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April 11, 2003

Phil Mickelson


BILLY MORRIS: Ladies and gentlemen, we're delighted to have Phil Mickelson join us. Phil is 2-under par and has played 29 holes. Phil, would you like to say something or do you want to just start in with questions?

PHIL MICKELSON: Let's just start in with questions.

BILLY MORRIS: Questions, please.

Q. Can you describe that putt on 1 the second round and what it did for your day in your round?

PHIL MICKELSON: I missed the green long right on one and it was a very difficult spot. After watching my two playing partners try chipping it and having them roll 40 and 60 feet past, I decided to try to putt it. I thought the margin of error might be a little less. It might come up a little short, a little long, but it wouldn't go way off the green. I hit a good shot and it just crept on to the green and it tracked in the hole. It was one of those that you don't expect to make and it saved me maybe two shots because I was looking at a possible 5. But I also had some go the other way. So I just look at it as kind of evening it out and I was able to make a few birdie after that. But I don't feel as though that was a catalyst to me making some birdies.

Q. You had talked about with the layoff and all the new duties that come with being a father again that maybe you had lost a little of that competitive frame of mind in Atlanta. Did you kind of sense that coming back again the last 48 hours, 72 hours, being here and getting ready to play here?

PHIL MICKELSON: Not really, no.

Q. Can you just talk about the day, the conditions, trying to squeeze the 36 holes in? Is that about as exacting as it can get out here?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't think that playing 36 or trying to play 36 in one day was going to be a negative or be difficult. I thought that the guys that are playing well would be able to take advantage of the day. And certainly that seemed to be the case. The difficulty of it was taking so long to play. I can't remember the last time we played a six-hour round here. We used to play twosomes and we would play in under four hours every time. And so having two and three group waits on certain tees around Amen Corner especially is very difficult. And something that we're not used to having have happen here in the past.

Q. Is the kind of first two days the conditions and then the number of holes that everybody is playing, all the work that you've been doing on your body to get yourself physically at a certain level, is this the kind of situation where that pays off? Does it feel different?

PHIL MICKELSON: Not really, no. I think that guys out here play 18, 36, walking at home all the time. I just don't -- I've been doing this since I was a little kid. It hasn't made a bit of a difference, no. I notice it more in the swing. Creating speed and leverage and so forth.

Q. How would you assess what you did well today, what would you like to do better, assess the day over all?

PHIL MICKELSON: Just in general, I don't want to get into specifics, but I played well today. I hit a lot of good shots and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities and played well.

Q. Going back to the six-hour round, was it the conditions that forced it to be so slow or were there other things that were involved that helped contribute to it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure why it was so slow. I know that we had two and a half hours of tee times going off on the first tee. So the quickest we could have played is five hours 20 minutes. So I think it was just the way we had it set up. But we had to do that to be able to get this many holes in.

Q. Could you describe your bunker shot on five and how difficult that was?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I probably shouldn't comment on that because I'll come back next year and it will be five feet deeper.

(Laughter.) I had 135 yards and I ripped a pitching wedge out there and was able to just get it up and I had a little bit of help that helped me get it to the green, but that is a very deep bunker I was very fortunate to hit the shot that I hit.

Q. Is that the one that you said Wednesday after the practice round that you didn't throw any balls in there because you didn't plan to go in there?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, but it wasn't that bad.

(Laughter.) Just kidding. Just kidding.

Q. Can you just in general describe how you feel about your position? Obviously this is a long ways to go and you haven't even finished the second round yet, but to be under par and there's not a lot of guys under par?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that I'm not going to look at it until the end of the second round and then you get a pretty good idea of where you stand with half the tournament finished. So I have 7 holes to play. I've got some birdie opportunities on the par-5s. I want to see how I play the last 7 before I really try to find out where I stand.

Q. You just got the physical aspect of playing the number of holes you played. But you guys are out there for that length of time. What about mentally? How draining mentally is this number of holes? That's different than playing 36 holes at home.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, that is a big challenge. After 18 we have all conditioned ourselves to relax after 18 holes. And so to get back up and focused to play more holes sometimes can be a challenge. But as the day wears on, physically you get a little bit tired, mentally you certainly get more tired as well, and so that can be a challenge. The way to combat that is to not try to focus every second of the day. The way to combat it is to let your mind wander in between shots and then try to regroup when it's time to hit another shot and it's not as draining.

Q. Was that shot on 5 your best shot of the day?

PHIL MICKELSON: It very well could have been. Sure. I don't really categorize shots like that. But it was one of the better ones, yeah.

Q. And two, you had talked on Wednesday or Tuesday about Ricky Barnes and your impressions of him. Now you see him on the board there, top-5 right now, are you impressed or and what kind of impressions do you have seeing his name on the board all day?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I knew, what type of player he was so it obviously wasn't a surprise to me. He hits the ball a long ways. He hits his irons very solid. He's a very complete player. You can see it not only in the practice round but you could see it in all his play in college events, his victory in the US Amateur. He's a very complete player and I would not be surprised at all if he stayed there for 72 holes. In fact, I expect that type of play out of him.

Q. Watching on TV, I wasn't on the golf course just watching, could you talk about the short putts that you made, was it on 11 and I think on 8.

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't miss a short one on 11. I missed a 8 footer on 8. I missed one putt today where or I hit one bad putt today that I didn't start on line. And that was the one on 10. My second day, the two holes before it. It was the only putt that I didn't hit on line. I certainly missed putts today, but every one of them was on line with either, with the wrong speed or the wrong read.

Q. When the horn went off you kind of threw your visor down. What did you feel?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well the three of us had said that we want to go play 12. It was calm, there was no wind. We wanted to play 12. So I had tapped out, continued in an attempt to get over to the tee box to at least one of us hit and when the group in front of us didn't get off the green I didn't have a chance to hit because -- I would have hit before our guys finished on 11, in an effort to play 12. Because very rarely do we get in that calm of conditions.

BILLY MORRIS: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you. And Phil good luck to you tomorrow.


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