June 30, 2001
NELSON LUIS: A quick announcement: We will have some more details for you later, but we are going to be going off of two tees tomorrow in threesomes, 1st tee time set for 7:10. So looking for a 3 P.M. finish and we will give you some more details on that. But I did want to make everyone aware of that. We'd like welcome Phil Mickelson who obviously had a tremendous round today. Established a tournament course record, or tied it actually, which Kirk Triplett did last year. Congratulations on a great afternoon for you.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, thank you. It was a very nice day today. I played very well obviously and made a lot of putts, so it was a wonderful day.
NELSON LUIS: Let's open it up to some questions.
Q. Anything in particular that you said outside -- you were kind of cruising along fine then 13 kind of really jump started you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I felt that way. I felt like I played a solid front nine. Nothing too extravagant. Made a couple good putts for birdie, really didn't knockdown the pin turned in 3-under. And was just thinking that a good round today was 5-, 6-under par and played the backside, the pin on 10 and 11 was very accessible. I didn't make birdie there. Made a nice birdie on 12, but 13 was where I felt like I could really go low after eagleing there. It got me to 6-under par for the day and I felt like I had a few more birdie opportunities coming in, so that turned a nice solid 5- or 6-under par round into a 9-under par round.
Q. Can you describe 13, Phil?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it was a difficult hole to reach today because it was into the wind and I hit an okay drive and had 260 to the hole, 250 to carry the water and I was going to take a line just right of the green and then have that chip down the green. But as I stood over the ball for the first time the wind stopped. It died down. I felt like I could now take a more direct line so I backed away, and aimed more at the pin and hit a good solid shot and the wind didn't affect it too much. It carried fine and ended up about 10, twelve feet from the hole and I made it.
Q. What was the club?
PHIL MICKELSON: 3-wood.
Q. Talk about the drive on 18. Were you surprised today see when you got up there, it had crossed the cart path?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I went after it. I hit it hard and I was expecting it to be around there, yeah. It was a nice one.
Q. How many course records do you have?
PHIL MICKELSON: I couldn't answer that.
Q. You talked on television a little bit about mental exercising last week. Studying on foul shooting. Can you elaborate on that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well I studied psychology in college and so I went over some notes and some books that I had. There was a very interesting study about shooting free throws where half of the--what is the word for people used for experiment?
PHIL MICKELSON: There you go. Half the subjects shot only physically, all they did was shoot X. Period of time per day. The other half shot mentally without any physical practice. So, after a week's preparation they came back for their final analysis or test, and the mental rehearsal group dominated the other group. So, that's basically the theory that I try to take in this week was instead of practicing physically for a week, I will take it off but I will still use mental rehearsal to prepare me for this event. Consequently, I have been working out of a much more positive frame of mind where all the shots that I have rehearsed come off the way they should. So, heading out to actually play the round I am expecting to hit good shots.
Q. Would that mental preparation play to your advantage, say tomorrow, considering you build off this great run on the greens today, considering the you know, I don't know if you say -- I am not going to say trouble closing it out, your record speaks for itself, -- has it been a mental letdown on Sundays more than anything else?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think certainly this year we could talk about Colonial and New Orleans and the Masters and the U.S. Open and tournaments where I haven't played well on Sunday. I am going to go back and rehearse the Buick Invitational this year where I played very well and last year Tour Championship where I played well and the last year's Buick invitation many where I played well. I am going to go over those final rounds as opposed to thinking about or discussing the rounds that I have had difficult times on Sunday. I think a lot of that is that I have spent the last year and a half working on the physical part of my game and I feel like that's really come around. I have been striking the ball well, putting well, chipping well, and so I have been in contention quite a bit. The last element that I have not put together is really my mental preparation - visualizing shots, preparing the proper way, mentally, to pull the best shots out during the round.
Q. Was there a moment or a tournament where you decided to start using this mental approach?
PHIL MICKELSON: Last week, yeah.
Q. Just last week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah.
Q. Did you hear about it from somebody shall?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I just studied it and then it was time to do it. It was something that I have spent a lot of time learning and -- I guess studying in college, so I had a lot of information. I just needed to start using the techniques to relax physically; to relax mentally and the proper visual aids as well.
Q. Was this your decision or did somebody kind of give you a thought or --
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it was time. It was just the right time in that to progress as a player, it's an evolution. It's not a hit or miss. A lot of times we look at a player and say, oh, he's played great this week; oh, he played poorly this week. It's an evolutionary process. From last year I started to really improve ball-striking wise. I spent a lot of time. This year where I am starting to control the trajectory and the spin the way I want to so that the balls coming into the green proper ways. Now I feel like the last element is preparing myself mentally to pull those shots out at the proper time.
Q. Curious why you did it last week and not a month ago?
PHIL MICKELSON: No reason. I just felt like it was time to move in that direction.
Q. Have you ever talked to any sports psychologists that work with athletes?
PHIL MICKELSON: About 3, four years ago I spent a little time with Dr. Rotella.
Q. In recent tournaments birdies haven't been your problem. Your problem seems to have been that you have been making the big mistake here and there. As your approach to this week you will cut down on those....
PHIL MICKELSON: It has for two reasons. One, I am visualizing the shot that I want to hit. I am working out of a very positive frame of mind. In the past my mind would wander and I would start seeing shots that I didn't want to hit. It wasn't that my golf swing wasn't where I wanted to or that I wasn't striking it well or what have you. I wasn't seeing the shot that I wanted to hit. So consequently I was working out of a more negative frame of mind and by simply visualizing what I want to occur, I have been able to pull those shots out.
Q. In other words, when you walk up to a 6-foot putt you were tending to maybe dwell a little on the ones you have missed in the past?
PHIL MICKELSON: Or seeing the ball touch the edge rather.
Q. Now you are dwelling on the ones you have made in the past?
PHIL MICKELSON: Now I am -- I have already putted that putt that I am about to hit four, five times before I stand over it.
Q. When you have been home after the Open, the psychology books, were these all college psychology books?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes. Exactly.
Q. You didn't touch a club until you came here?
PHIL MICKELSON: Correct.
Q. Are you a pack rat? Who else keeps their old college books around? I know I don't have any of mine.
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I don't know what to tell you.
Q. You have heard a lot been asked a lot about Sundays this year. Did you ever get testy at the questions? Was it ever bothering you mentally the questions or are you -- (inaudible) more demanding than questions could know?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what to say. I fully expect that again the rounds, the final rounds at Colonial and New Orleans, Masters, Open, and I am sure there's a few others I am leaving out, I am sure that's what will be discussed and -- but that's not what I will be discussing. What I will be rehearsing again is the successes, Buick Invitational this year, TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP last year, Colonial and Buick Invitational the previous year, and I will replay the positive moments, the good shots that I hit at the crucial times so forth.
Q. The questions never got to you know a month ago or --
PHIL MICKELSON: It's not that the questions got to me. It is just that on Sunday I wasn't seeing what I wanted to do. I just wasn't in the proper frame of mind to allow myself to play the way I wanted to, to hit the shots when I needed.
Q. It did you get tired of beating yourself up?
PHIL MICKELSON: Basically, yeah, I said that after the Open, that disappointment 56 disappointment tended to we are on me and so I stopped doing that and started to turnaround the way I thought.
Q. Were you a good free-throw shooter?
PHIL MICKELSON: I make 100 percent mentally. (Laughter).
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