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January 22, 2004

Phil Mickelson


TODD BUDNICK: 63 today ties your best round at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Let's jump into talking about today's round.

PHIL MICKELSON: Okay. Well, obviously, I played at Indian Wells, which is the course that you have to go low on and was able to shoot 63. I played very well.

TODD BUDNICK: Well, you got off to the good start with six birdies on the front. Talk about that and the momentum that carried you through the rest of the day.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I got off to a good start on the first hole making a birdie from about 15 feet. Ended up having a nice run on the front.

I don't know what else to say other than I hit some good shots and made some good putts. But the front nine here has two reachable par 5s, and it also has some wedges into some par 4s. You really need to go low here if you want to contend.

Q. Kenny Perry was over there yesterday and said that it almost made him nervous starting at Indian Wells because he knew that was the course where you had to go low. Do you have that same kind of feeling, if you shoot 68 over there, do you walk away really disappointed?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's a good point that he made. I don't disagree with him. I do like to play Indian Wells second or third because it gives you a chance early in the tournament if you're playing a hard course like La Quinta, or if you're just not getting off to a good start, to fight and hang in there. And you know that you have Indian Wells coming up, you know you can shoot 7- , 8- , 9-under par if you have a good day.

Q. You shot 68 at La Quinta yesterday, which played the toughest. Did you feel like that round set you up for the rest of this tournament?

PHIL MICKELSON: That was a round yesterday that was one of the easiest 68s that I had shot. I played very, very well and didn't make a bogey and drove it well on a pretty tight golf course and had a number of birdie opportunities that I didn't capitalize on, but by birdieing the par 5s and making a long putt on the par 3, it was a 68. It was a tough course that I felt I played very well at and even could have shot a little lower.

Q. How did you drive the ball today, and how are all of the things that you worked on in the off-season, the short game stuff, working with Rick on your swing, how have those worked the first few days? Obviously it seems like they have worked pretty well. Can you talk about the things that you're trying to institute and how they have gone so far?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm very pleased with the progress the first two days of the year, the first two rounds of the year. I feel like I've driven the ball very well and I feel much more confident from 134 yards in, which last year was a point of dissatisfaction. And so I'm very pleased with the results, the work that I've put in with Rick and Dave Pelz.

Q. On the short game stuff, what do you feel got away from you last year on short game? What was happening with the short game that caused you to not feel very good about it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I would say that my poor performance led to poor confidence. I also didn't have the proper direction that I needed to get better.

Q. Could you talk just a little bit, please, about the four courses, maybe what makes them different or what each one demands from you that might be different?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I would say that Indian Wells is. The reason it's probably the course to go low on is because it's one of the shorter courses with four reachable par 5s. And as we get to La Quinta, that's a very tough -- probably the toughest of the four because it's long and tight and it has par 5s that are difficult to reach.

When we get to Bermuda Dunes and PGA West, I think those are very good tests, tests that you can shoot, 7- , 8- , 9-under par if you play extremely well. But also if you let it slide, you might not break par at all. You have a good mix between the four.

Q. How often did you use the driver today and how many wedges did you have into holes on Indian Wells?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know exactly. It was quite a few. I don't know how many drivers. I hit a decent amount of drivers and I hit a few 1-irons, as well.

TODD BUDNICK: Phil, can we just go through your card real quick.

PHIL MICKELSON: The first hole was a 3-iron, gap wedge, 15 feet birdie.

4 was 9-iron, ten feet for birdie.

5 was driver, 6-iron 15 feet, 2-putt for birdie.

6 was pitching wedge, 15 feet for birdie.

7 was driver, L-wedge to a foot for birdie.

9 was 1-iron, 9-iron to eight feet for birdie.

The 12th hole was driver, L-wedge to three feet for birdie.

13 was 5-iron short of the green, chip on past 12 feet and 2-putt for bogey.

The following birdie was driver, 8-iron to 15 feet two, putt for birdie.

The next birdie was on 15, the par 3, I hit 7-iron, 15 feet for birdie.

The 18th hole was driver, 8-iron, six feet, 2-putt birdie.

End of FastScripts.

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