit if you do hit them you're rewarded with a very makeable opportunity. It's not these ridiculous double breaking putts that we often see.

Here, even though they're fast and you have to be careful because the ball can get away from you, you can really get it going on the greens.

Q. Our analyst for PGA TOUR Radio this week Dennis Paulson, back on 7 I said, "If he makes the par putt, I see momentum, maybe 65, 64."
Was that putt huge to keep it doing?

PHIL MICKELSON: Often times they are the momentum keepers. I felt like that was very much the case. I just made a good par to get to 3-under par and that putt kept the round going.

Q. Great spot with 36 to go. What needs to cleanup for the weekend for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't strike it as well as I have been this year the first couple days or last week I struck it really well last week. Just a fraction off. I'm going to go work on it now and hopefully figure out what the difference is because if I can get a few more greens, the way I'm putting I should have a good chance.

Q. You were a blast to follow. Great to watch you. Good luck this weekend.

Q. Phil, can you talk about your putting, specifically going into next week? How much confidence do you have on these fast greens?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's been a good year altogether with the putter. Like it hasn't been just this week. I didn't putt great last week. I felt like if I had putted like this I would have won by a decent amount but I didn't have a great putting week but when I look at those weeks now I look at them as kind of a one-off exception and I seem to come back the next week and putt well.

It's been a great, great year with the putter. My critical putts from 10 feet and in are really the putts that you need to make to keep rounds going, to get up into contention. Those are the ones that can go either way, and I've made a lot of them this year. So, that gives me a lot of confidence heading into the treacherous greens at Oakmont.

Q. To put a round like this together after a disappointing one yesterday could you feel good and excited about -- you've had some Top-3 finishes but to finally win here over the weekend.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think I'm going to have a good opportunity this week. I've been striking the ball very well coming into this week even though the first two days weren't my best.

To have the putter back and to be putting the way I am, if I can hit it the way I've been hitting it all year I should have a very good opportunity this weekend.

I really love coming to this tournament. I love this golf course. Like I said, it's the most underrated course on Tour and it's fun to have an opportunity.

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