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August 19, 2001

Phil Mickelson


JULIUS MASON: Good evening. Phil Mickelson, the runner-up in the 83rd PGA Championship. If you would not mind giving some thoughts on your round today, and we'll go through the card and Q&A quickly.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I played well today, but I just didn't play well enough. I don't know what else to say.

JULIUS MASON: Would you like to go through your card quickly?

PHIL MICKELSON: Sure. I birdied No. 2. I hit a driver in the right rough and a 9-iron to 20 feet and made that. And I birdied No. 5. I hit a driver and a 2-iron in the front bunker, chipped out to six feet and made that. Bogeyed 9. I drove it in the right rough. Wedged out short of the bunker. Chipped up over the green 30 feet and 2-putted. Birdied 12. I hit driver, 6-iron to the back edge just off the front there about 35 feet and 2-putted. I birdied 15. I hit a 4-iron over the green, just off the edge and chipped in from about 35 feet. I bogeyed 16. I hit a drive that hit a tree in the right rough, which kicked back into the fairway and I hit a 7-iron about 45, 50 feet and I 3-putted.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Phil. Questions.

Q. You just shot the lowest total in major championship history and still got beat by one. Do you walk away taking some solace from that or feeling -- saying "What do I have to do"?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think it's either. I don't think I walk away feeling either. I'm disappointed that I was unable to win the tournament today. I felt as though I played well enough to win the tournament, but I did not ultimately beat all the players in the field, and David played extremely well. He played very solid, kept the ball in play and shot under par, which is not the easiest thing to do when you are leading.

Q. When you chipped in, that's usually the mark that some something is going right. Were you thinking you were going to win this? And because you hit the ball off the trees, were you unable to get it closer on the next hole?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the first part when I made the chip I felt like I had the momentum. I felt as though his 25-footer was a very difficult putt to make, and if I pulled even I could gain some momentum, as well as on the tee I could start putting pressure. On 16 I pulled it and it hit the tree and came back. I was able to get it on line. The ball fell on line with the pin. I just didn't hit enough club. It was 198 yards uphill into the wind. It was a long shot that I tried to hit a 7-iron. It was an iffy club, and because I had to hook it; I felt like a 6-iron would bring the back edge of the green in play and that would be a sure bogey. I thought a good one would be about 20 feet underneath the hole.

Q. How fast was the last putt and how surprised were you that it came up short?

PHIL MICKELSON: I was surprised it came up short. Hit right on line and I thought I read it pretty good and hit it pretty good. I had misjudged the speed of that green every single day, even the back right pins I have just been pulling them up short it. Just looks faster to me than it has been playing and I consequently left the one on 18 right on line, but six inches short.

Q. How long was the putt?

PHIL MICKELSON: On 18? 25 feet.

Q. Having played relatively well in the final round, does that make this close call feel any better or worse?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know if it's either one of those. I think that I feel confident in the way I'm able to play in these championships. I'm frustrated that I have not been able to break through or play well enough to beat every player in the field. And on 18, after I just left my putt short, it was the exact same feeling. And the first thing that went through my mind was '99 at Pinehurst, after having lay up, Payne chipped up to 15 foot and drained it to beat me by one. I had that same feeling as though David's putt was just going to go in without a doubt. To his credit, it was a heck of a putt; it was not easy, especially left-to-right putts. It's certainly disappointing, not having a chance to win.

Q. On 9, you looked like you changed clubs on your second shot there, you switched up with what you had in your hand the first time. How bad was that lie and how bad were you trying to accomplish this? Were you trying to get it all the way to the green and just left it that short?

PHIL MICKELSON: I was trying to go to the left side of the green, because I did not feel I could get it on, and so I wanted to have a better angle at the green. I went to more club. I went from an L-wedge to a sand wedge and it just came out not very fast. It came out very dead.

Q. Based on experience, how intense does this disappointment become over the next few days and how quickly are you able to put this completely behind yourself?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I know that the off-season is going to be long, because I really felt like this year was a year where my game was going to break through and that I've played better this year week-in and week-out than I ever have. And I feel as though my scoring has been better than it ever has and all areas have been much improved from years past, and I felt like this was certainly the year where I was going to win a major. The thing that's really disappointing was that I really believed that, had I won this week, I was going to win Player of the Year and I thought that would put me in the front running and I think not winning pretty much kills my chances.

Q. Can you talk about the three putts on 16, please?

PHIL MICKELSON: It was 45 feet, up the hill. I've got five people in the gallery after it quiets down. Telling me how slow it is and I tried to block it out of my mind, but it hit my subconscious. I just gave it a little bit extra, and it's disappointing that I was not able to block that out, because I've been focusing very well all week. I've been able to not let distractions interfere with my train of thought, and on that putt, what was said kind of crept in and I just gave it a little extra, and sure enough ran it eight feet by and now I've got a downhill breaking putt that was pretty quick that I didn't have the chance to be aggressive with. And so, it was a poor 3-putt.

Q. That comebacker on 16, it broke off fairly sharply to the left. Did you see that --

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that it was just a right edge putt that I was trying to -- hit a little too easy. I think had I hit it with more speed it would have held in there and caught the center, but I hit it a little easier because it was downhill and it peeled off at the end, as you saw. So it broke a little bit more than I was anticipating, because the speed was not quite as much as I was trying to hit it.

Q. I don't know if you had any chance to see David's lie at 18, but I was wondering if you were surprised that he laid up and what your thoughts were on, ultimately, his strategy? Obviously, it turned out good.

PHIL MICKELSON: The first cut of rough with the ball slightly above his feet on a downhill lie, I didn't think there was any way the ball could get on the green and stay there, so I was kind of wanting him to go at the green, because one of two things were going to happen: He was going to go over and be in that long rough, or he was going to have the ball -- have not enough spin and come out dead and go in the water. The only safe place I thought was the bunker, to get up-and-down. I thought over the green, out of that rough, with that long chip, I didn't think that he would have a very good chance to put it close. He made a great play. That was a very intelligent play. Played right to his strength. He's a very good sand wedge player. He hits the ball to the right yardage and it still was not an easy sand wedge, because short is water and long is the bunker; if he goes in the bunker, there's a good chance that not only does he not win out right, but he may not make a playoff, either. He hit a great shot, spun it back to 10 feet and made the putt. That was really his best opportunity to make par. I felt like it was a very intelligent play on his part.

Q. Back to the gallery for a second. They were obviously with you throughout the day. Any other incidents that affected you positively or negatively?

PHIL MICKELSON: They were wonderful. That wasn't a negative. That happens a lot when you have guys that stay on the greens all day. Sure, they know how they break and so forth. You hear it every hole: "This one doesn't break this, one goes more than you think"; or whatever. As a player, we are able to see the break. We are able to tell the speed and so forth. You have to block it out because sometimes it does affect your decision making process and you don't want it to. And I just -- I gave it a little extra, plus, I really thought it was a putt I could make. I had it to the -- the same putt to a similar pin earlier in the week, and came very close. I felt I knew the break and wanted to be aggressive, too. But going up the hill I didn't think I would be able to run it that far by the hole.

Q. Did you think at any point there was one turning point in the round, and if there's one shot that you would like to have over again?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the 3-putt. That's got to be ultimately the one. I caught him and got even with him, I think three times throughout the round and was not able to get the lead, and all of those times, I felt like if I could get a 1-up lead that would change the momentum. And the outlook, from being a leader to actually trailing is actually difficult to overcome sometimes and I was just never able to get ahead. After 15, it was important that I played the next three holes very well. Obviously, it's the end of the tournament, but more than that, I had the momentum. I had the honor and I had things going my way, and that's why I really felt I could make a 3 there and turn the momentum. 16 is really the last good birdie hole, also, and so I was trying to make a 3 there, but didn't hit the second shot as close as I wanted.

JULIUS MASON: Phil, thanks very much for coming down.

End of FastScripts...

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