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June 19, 2004

Phil Mickelson


MODERATOR: 3-under par for the championship, Phil Mickelson.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: Okay. I bogeyed 4, drove it in the right rough, chipped up to 8 feet.

I birdied 5, 6-iron, chipped up to 3 feet and made it.

Doubled 7, 8-iron, chipped 10 feet by, putted 30 feet by and tapped in.

I birdied 14, hit 3-wood, pitching wedge to 20 feet, made it.

I bogeyed 17, buried a 5-iron in the bunker, chipped out 12 feet and missed it.

Hit 4-wood, wedge on 18 to 45 feet and 3-putted, 5 feet and missed it.

Q. (Inaudible). The course is toughening up and showing its teeth?

PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it played very differently today, very difficult.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: They're certainly difficult, absolutely. And I don't know what to say, they were very difficult to putt, I was fortunate to make as many as I did.

Q. Is there anything you'd like to do differently on the 7th hole?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what to say about it. There's nothing more that I could add.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: There were a lot of tough pins. There were a lot of tough pins. If you missed it on the right side, though, you could get up-and-down.

Q. When you hit the putt on 7 did you think you hit it soft, and how far past did you think it was going to go when you first touched it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I knew I couldn't try to make it. I actually played a little bit left, and hit it easy, just trying to get it to stop and make 4. You could make bogeys out here, it's doubles that hurt. And it just never stopped, it just kept going. It could have gone even farther, I was lucky it stopped right there.

Q. Is it a fair test, though, for you guys?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, you tell me. What do you think?

Q. I don't think so.

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know.

Q. Everyone before the week started was saying it was a very fair test.

PHIL MICKELSON: I will say this, I think this golf course is set up beautifully, I really do. I really think the pins have been great. I think the areas around the greens have been awesome. I think that everything about the setup, the golf course have been tremendous. I really do love it. It's just that one hole today that was just a little bit -- that's it. But I think in general it's one of the best Open setups I think.

Q. You talked about coming here this week in the sense of excitement and anticipation, will you have that same attitude tomorrow?

PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. I'm really enjoying this. I know I'm grinding out there and it's very difficult to make pars, and I'm looking at holes wondering how in the world I'm going to get it anywhere near the pin, and -- but it's fun. It's fun. It's a fun challenge. We only see this probably once or twice a year. And it's a fun challenge. What I really like, though, is that your short game is back into play, all around the greens you can chip and putt. And we're seeing guys get up-and-down. Maruyama had a great up-and-down on 9, from just behind the green, just trickled up a foot or two from the hole. It's fun seeing some of these great short game shots, and I'm really enjoying the setup.

Q. Will you come out aggressive tomorrow?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, heavens, no, are you kidding me, on this golf course? No. There's a few pins you can get to. We've seen birdies on 5 and 16. You throw in 16 under Mars and that's a heck of a round 68 right there.

Q. You have some missed birdies, but you made great saves. Up until 17 what were you feeling about the round, had you accomplished a lot?

PHIL MICKELSON: I thought that I played very well, to be honest. I didn't hit it well, don't get me wrong. I didn't hit it the way I have been. That hurt me not getting the ball in the fairway, I wasn't getting it close enough to the hole to have birdie chances. I need to drive it better. I felt like I made a lot of great putts to keep my round going, and although I bogeyed the last two, it certainly doesn't change the way I look at the round. I felt like I fought really hard.

Q. What did you have on 17?


Q. The wind really picked up when you were standing over the ball.

PHIL MICKELSON: I hit it too high. I let it get up in the air. I shouldn't have, I should have gone to the. It was my fault.

Q. At Augusta National you were the last two-some, now you're the second to the last. What is the difference in psychology or approach?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't know. I don't know if there is any. I think that if you play a good round, whether you're in front or behind you put a lot of pressure on everybody to follow suit. I think the difference here is that we won't have any type of finish like we had at Augusta. We won't have anybody coming from behind making a move shooting 67 like Ernie did or shooting 31 on the backside like myself or a couple other guys did, we won't have that here. But what we will have is guys outlasting each other who can make the most pars before somebody bogeys, that type of thing, and that's a fun way to play, too.

Q. The way you won your first major, could be the very different than the way you win your second major.

PHIL MICKELSON: Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I have a lot of golf left. I'm two shots back. I have a lot of work left. I don't feel like it's far off. I feel like if I drive a little bit better, I feel like I can make some birdies, but I didn't hit enough fairways early on. Later I did, and was able to get at some pins.

Q. How did you manage to leave that behind at 7?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's part of the deal. I don't know what to say. There are a lot of other holes I had left to think about.

Q. (Inaudible). Is this a pretty good stage for a final round at the U.S. Open?

PHIL MICKELSON: I love it. I love this course, it's been a great host in '86, great one in '95, it's been great this year. I think the short game is going to play a huge factor in tomorrow's winner.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think that the wind is going to affect how you get at some of the pins, because the pins are so tough and the greens are so firm that I don't think that the wind is going to play that big of a factor.

Q. Is the wind responsible for firming up the greens, though, is that why the greens are so hard?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think lack of water does that.

Q. On your shot on 7 when you left the club off the tee, did you think it was a good shot?

PHIL MICKELSON: I hit it, yeah, struck it great. But I knew I couldn't hold the green. I wanted to hit it down there to the left, so I had an uphill chip. And I wish I had not seen Fred Funk leave his chip shot short and roll back, because that affected the way I looked at the shot, thinking that it would not stay five or six feet below the hole; in hindsight it may have. And I ended up giving it a little bit extra to make sure it got up the hill, and then I had a very difficult putt. But I think I probably could have gotten a four or maybe even a three if I hadn't watched the group in front of me and seen the ball roll back down from the same spot I was in.

Q. (Inaudible). Can you imagine, based on what you've seen so far what it's going to be like tomorrow?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's been very flattering, and it's been very fun. I've really enjoyed it. The people here are just so much fun to play if front of. I've been having a great time. And they've certainly made me feel good throughout the round.

Q. How often do you get that New York Ranger chant they've been giving you, do you get that a lot?


Q. Do you know that's a Ranger chant?

PHIL MICKELSON: I know how it feels to be down there on the ice. I tried to block a few shots on the commercial shoot.

Q. Retief is 2-up on the field, knowing what kind of game he plays, do you think he's a tough customer?

PHIL MICKELSON: He's very tough. Not only has he won a U.S. Open, he's going to be very tough to catch, absolutely.

End of FastScripts.

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