home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 29, 2004

Phil Mickelson


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Phil, for joining us for a few minutes. Wonderful round today, 7-under-par 64. Kind of started where you left off last week.

PHIL MICKELSON: It was a fun day. It didn't look like it was going to be anything special, it just looked like it was going to be a solid few-under-par round and something just kind of clicked there. I don't know what it was, but I started hitting some good shots and the putts started going in.

I birdied five of my last seven holes, so it was a nice way to end and shoot 7-under. Certainly the scores are low from everybody, so it did not look like the distance changes have affected the scoring, but it does play a little bit longer, but the scores still are very low.

Q. Where were you going toward the last few years? Fans are really behind you, unlike some of the other Tour players. Why do you think that is?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, but it's pretty cool. It certainly makes me feel very good. I've had some wonderful experiences in the game, and one of those was Bethpage. The way the fans in New York were, was incredible, so I've been very fortunate.

Q. A lot of guys wrote at Bob Hope that you were managing your game better at Bob Hope. Maybe that was true, maybe it wasn't. Is it true, and was that the case today?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it certainly helps when you hit it where you're aimed. That could make it look like management or just better play. Something that I've been very pleased with has been my distance control with my irons, and that was something I did not have last year, but last week I noticed a huge difference where shots were ending up pin high. Today I noticed it, as well, where there were some pins that were very tough to get to, but I really felt confident that I could get to them and the ball ended up close to the hole. That's been the biggest area.

So when you say course management and what have you, it's a lot easier to do when you're hitting the ball on line and the right distance.

Q. During the time you were ranked No. 2 in the world, how do you feel right now as compared to then? How do you feel your game is?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a little early. It's a little early to jump the gun. It was only ten days ago where a lot of people kind of just wrote me off, and we're only ten days into the year really. I feel that the areas of my game that I did well when I was No. 2 in the world, I feel like I'm doing them as well or better right now, and I intend to continue to work on them and try to improve and hopefully the year will -- I'll play better and better.

Q. All the hype coming into this tournament was kind of centered around this will be the big hitters' week, the little guy doesn't have a chance.

I think someone said in here yesterday, Vijay, that 50 percent of the guys are out of this tournament because of length. You're really the only big hitter that's up there in the Top-10. Is that kind of surprising or does is it maybe --

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't agree with that. I think that although it's playing a little bit longer, I still hit sand wedge into 9 today. They added 50 yards to it. So instead of being a 3-wood, sand wedge, or a little driver, sand wedge, it was still a gap wedge. It was less than a pitching wedge, and that just means that the guys are still going to be hitting 8 and 9-irons in. It's not playing overpoweringly long. It's just playing a little bit longer. With the fairways being fast, there aren't really any forced carries other than 13, and you can still go right on 13. There aren't any forced carries that are undoable for a lot of the guys.

Q. On The Golf Channel the other night, Butch Harmon raised your course management at the Hope, and one of the things he said was, there was a round last year -- a tournament last year, where in the last nine of the round, you hit no woods off the tee. You hit only irons, and he thought maybe, he was conjecturing, please separate fact from fiction here, he thought maybe that opened up a light or some sort of epiphany which led you to hit more irons off the tee. Is that anywhere near close to real?

PHIL MICKELSON: Last week -- there are a lot of courses on Tour that cap us off the tee at about 270. Now, my 3-wood goes a little bit longer than that and my 2-iron goes way short of that. 240 is my 2-iron. So I've got a 35, 40-yard gap between those clubs. When I added that 1-iron, I felt I could get that 265-yard distance that I was trying to hit and get it in proper position, and I will use that club a lot this year because that's where the fairway cuts off.

At the Hope I pulled out -- I'm sorry, at Bermuda Dunes, but the 1-iron was very effective at PGA West, because again, the number of holes seemed to cut you off at about 280, 290, so it was a perfect fit. I expect to be able to do that throughout the year.

To answer your question, I don't know how that really ties in, other than I looked for a club that went that yardage and I found it.

Q. That round last year, did you hit an iron off of every tee? He said you shot 3 or 4-under.

PHIL MICKELSON: Was this last week?

Q. No, a tournament last year.

PHIL MICKELSON: What I remember is at the Western Open I tried to hit a bunch of irons off tees and I remember I kept leaving them in the rough 40 yards behind where I was with driver and it just made a par impossible. I figured if I'm going to be in the rough, may as well get close to the green. But now I feel totally different with a driver. I don't know what my fairways hit were today, but I only missed two or three, so when you're playing from the fairway it's a lot easier to make birdie certainly.

Q. The 1-iron, when did you put it in the bag?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I pulled it out of the archives. It was a club that I played with in college.

Q. Did you use it today?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I pulled it out this week. I pulled out a 4-wood. I have 17 clubs and I have to take 3 out. I took the 1 and 2-iron out and I wanted a 4-wood. I hit a 4-wood into 15. I anticipate hitting a 4-wood into 3, and there's a good chance I could hit 4-wood into 13, so it seems to be the right club. And off the tee I hit a lot of drivers here.

Q. Did you just play it pretty much like you played every other FBR/Phoenix Open today?


Q. But we'll see the ace more this year, you'll bring the 1-iron?


Q. Find a whole new facet of your game, in essence?

PHIL MICKELSON: Actually, you won't see it the next two weeks, because Pebble is so wet you don't get much carry. You don't see it in San Diego because there's too many drivers there. We'll see it at the Players Championship where fairways tighten up, rough is thicker. Anyway, courses like that, certainly I look forward to like the Open in windy conditions because it stays down better, like the Byron Nelson, stuff like that.

Q. How many players on Tour use the butter knife?

PHIL MICKELSON: I know Davis has one. That's about all I know. I haven't had one for ages. Shoot, I haven't had a 2-iron for a long time. The set that I use we made three years ago, and we made each head from scratch. Never even thought about making a 1-iron.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can we go through your birdies and bogeys?

PHIL MICKELSON: Okay. I started with a birdie on 15. I hit driver, 4-wood to 30 feet, two-putt.

17, I birdied. I hit driver right in front of the green to the right, chipped up to 8 inches and made that for birdie.

Birdied the first hole, hit 3-wood, gap wedge. It was my sand wedge for the day. I took out my normal sand wedge and put this in, kind of a strong sand wedge. Hit it to 12 feet, made it.

I hit that same sand wedge on the second hole to 30 feet and three-putted.

On 3, I hit driver into the bunker, 8-iron out and a pitching wedge to 12 feet and made that for birdie.

3, I hit 9-iron to six feet.

4, 9-iron to six feet.

5, driver, 8-iron to ten feet, made that.

6, I hit driver and sand wedge or gap wedge to six feet, made that.

I birdied the last hole, hit driver and that gap wedge to four feet, made that.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thanks, Phil, for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297