July 5, 2001
Q. Talk about your round today. You played obviously very well.
PHIL MICKELSON: I certainly played well today and the key to the round was really minimizing mistakes because it was very difficult to make birdies here today. The greens were very firm and it was very hard to get the ball close. I made a couple of good 15, to 25-foot putts that got me under par and I was able to go bogey-free throughout the round. The wind was a factor certainly, but I felt like the firmness of the greens is what really made the golf course difficult today.
Q. Continuing to play well. How much of this is a carryover from last week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't think it is so much of a carryover of last week. I feel like I have played well all year; not just last week or today. And the goal starting on Thursday is really just to get into contention. It's not so much to shoot way up to the leaderboard. Certainly I played well today. The goal is after three rounds is to have a shot on Sunday. This is a nice start. Tomorrow in the morning I am hoping the greens will be a little bit softer and provide a little bit better opportunity to make some birdies and maybe I will have a chance to get in contention.
Q. What has been the key this year for the consistent play for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the biggest thing for me has been a year and a half ago when Rick Smith and I made a commitment to each other, he has been there when I felt my game sliding just a little bit. So what that's meant is the lows haven't been nearly as low. If I feel something (inaudible) he flies out and we get it taken care of as soon as possible. And having his expertise and his set of eyes has really led to a much more consistent level of play.
Q. Talk a little bit about Cog Hill and how it sets up for you specifically?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it certainly is a difficult course because the front of the greens are all guarded so you have to get the ball in the fairway to be able to put enough spin on it to get it stopped by the hole. So hitting a lot of fairways today was certainly a key to the round. Cog Hill in general requires to you maneuver the ball both ways which I like. The real challenge year in year out that I have noticed is that the wind swirls above the tree tops. And you might be isolated and not feel anything but as soon as the ball is hit, and goes up above the tree line, it gets hit by the wind. That seems to be the difficulty year in and year out.
Q. You made some good putts today.
PHIL MICKELSON: I did. I really didn't hit it that close, but I hit a good number of greens and gave myself a lot of opportunities from 12 to 25 feet and I ended up making just enough to shoot a good round.
Q. Talk a little bit on the 9th hole. You had a little bit of trouble there.
PHIL MICKELSON: I ended with a par. I hit a good drive off the tee, but it was in the first cut of the left rough and I tried to slice a driver, had to hit about a 40, 50 yard slice around the trees to get it on the green. I over cut it into the left trees. And really didn't have a chance to get it on the green and felt like the front bunker would be the best spot and so was able to putt it there and hit a good shot to about a foot and made par.
Q. Good start. You talked earlier that you are not going to have it everyday. You are going to take advantage of the days where you are playing well.
PHIL MICKELSON: Right. You are not going to go low four days, but when you do have it and you start making some putts you need to capitalize on those rounds and turn that into a really low one. So shooting 6-under was really a good start. Now I am still going to need one or two other low ones and then the round where putts seem to lip out instead of lip in I need to keep it around 1 -, 2-, 3-under par. So to have a good low round on my belt after the first day is nice. Started on 10, I hit driver L-wedge to about 25 feet made that for birdie. Then 13 hit driver, 9-iron to about 25 feet, made that for birdie. Par 5, 15 I hit driver 7-iron front bunker, wedged out to about two and a half feet; made that for birdie. Then I didn't birdie 'til 1. I birdied No. 1 by hitting a drive left above the bunkers and hit a 9-iron, a good 9-iron on out of the rough to about twelve feet; made that for birdie. Birdied the par 5, No. 5, I hit driver in the left bunker, didn't have a chance to go for the green, laid up with a 4-iron, hit an L-wedge to 15 feet; made that for birdie. Birdied No. 8. 2-iron off the tee, pitching wedge to about seven feet, made that for birdie.
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