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February 1, 2017

Phil Mickelson

Scottsdale, Arizona

BRIAN DECKER: Please welcome Phil Mickelson to the Waste Management Phoenix Open media center. Your 28th start here, ten top 10s and three wins. You're on a tight schedule. Thanks for coming in and spending time with us.

I know this is a special week for you. Just start us off with comments what it means to be here this week and what this week means to you as a player.

PHIL MICKELSON: I can't believe how many of these I have played in. It doesn't feel like it, but going back to college, gosh, again, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago, but it was 25 years almost.

I love playing this event. I'm amazed at how the Thunderbirds have done such a great job of making this a great experience for everybody: for media, fans, caddies, players. All the details are very well done.

It also provides a very unique experience on the golf course, just like what 16 does. But throughout the course you have all these people, more than any tournament we ever have, and yet everybody can see the hillsides are beautifully constructed to provide views. It's just a very well thought-through golf tournament. Fun to be part of.

BRIAN DECKER: Questions?

Q. As someone who had a putt here for 59 four years ago, at some point in that round, does it become a mental thing? Is 60 a magical barrier, maybe like a 4-minute mile for runners back in the day?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think so, yes. That would have been a special moment. Just like the putt on the final hole at the British Open last year to shoot the lowest round in any Major would have meant something. You don't get those opportunities very often, and that's why those putts were so meaningful. Both of them, I'm still in disbelief they didn't go in.

After you shoot a round like that, much like what Justin Thomas did in Hawaii when he shot 59 the first round, the expectation is to win, and anything less than that is looked at as a failure. It makes it one of the biggest challenges to finish the tournament off.

I think that's one of the things I'm most proud of, looking at that win in 2013, is being able to finish it off after the expectation is built immediately after the first round.

Q. Can you talk about your new logo? And did you have any input in the design besides the actual jumping?
PHIL MICKELSON: (Smiling.) So I'm working on something that we will bring out in a few months, and this is going to be the logo for it, so I just thought I'd put it on early. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of one of the most exciting and biggest points in my career.

So it's a very uplifting thing for me every time I see it. It's fun to have it on my chest.

Q. You mean there is more coming?
PHIL MICKELSON: What do you mean?

Q. In terms of the logo?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's being built around something that will -- it's a few months away. It's not even worth talking about now.

Q. More importantly, there has been this rash of obviously this shift in generation, if you will, 8 out of 11 winners this season are 29 are under. Your guys obviously had success early in this year. What do you attribute it to and sort of relate it -- you've stayed remarkably healthy throughout the stretch and had success well into your 40s even as we sort of shift into this new generation. What do you attribute...
PHIL MICKELSON: I think there are two things that has allowed me to elongate my career, if you will. One is I give a lot of credit to Sean Cochran and him staying up on new techniques, working with Dave Phillips and Greg Rose and guys at TPI on having our workouts be designed to be built around golf and elongating careers, so building the stabilizing muscles rather than building up just the big muscles. So the support around my knees, around my spine, around my shoulders, all the areas that first commonly get injured, are much stronger. Those small muscles are much stronger.

Since we have been together now 14 years, that was our goal, to use working out as a way to elongate my career.

Secondly, the swing I have does not put a lot of pressure on my low back and spine and whatnot. It was built more around the books of Ernest Jones way back in the day, Bobby Jones, swinging the club, watching Sam Snead swing it, and using the leverage and motion to create speed rather than a violent, brutal force while isolating a couple of joints.

If you isolate any joint, knee or the hip, then you will increase the pressure on other parts of your body.

And so all areas of my body kind of move together with the golf swing so it doesn't focus extra amount of pressure on one area.

Q. The start this season, you have talked about feeling close, and I guess maybe just talk about the work you and Andrew have done in the offseason and what you attribute it to.
PHIL MICKELSON: We didn't have a lot of work to do nor the opportunity to do it this offseason, because I was out with surgery and didn't swing a club. The one day out of the three months I swung I got another hernia and had to do it again.

What I attribute the start to, and again, it's not the start I hoped for, but knowing that I wasn't going to be 100% to play the way I have the last couple of weeks, gives me a lot of confidence heading into these few weeks and it has more to do with the way last year went and getting the swing and the changes done last year so that this year there aren't any. That's really been the case, picking up where we left off. And the feel and everything comes back a lot quicker when I don't have to make a swing plane change, things like that.

Q. Speaking of the 59s, you're playing with the last 59 shooters. What do you make of that grouping?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm playing with Justin Thomas, Adam Hadwin. Yeah, they've both shot 59. I'm envious of that. I really am. But I have won this tournament three times and they haven't. We both have something to be jealous about.

Q. What do they do here at TPC Scottsdale to do so well? Would this format work at other tournaments or just work well here?
PHIL MICKELSON: The thing about this facility is that it is built to accommodate this type of crowd, and so it works perfectly here. I don't know if every course could accommodate this. I don't think that there would be the parking, the viewing, the space for all the hospitality, all those details. It started when they built and designed the golf course.

So I don't know if it's meant to be every place. I also think if you do it every single week, it loses some of its lure and luster.

But there is no reason why other tournaments couldn't develop what they have done here, which is make it "the" place to be for that week and have everybody want to come out and enjoy the experience. Have golf be the center of it, but have other things to add to it, as well, like the Thunderbirds do.

Q. As you mentioned, it's been almost 25 years since you graduated from ASU. What has that golf program meant to you during your career, including your relationship with Steve Loy?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's meant a lot more to me than I could put in words, because those four years of college are such a critical time in your life when you're transitioning from being a dependent to being independent, and Steve Loy was so helpful in those four years of getting me ready to come out on tour, to play golf, and to be on my own as a professional golfer, but also as an individual.

To have him with me now, he's been my best friend for 25 years, has been exceptional. I can't put a price on that or how much that means to me.

I see the same dynamic now with my brother and Jon Rahm who won last week. I see the same thing happening. My brother Tim is one of the people I look up to and respect the most. Even though he's my younger brother, I think he's one of the most quality individuals I know.

To see the way he has put Jon in a position to win and in a position to succeed on and off the golf course is a real credit to who he is as well as the type of player Jon is.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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