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March 21, 2002

Phil Mickelson


Q. How were the conditions out there for you?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it was a little bit easier for us than it was for the first wave of players, and I think a lot of guys were able to take advantage of that, with the softer greens and the reduction in wind. And so, I'm certainly pleased to be 5-under through 11, but I still feel like I need to push it a little bit lower, given the fact that everybody else is shooting low, as well.

Q. Typical Florida rain, and throwing another monkey wrench into the schedule, so you are going to have to play a few more holes than you'd like to; does that change anything?

PHIL MICKELSON: I actually enjoy playing a few extra holes. It's not that big of a deal. If you get into a good groove, it can be a benefit, because then you have an opportunity to play more holes and capitalize on them.

Q. Talk about how things have gone in an abbreviated start today.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's been a good start. Certainly, the second wave has had the better end of the tee times so far, given that the rain made the greens softer. And the wind started to die down a little bit, so we were able to capitalize on that. And most of the leaders have come from the second wave.

Now, tomorrow is supposed to be a little bit breezier, and if that's the case, it might revert back to where the other wave has an advantage. It's hard to tell, but I'm certainly pleased with the start, that I'm 5-under and I look forward to tomorrow's opportunity to play a few extra holes.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: It did. We saw a lot of guys take advantage of it. There are a number of guys at 4-under, 5-under, 3-under in the second wave, so we have taken advantage of it. Tomorrow I still have seven holes left, and I'm going to need to make some birdies if I expect to stay on top of the leaderboard because there are a lot of guys that are going to follow it up.

Q. You come out here having not finished way you wanted to last Sunday, how driven were you to get out here and have another go at it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I've wanted to play well here because it's been a tournament that in the past I have not played my best, and I feel like I've tried to prepare mentally, as well as physically for this event, much like the 2000 TOUR Championship, because in the 2000 TOUR Championship, up until that point, I had not ever had a good finish in that event, for whatever reason, so I really tried to focus in on that tournament and I'm trying to do the same with this year's PLAYERS Championship because I've not finished in the Top-10 here. I feel like it's a golf course suited to my game, but I just have not performed well.

So I certainly feel confident with a good start, but this is a tournament that means a lot to me, especially given the past that I've had here.

Q. Played Augusta yesterday, did it seem especially different or especially long to you?

PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was tremendous. I was actually expecting a lot more change in the visuals off the tees, but they look the same. Had I not played last year and known the changes, I would not even have known that anything happened. It looks fantastic; like it's been there forever. The holes certainly played more difficult, but visually they look identical, so I was pretty impressed with how they did it.

End of FastScripts....

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