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January 19, 2017

Phil Mickelson

La Quinta, California

Q. Your two off-season surgeries, short amount of prep work. What do you make of your opening round out here?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was phenomenal. I struck it horrible, but I scored out of my mind. So I'm very happy with it. My first round of golf was Saturday and I've been able to work out just the last two weeks. In the last three months, I haven't been able to do much, but the last two weeks I've been able to work out, been practicing for a week, game is rusty, but body feels good. And there's no better place to learn and to get better than to come out here on these great golf courses and put it to the test. Around here you can get away with some mistakes and I was able to salvage a few pars with up-and-downs, so it doesn't beat you up too bad, it's a perfect place to start the year and it's fun for me to be involved with the event and fun for me to be able to play it.

Q. You and Bones are both on the mend. At what point did you decide that this week was a green light?
PHIL MICKELSON: Tuesday night probably. I think that, on Saturday, I saw the video, I've been working with Andrew Getson and we saw the video and it looked a lot closer than it felt. So last year when I was going through a bunch of changes and changing swing plane and so forth, my face awareness wasn't that great, but it was much easier to pick up the face awareness because the swing plane was on plane. It just didn't feel good. And now it's starting to feel closer. I'm starting to hit more good shots, coupled in with a lot of really bad ones still, but those are starting to be slowly reduced. It's only been five days, so it's coming along quicker than I thought it would.

Q. Before I let you go, new logo, no heads up, creating a lot of buzz, do you want to remember your athletic ability in 2004 or how did this come about?
PHIL MICKELSON: We have been working on something that we'll be involved with later in the year that I'm not really ready to talk about, but it's just been a fun off season, in that, although I've had surgeries, I've been able to spend time with my family and kind of plan for some things in the future and it's been really an exciting time.

Q. Good start for you. Talk about today's round. Those four birdies on the front were pretty good.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was really a great day for me because I scored so much better than I played. And when I finally did hit some really good shots I ended up close and made a few birdies. And when I hit some really bad shots -- and I hit some really bad shots -- I was still able to salvage some up-and-downs for pars. So I scored really well today. But it's coming along a lot faster than I thought. I haven't had to go through the off season changes and so when I picked it back up, I was able to pick it up a lot quicker. The one mistake I made was I didn't change any equipment, because I haven't had a chance to work on anything. And until my game is sharp, I can't tell the intricacies and so forth. However, I switched to a different driver, just because the ball speed was so much quicker. And I've got to, I'm going to take a week off from it and then go back to it, because I want to make sure that my game is set from last year. So going forward these next three days, the work that we have put in, as far as trying to change the muscles sequential firing or like my lower body work with the driver, I think it's going to start paying off pretty soon.

Q. Talk about the recovery from surgery. The hernia surgery. You seem to have no bad affects out there today.
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I feel fine. I've been able to work out the last two weeks. And again, you start out real slow, but you get back to it, you get it back pretty quick. So, probably two or three days ago I was able to go get back to the same work out that I had prior to the surgery. So, that told me that I should be able to withstand playing and so forth. But I got tired out there. I was mentally fatigued and physically tired. I didn't quite have the stamina that I usually do. But the best way to get it back is to get out and play and to do it.

Q. And you played great.
PHIL MICKELSON: I scored great. I scored well. And I'll work on the playing the next few days.

Q. Was there part of your game that you were most concerned with coming back from surgery?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it's really not a big deal surgery, it was a minor thing, put a mesh in. I didn't think I would have to do it twice, but threw a few meshes in there to stop the intestines from going through the muscle. But it's not a big thing. Now that I've been able to start working out, again, it comes back quick. I feel fine, I feel really good. With the two surgeries, I ended up putting on some weight, I've been able to get half off in the last two weeks and hopefully in the next two weeks I'll get rest of it off. And that doesn't feel good, but when you don't do anything for three months that happens.

Q. Did the forecast factor in your mind?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, because I think two things: One, I love the golf courses here, it's a great place to come out and stat the year. You don't have to be perfect, like I was today, to still score. And then, second, there's no better way to find out where your game is at than to just get right in there in the fire and give it a start. I was nervous about starting the year at Torrey next week, because it's a hard golf course and there's no ability to recover. If you don't strike it perfect there, it really beats you up. And I hit some shots -- the second hole -- my first tee shot of the round was horrific. Right into the trees, snap hook, and I still made par. You can't do that at Torrey. So, this is a great place to start.

Q. When were you thinking when you were reloading there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I figured the ball was okay, I just played a provisional, mainly to get another swing. That next hole, the second hole's an extremely difficult drive and I wanted to just get another swing.

Q. Have you been told to cut down your practice?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, because I've been able to do a lot of back exercises, so forth, but I haven't gone nuts on the ball striking and so forth, but I haven't had to, because I didn't really need to make any changes this off season.

Q. You're going to San Diego next week. Has it sunk in about the Charger news yet?
PHIL MICKELSON: What's disappointing to me is that the city of San Diego didn't appreciate the value that they had. And it was obvious in their votes. So, I'm sad, but I don't blame them, I understand the way that the economics in the NFL works and the ticket sharing of 60/40 percent and how the suite money is where you make your money. I get it. And the suites at Qualcomm are the worst I've ever seen out of all the stadiums I've been to. So I totally understand where the Chargers are at, I just wish that all the people in San Diego loved them the way I do and fought a little harder to keep them, but I understand it.

Q. You've done some stuff with them, did it still shock you when they did it?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I get it. When the vote came in and it only got 36 percent or so of the vote, it was disappointing. Because it, if it were me, on the other end, I would feel very unwanted. It's no fun being at a place you're not wanted.

Q. How well do you know Thomas Bjorn?
PHIL MICKELSON: I know him very well and he's a great guy, I really enjoy being around him. He and I have been really close for some time and he's really been good to me over the years.

Q. (No Microphone.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I've never won in Europe and that would mean the world to me. That's a definitive goal and I look forward to being on that team and going over there and trying to retain the cup. It will be a real challenge, but I look forward to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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