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March 3, 2004

Phil Mickelson


JOE CHEMYCZ: We appreciate your time. I'd like to introduce Phil Mickelson, obviously winner of West Coast Swing Presented by the St. Paul. And with him is Bruce Berthelsen, the senior vice president of the St. Paul and we'd like just like to make a formal presentation and congratulate Phil on winning West Coast Swing for the second time.

BRUCE BERTHELSEN: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here representing St. Paul Companies, our agents, out employees and brokers and present this to Phil. Obviously you had a great start, a win at the Hope and then four top ten finishes along the way. You were the best guy out there and you represent the Tour very well, and St. Paul Companies are very pleased to be associated with the PGA TOUR and professionals like yourself.

It is my pleasure to present to you this trophy on behalf of our customers, employees and our agency brokers.

PHIL MICKELSON: Bruce, thank you very much. On behalf of everyone on the PGA TOUR and on behalf of every tournament on West Coast we appreciate the St. Paul's involvement and all that you've done in making the West Coast Swing a very exciting start to the season.


JOE CHEMYCZ: President of the Ford Division, our host here of the Ford Championship at Doral, Mr. Steve Lyons.

Steve, I understand you and Phil have some exciting news to tell us about in your promotion with Ford.

STEVE LYONS: Yeah, actually today we are real pleased to announce we are going to put three new commercials an the air, two of them are for our products, one being for the Ford Expedition and one being for the brand new Ford GT. I think they are both kind of fun to watch, as well as informational.

And then we have a third spot, which is, you see from the Web site behind me, philsonthephone.com, and this is a cross collaboration with Dale Jarrett and Toby Keith leading up to somebody out there. Actually four people out there will have an opportunity to win a trip to the Homestead race this November where they will compete, a little face off to play with Phil next year in the Doral Pro Am day.

So we think it should be a lot of fun. This is going to the Web site. We'll be live later today. People will have a chance to enter now through September 30th.

So it's a new way. It's obviously fun for us to be able to cross promote with two legends in sports, obviously, and it should be great. Phil's had a lot of fun making the commercials and maybe we're going to show them right now.

PHIL MICKELSON: We did have a lot of fun. We did have a lot of fun shooting them. Are we going to show them?

STEVE LYONS: We're going to show them.

PHIL MICKELSON: And next year's philsonthephone.com, I think we are going to play with Wayne Gretzky as well, myself and Dale Jarrett he sounded good. I just thought I sounded a little better. (Laughter.)

STEVE LYONS: We'll get a chance to show that in a minute.


PHIL MICKELSON: I thought you guys were going to show the extra footage. I'm glad you didn't.

STEVE LYONS: Hold on, the little outtakes

PHIL MICKELSON: That's just great. (Laughter.)

JOE CHEMYCZ: Maybe you can talk about entering the contest and fill us in on some of those details.

STEVE LYONS: Sure. The easy way it to go on the Web site and enter your name and some other information and the winners will be randomly picked. As I say, it will just take a couple of questions. They have to have a certain age and handicap to be eligible to enter. But I'm sure it will be a lot of fun, certainly to see the NASCAR race in November and then have a chance to compete and win one of the Pro Am spots. As Phil can tell you, he was out there yesterday driving with Dale at Homestead and we had a lot of fun.

PHIL MICKELSON: That was awesome.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Questions about the promotion with Ford for Steve and Phil?

Q. You're obviously one of the more popular players when you're out here. Doing something like this, does it give the fans a chance for you to be seen by the fans in a different way?

PHIL MICKELSON: I love interacting with the fans. It is a great way to have an interaction between the two of us and I have enjoyed the promotion. I've had a lot of fun shooting the commercials and I've had a lot of fun with the philsonthephone promotion. Not only does the winner have an opportunity to play in the Pro Am next year, but it's my understanding that they will be able to join the players at Homestead next year for a race around the track, which as you may or may not know, we did yesterday and it was an experience of a lifetime.

STEVE LYONS: They also the winner will get a chose of a new Ford Mustang, Freestyle or Expedition. It's not as good as winning a GT for a tournament.

PHIL MICKELSON: Which we get here. I've love to be driving that. I drove the GT yesterday, my goodness. (Whistles).

Q. So how does stopping pucks compare to throwing pitches?

PHIL MICKELSON: They are both fun. I love it. You know, I love to do other things. I love to throw a baseball. Country singing probably isn't my thing, but I loved getting on the ice. It's just fun for me to try other things and enjoy it.

I think this was almost a take on the fact that I do like to do those things. I do like to go throw a baseball. Do I like to try other things. I thought that it was a pretty creative, cool idea that Jay Walter Thompson had, who is the ad agency for Ford. It made doing these commercials a lot of fun for me.

Q. What are the positives and the negatives in playing the Pro Ams?

PHIL MICKELSON: The positive of playing in the Pro Ams? Well, there really aren't any negatives. To me, the positive, is that in the game of golf, we have an opportunity to play with everybody, to interact with everybody, the fans of the sport. In other professional sports that interaction is missing. You're not able to suit up and play in the NFL, or you're not able to suit up and play with Major League Baseball players. In golf it's unique in that setting.

Steve and I played today and I was able to spend some time with Steve and three other wonderful dealers for Ford. We were able to interact and compete and have little competitions and enjoy the game, and I think that sets golf apart.

Q. You were okay, there's kind of a double layered poking fun at your swashbuckling style with your, "what will he do next" thing, was that well received by you when they first pitched it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I loved it. Because you have to be able to laugh at yourself. I took shots for throwing a baseball last year which just blew me away, because who would not love to spend two or three days with a professional baseball team in the dugout, throwing and hitting batting practice? That was a lot of fun.

That was the whole point, it was fun for me to try to sink. I didn't know how to play guitar. Toby Keith showed me a couple of chords. I certainly can't sing. American Idol is safe. I have no aspirations to be the next Patrick Roy or Dominic Hasek. I couldn't even stop 9 year old kids from scoring. It's just fun for me to do those things.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Steve, maybe talk about Wayne Gretzky and Dale Jarrett, how they got involved with that, as well?

STEVE LYONS: Ford has a relationship with both of them. Aside from being involved with golf from a media standpoint we are heavily involved with NASCAR, which fits our demographics for pickup truck owners well, and we do sell a few of those.

Wayne Gretzky has been a part of the Ford family up in Canada and occasionally does some stuff for us, like this promotion here. And I understand he's a pretty good golfer, so you should have some fun.

PHIL MICKELSON: He is a good player.

STEVE LYONS: You want to show the outtakes?


STEVE LYONS: How about the hockey?

PHIL MICKELSON: Let's try the hockey. The singing is a little painful.


JOE CHEMYCZ: Steve, we appreciate it.

All right. We appreciate Bruce and Steve coming by.

Phil, congratulations again on the West Coast Swing Presented by St. Paul. It's been a great start to the year for you, and I know you're happy with the way you've played so far.

PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you, Joe. It's been a great start to the year and I look forward to continuing that play in the Ford Championship.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Talk about the change from the West Coast to the East Coast.

PHIL MICKELSON: The biggest change is the bermudagreens. They are putting beautifully, they are rolling exceptional. But you do have to factor in grain and that's a factor we don't have on the West Coast.

The addition to the length of the tees is making the golf course play a lot harder, especially on the 18th. The scores I don't think will be overly affected, but I think we will have a much more dramatic finish with the difficulty that 18 now has.

Q. There was a quote I saw in Ferguson's story from last week where I think somewhat a bit of self deprecation. You said after 33 years, something about hitting the ball in the fairway, something like that. Have you kind of throttled it back a little bit? I know you went back to the other golf ball, the Pro V1 which is a little less explosive; is that by design or by accident, evolution?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that certainly the ball that I'm playing does not go anywhere near as long as the X does. In fact, I've always said I've picked up 15, 20 yards, and that seems to be about the difference that I'm statistically behind, about 16, 18 yards over last year's stats in driving distance. So I don't have the ability to crank it up and hit the ball as long as I did last year.

But, on the same token, I have been able to be much more effective from 150 yards in, which is the area that I really want to be effective. If I can get the ball in play and be in the fairway from 150 in, that's my strength. That's where I'm starting to score and that's why I've had consistency in the five events I've played on the West Coast.

Q. Yesterday Davis Love said that you clearly have found something this season, something is different. What is it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I would love to share it with you, but

Q. Davis didn't know, either.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, I have clicked onto something that has helped me out dramatically in my ball striking, and my ability to hit fairways feels night and day difference.

Q. In what percentage of the difference in your play right now has to do with being at peace at home and things are going well and you don't have that anxiety that you had about this time last year?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, last year was a very difficult time. I wanted to thank the people here at Ford for their understanding. This was an inaugural event last year, the Ford Championship. This was their first event. I had just a part of the Ford family for four or five months. It was kind of an opportunity for us to show this relationship. When I wasn't able to make it, instead of having unsupport, Steve Lyons came up and said: "That's exactly why we want him representing our company, because he cares about his families, he puts family first, as we do here at Ford." That meant a lot to me.

Now a year later, my wife is going great and my son is doing great. It allows me a clear mind to focus on practicing and playing good golf because I know this everybody is healthy.

Q. Can you talk about what clubs you'll be hitting into 18 and what you think the changes will have on the hole?

PHIL MICKELSON: Today I had 185 yards to the hole after a pretty good drive. It was gusting into the wind and I hit a 4 iron from 185, which normally I can get a 6 or 7 iron there. It ended up short in the water. So it is playing very difficult.

I would not rule out laying up from 200 yards, if the wind is up, for the simple reason that I don't think behind the green in those back bunkers is a great position to be in, either. It's just a very difficult hole. Even if you are in the middle of the fairway, you still have 180 to 200 yards into a gusting wind.

If the wind calms down, it will play considerably easier. Not that it will be easy, but much more playable.

Q. Going back to what we just talked about, looking at the numbers from last year, and I know you are very aware of your stats, but last year, driving distance third and so far, early in the season, 32nd, but driving accuracy goes from 189 to 60 as far as where you are in the field; so you are certainly gaining in the accuracy.

PHIL MICKELSON: I think the best stat to look at is total driving. When you combine the distance and accuracy that's a much better barometer. I'm around Top 10 which so me is the most imperative stat because you can always throttle back with a 1 iron or 3 wood and hit a greater percentage of fairways. Right now I'm only at 67 percent; the San Diego tournament really took me out, those fairways were tough to hit. And you didn't want to throttle back with anything but driver because it was so long.

If I'm able to hit 72 to 75 percent of my fairways, keep it close to 290, that's my goal off the tee, that will give me a chance to get close enough to the greens to have a short iron in so that I feel that I can score.

Q. Give me more on your secret ingredient?

PHIL MICKELSON: Why? I've seen you swing inaudible I don't think it wouldn't help you.

Q. Is there something you can tell us in layman's terms?

PHIL MICKELSON: I just don't really feel like sharing details because then I'm asked more questions and so forth. Rick and I have a wonderful game plan. I've asked him not to say anything. I've asked Dave Pelz not to say anything. We have a great game plan. I'm going to go spend some time with Rick this afternoon and he's really helped me develop a game plan on how I can drive it better and how I can swing it better. He came up with that in the off season. It's been imperative to my better ball striking. Not only am I driving it better but my long irons and short irons have been much better.

Q. At the Masters last year, we were asking the same line of questioning, because you've always been at the forefront of the guys trying new equipment, first guy on the launch monitor, new shafts, new balls all that and you mentioned "Hunter Haas and Ricky Barnes are breathing down our throats coming out of college," and they led that event in driving distance. And here we are a year later, and something has changed for you, you're sacrificing some of the distance. When did that light kind of go on or who talked you out of it? What was the evolution of that?

PHIL MICKELSON: When the Tour started changing the course setup last year, I had to change. Distance became a non factor now as the fairways became bottle necked at 300. As the rough became increasingly high and are the pins so tucked that I could not even go at with a sand wedge. I'd much rather lay back because I have to play 20 or 30 feet away from the hole anyways.

Some of the course setups last year were extreme. Instead of having six tucked pins, six medium pins and six easy, we've had 72 of the most difficult pins that we can find on the golf course, which have been so close to edges and ridges, literally a foot or two from ridges. I can't go at the pin no matter what club I have. I've got to play away from the hole so I may as well be 150 yards back with an 8 iron. Distance off the tee is not a factor and that has to do totally with setup.

Q. I know you touched on it earlier a little bit about playing in the Pro Am, but can you just talk about what it is you do out there to help your playing partners, and also a little bit more about how your experience was today?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I had a great time today. I played with Steve and he and I had a chance to play a number of rounds. I played with Al, who is a dealer from New Jersey, and I had a chance to play with a gentleman named Clay from El Paso and Jack, they are all very top dealers for Ford.

We just had a chance to spend 18 holes, four and a half hours of a lot of fun. We talked a lot of smack, we played some games and we did well as a team to shoot 11 , 12 under par. To me, it's just about having fun. It's not about trying to compete.

Had we won, we would have been hearing a lot of scrutiny, having a bunch of Ford guys winning Pro Am. The goal was not to go out and play well. I try to stay away from helping out with golf swings too much because I want the guys to enjoy it and not be working on their swing, per se, but if they are struggling, I'll offer a tip or two.

Q. We were talking to Davis about how he prepares

PHIL MICKELSON: Was he here this week?

Q. No. He was on a teleconference yesterday about how he prepares for the run up to the majors, and you seemingly like to play that week before.


Q. And maybe show up later than some guys the week of. How did all of that evolve for and you why does that seemingly work best for you?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it takes time to figure out what allows each play to play their best. I know that Jack Nicklaus used skip the week before a major. I tried that for a while and I just didn't perform well.

As my career went on I found that by playing the week before and only having three days between competitive rounds, I was much fresher, more mentally ready to play in a major championship than having 10 or 12 days off. So I like to play the week before. I like how the Tour has tried to set up the event the week before a major so that they are in proximity as well as set up similar to what we'll see. Buick at Westchester is a wonderful site for Shinnecock. Atlanta is set up perfectly the week before Augusta. They really do a good job of that. It helps me prepare for the shots I'll be shooting, using.

Q. Obviously you face some challenges that affected you last year and you fell out of the Top 30 in money, was your pride wounded at all, was that motivation to regroup?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I stopped reading all periodicals regarding golf because it was just so frustrating to be playing poorly, to know that I really wasn't in the frame of mind to do anything about it at the time. I waited till the start of the year to really do something about it. I waited till 2004 came, started fresh. Rick Smith come out, and I spent time with Dave Pelz. We spent November and December developing a game plan, changes wise and how I wanted to approach it and how to prepare for certain events and so forth.

I think we have got a really good game plan that should allow me to play well on all different types of course this is year.

Q. Was that game plan more involved, did you analyze more than you ever had after a season?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we disregarded 2003. You have to look at 2003 as putting it aside, because you just don't want to work on a negative trying to fix bad things all the time. Let's focus on what we want to do, what we want to do well.

So the things that I did well in 2000 2002 when I was playing well. We tried to focus on what it was that I did well then, hence the move back to a golf ball that I was playing well with. The move I'm focusing on from 150 in, as well as getting the ball in the fairway.

Q. What do you do to sustain what you have done so far in 2004?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I've played well so far, but as the six or eight weeks have progressed, I feel like I've gotten better over the year, driving it in the fairway, from 150 in and putting has been better. I'd like to win more now. My worst finish has been seventh. I'd like to have I've had five great opportunities to win. I've only won 20 percent of the time. I'd like to try to get more wins.

The first goal, though is to get in contention, but I'd just like to get a little bit closer to the lead or maybe in the lead Saturday night so that it's not overcoming a huge shot deficit for Sunday. That's very difficult to do out here with the quality of players.

Q. Jack had said a couple of months ago coming back from South Africa, a little surprising, he said you're kind of the unsung hero of that team, even though you pretty much got boat raced in the matches.

PHIL MICKELSON: Boat raced? Every match went to 17. Let's change the verbiage there. (Laughter.) But I went 0 for 5, yeah.

Q. He said somehow you were able, in spite of all that happened to you, you were able to keep your chin up and pump the other guys up. How were you able, at that point in the year, after

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I enjoyed the Presidents Cup. I really did. I had a good time down in South Africa. I had a great time getting to know the guys and getting to know them. Their wives are terrific, too. Amy and I developed a lot of strong relationships because of that.

Golf is not it's who you are, it's what you do and it's tough to have a poor performance down there, but you have to shrug it off. Golf is a game with a lot more failures than it is successes.

Q. Davis had an incident at The Match Play final when a heckler went after him. I was curious in your decade or thereabouts on the Tour, has the composition of the galleries changed, and have you had to change going about what you do on the golf course to deal with it or shut it out or whatever?

PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I don't really have a great answer for you. I don't know what to say there.

I don't know what the best way to respond to that is. Good question. I just don't know how to answer it.

Q. You have so many interests, and I was just wondering, are you reading anything interesting right now, and how do those interests keep you a healthy person and not obsessing about golf?

PHIL MICKELSON: I like to look at things in the big picture. That is why I like to have other interests. I enjoy I love what I do. I get to do what most people do for vacation as my vocation. I love playing golf for a living. I like to have the bigger picture in mind. I think my family is the big picture. Those are the people and the thing that matters to me most.

I'd just like to have a bigger perspective than just what we do. We all worry about just what we do, we all all we care is what goes on in golf, it's such a big story. Everybody in NASCAR only cares about what's going on in NASCAR and every little rule change and so forth. I just like to think more on a bigger scope.

Q. Because of the changes you've made, how excited do you find yourself looking forward to the majors and being able to implement and see how you can do with the way you're approaching things?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I really can't wait for the majors. I actually think that the majors will provide, because of the difficulty of the golf courses, because of the greater penalty for a miss hit shot, it should allow me a better opportunity to showcase the improvements in my game.

Q. You talked earlier about driving a Ford GT yesterday. Talk about the actual in car experience, driving it and getting to ride with them.

PHIL MICKELSON: It was awesome. And the first time around the track, you don't know if the car is going to hold, so you just take it a little tentative. You don't know the extent it will go. You keep pushing it and pushing it each lap. Finally I had a chance to go back the second time after the first run, we did five or six laps. I had a chance to talk to Dale Jarrett on where you can let off the gas, how you can take turns a little faster and so forth, and I was able to pick up about ten or 12 miles per hour the second time out.

When I had a chance to sit in the car with him, then you get to see the full extent of the vehicle. That was that was really cool.

Q. When your aggressive nature was critiqued at one point, you said something to the effect, "I don't care if I never win a major, I don't want to change my play that it takes the enjoyment out of the game." Does that still apply?

PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. I still am playing aggressive. I'm still going to try to win tournaments rather than let other people falter. Just like I did on 18 in the Match Play, I tried to win that match. If I can make 4 there, if I can hit a nice 3 wood on the green and make 4, I can win that match against Davis instead of 6 and lose. That's still the way I like to play golf.

Only I would like to redefine on how I look at it aggressively. Aggressively doesn't mean necessarily missing shots, going for par 5s and missing it in the wrong spot. I thought it was pretty benign up there on the 18th. But I want to be aggressive from 150 yards in, rather than 250 yards. If I can get it inside 150, I'm going to be attacking a lot of pins, especially if I'm continually in the fairway.

Q. I guess you're skipping Bay Hill. What's the next few weeks look like other than Atlanta and Augusta and PLAYERS, I guess?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'll take the next two weeks off, play THE PLAYERS, Atlanta, and Augusta. After that, I'm not sure what I'll do. I'll take a few weeks off because I'll be working on it pretty hard heading into Augusta and the players.

Q. Bay Hill is just too many in a row, four in a row?

PHIL MICKELSON: Bay Hill is a week that I want to start preparing at home for my run through Augusta. I'm going to have a week off next week, a family vacation next week. So I wanted a week at home to prepare. Plus, living on the West Coast, it's very difficult to keep going back and forth. I didn't want to have Augusta be my fourth tournament in a row. I thought that might be a little too much.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Phil, thank you. Play well this week.

End of FastScripts.

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