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February 1, 2004

Phil Mickelson


Q. What's next for you now? Are you going to watch the Super Bowl tonight?

PHIL MICKELSON: I can't wait to get back to work. I'm going to go back Monday, Tuesday, and work a little harder and see if I can get back in contention next week. I'm going to play up at Pebble and I'm looking forward to next week. This is the most fun I've had playing. Even though today wasn't a day I wanted, it's fun being in the last group, being in contention again. I'm having fun.

Q. You talked about trying to do it in consecutive weeks. Obviously that didn't happen. How disappointed are you?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's dejecting when you have a chance to win and you don't, but I'd rather be in that situation. Last year I didn't have those chances. Even though I didn't come through, it was a lot of fun.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: He certainly played great. Chris came up the backside and birdied the first six holes, and Jonathan followed by birdieing four in a row himself. I think the most impressive shot I saw from Jonathan today is after Chris knocked it a foot on No. 12, he comes in, hits a 3- or 4-iron to 12 feet, makes it for birdie right on top of him and birdies the next three holes. I thought that was very impressive. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to come through after I birdied 13. That bogey on 14, not birdieing 15 was real dejecting, and when the putt on 16 didn't go in, the long one for birdie was very dejecting. I did very poorly.

Q. Did you have to change your thought process the rest of the round after you fell down by two after the bogey on 14?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, because I was down two after bogeying 14 to two players, I knew that I had to go catch them, and when I didn't birdie 15 it was pretty dejecting because I lost another one there.

Q. Your drive on 17 couldn't have been any better.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, if I hit -- if I were to do it over ten more times I'd want the ball to land in the exact same spot, and it was 50/50 on whether it gets a good bounce. It could have gone close to the hole, could have gone in the water, could have gone in the bunker, could have gone anywhere, but I got the bad end of that deal.

Q. How close was the second shot on 14?

PHIL MICKELSON: The second shot on 14 wasn't a bad -- overly difficult shot. I hit it really good. I think it came up two or three yards short. It was right on the line I wanted, just right of the hole, cutting in there, and it was just a little short, and it would have kicked. It gave me a downhill lie.

I didn't try to get it close, I just tried to get it out of the bunker and take six out of play and tried to make a putt but just didn't make it.

Q. Talk about your game now as compared to where it was when you struggled last year.

PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's better off. I'm certainly driving the ball better than I ever have, and I feel like I'm having some very good distance control with my irons, so I'm very excited.

Like I said, I know that I didn't win today but I can't wait for next week. I'm going to go work on it Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and see if I can't get in contention again because this has been a lot of fun.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, thank you. I'm sure it has some part of it.

Q. Talk about Kaye's play.

PHIL MICKELSON: Jonathan played exceptional. He followed DiMarco's birdieing six holes in a row by birdieing four of his own.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: That's been a help, yeah. I think that that will help me get in contention more. I certainly drove it very well the first two weeks of the year, and I feel like my iron play has been good, so I really can't complain. I hit a great shot here. Again, tied for the lead with five to go, and as they were birdieing a made a couple bogeys.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I came up a couple yards short on 14, and when they birdied to my bogey, I fell two back, and not birdieing 15 hurt because you've got to birdie that hole, and I just didn't.

Q. Did the crowd Marshall bother you at all on 7 when you missed that putt yelling stand, please, stand, please?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I didn't. That was an interesting thing. I hit a good putt, I just didn't give it enough speed. I didn't think it was a putt that would break much and it shot across the hole.

Q. What was your yardage into 15?

PHIL MICKELSON: I had 251 to the hole. I hit 4-wood. I was in between 3-iron and 4-wood. I didn't try to go for the pin, went for the middle of the green, hit a good shot, and it just drifted a little bit more and ended up in the bunker. It wasn't an overly difficult bunker, but where the pins have been, if you notice, right on the edge, it goes away. On 15, 16, 17, 18, it just goes away, they're so close to the edge that I didn't want to get too cute with it, put it about where I wanted to, but I wanted that uphill putt and missed it.

Q. Do you remember ever having a two-shot lead on Sunday and feeling as satisfied as you do right now? Has that ever happened?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I think the reason I'm so excited is just to be back in contention again. I would have loved to have won this tournament. This is a special tournament to me, but rather than feeling down, I feel excited about next week. I can't wait to get out and play again and see if I can give myself another shot on Sunday.

Q. Last year did you ever feel that way, just playing with --

PHIL MICKELSON: Last year I would have loved to have shot on Sunday. It just didn't happen.

Q. What was it like for you emotionally not competing each week?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm really trying to just forget about it and look forward to this year.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: I'll skip LA, play six of the seven, skipping LA.

Q. When you missed a shot with your driver all week, it was left. Were you pushing it a little bit when you did miss it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, you're pulling hairs, man. I hit almost every fairway. 17 I missed the pin by, what, eight feet? It was left but it was only eight feet left.

Q. I'm talking more about 15.

PHIL MICKELSON: 15 I hit every day. No, I missed the one day by two yards.

Q. Chris was saying on 16, while it didn't bother him, he wanted to take a six pack of beer and go sit in their office and bother them. Somebody said noon an to him. Is it getting to be too much at all?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't hear that. I think it's fine. I think it's fine. The people have been great, and it's fun for us to have a hole like that. It's certainly unique and different but it's fun every now and then.

Q. Just talk a little bit about what got away from you on that backside.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'll tell you, I'm not that dejected. I'm pretty excited about being in contention. It was a little dejecting after bogeying 14 and not birdieing 15, then when the putt object 16 didn't go in, it was hard for me to get motivated. Consequently I bogeyed the last three, but to have a shot object Sunday, it was fun. I can't wait for next week. I'm going to go back and work on it tomorrow and Tuesday and stay fresh and ready and I can't wait for Thursday to start because I think I can get in contention again next Sunday and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. All of those swing changes still working pretty well for you? I won't say all those swing changes, but a lot of the swing changes, lower body stabilizing, all that?

PHIL MICKELSON: I hit it great all week, really did. I drove it great and I was very pleased. I'm really excited to play golf, excited for the year, and I hope that I keep giving myself chances.

End of FastScripts.

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