June 16, 2001
Q. Tell us what you thought of your round?
PHIL MICKELSON: I shot 2-under, and I'm pleased with where I'm at.
PHIL MICKELSON: There's always chances to shoot lower than the score. Everybody is going to leave shots out there. I shot 2-under Saturday at the U.S. Open.
Q. Can you talk about 13 a little bit, that had to be a tough hole for you to get on there in two and be --
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I knew I was going to have a 4-footer coming back, there wasn't much I could do about that, it was straight downhill and no way to stop it, and I just missed it.
Q. Talk about playing with Rocco. It seemed like you were friends out there. Did that seem to help, being friends?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was relaxed playing with him. We are good friends, and we had a lot to talk about, which gave us a nice break from the challenge of this golf course, so it made the day more enjoyable, yes.
Q. As far as tomorrow, are you going to do anything different, are you going to go out there and play once again?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't anticipate doing anything different tomorrow. I think that today when I saw the golf course, and saw where the pins were, there were a lot of low pins. Today was the day to go low. Tomorrow it's going to be very difficult to make birdies. The pins will be in the high spots and it would be very dangerous to get at some of those pins. Today was the day to go low. There were a lot of birdie opportunities, if you hit good iron shots you could get at a lot of the pins. Tomorrow, although I'll play the same, I would venture to say that even par will be a better score than the 68 today.
Q. Why do you think everybody is having a hard time really getting a good score consistently?
PHIL MICKELSON: Have you just been here all day, or have you been out on the course? (Laughter.)
Q. I've been here all day.
PHIL MICKELSON: If you go on the course, you'll see how thick the rough is and how fast and tough the greens are.
Q. You talked at Colonial about the problems on Sunday, and it's been a recurring problem for you. What do you take from this the Sundays past, whether it's The Masters or Colonial or whatever, going into tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, tomorrow I am not going to try to fix mistakes. I'm going to try to hit a number of good shots. I don't know if I'll be able to pull them off or not. I've found that what I learned when I gave away some tournaments earlier this year, is that I continued to try to fix bad shots throughout the round. And that made it very difficult to hit good ones. Tomorrow I'm going to hit bad shots. There will be some. But I'm going to continue to try to just hit good ones as opposed to fix the bad ones.
Q. Phil, what did you learn at Pinehurst two years ago going into the final round that you can apply tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that setting a score and trusting that score is important. Going into tomorrow's round knowing that I don't need to go shoot 5- or 6-under par, being patient and letting some people make mistakes as well as me making some birdies will be something that I'll pull from tomorrow. I certainly like being able to go three or four groups off in front of the leaders. Although there can be birdies out here, when you have to make birdies, it's much more difficult, and a birdie hole will turn into a bogey hole quick if you don't hit the fairway.
Q. What would it mean to you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not going to think about it yet.
Q. Did you work on your swing last night, were you happy the way it held up today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what to say about that.
Q. There's one or two shots out there that you could take back right now, what would they be?
PHIL MICKELSON: One or two shots? I think on 15 I would hit that 7-iron a little bit harder. It was 163 and I haven't been able to fly a ball in the bunker without it plugging this week. I haven't seen anybody else with plugged lies, so -- the bunkers are in great shape, I've just had a bunch of buried lies. They're hazards, I'm not supposed to hit them in them, I understand that. But I've had a number of buried lies. Had I hit that 7-iron a little harder, I think I would have had a birdie putt instead of making 5.
Q. Any relevance to you to hitting such a great tee shot on 14, after what happened to you on 13?
PHIL MICKELSON: You mean on 16 after what happened on 15?
Q. After not getting --
PHIL MICKELSON: After not birdieing? It was a nice birdie to have, and it put the pressure right back on me, after having just missed a 4-footer, having another downhill tricky 4-footer, certainly put the pressure right back on me, because I did need to make a good putt there. But I don't think that -- making two there was critical, it was just a nice birdie.
Q. Are you a believer that you're due for a good Sunday round, that you've worked so hard and you're due for a good Sunday round here?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not really a big believer in, "I'm due for this." What I found is if you don't play well or if you don't -- if you don't make any putts, I don't buy into the fact that you're due one later. What I buy into is if you play well, if you practice well and prepare well you will perform well. And I feel like all year I've played very well. I've been in contention a number of times. I've had a number of opportunities to win, and I certainly feel very comfortable being in this position. And I don't know who's up there, but I think that I've had a few more chances this year to win, and I'm going to take some knowledge from those experiences.
Q. How much does a home-cooked meal by mom tonight help you tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it will certainly be nice. After a long day and on this test, which is very strenuous physically and mentally, it will be nice to relax and have something to eat.
Q. What did you get?
PHIL MICKELSON: For my birthday? I haven't opened presents yet, it's tonight.
Q. How many have you got sitting there?
PHIL MICKELSON: Decent amount.
Q. Usually get nice things?
PHIL MICKELSON: Amy hooks me up with some pretty good stuff.
Q. Phil, as close as everybody is at the top of the leaderboard, can you sort of gauge the excitement and the kind of day that we're getting ready to see tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't really looked at how many guys are up there, but there's a number of them. There's probably 8 or 9 or 10 guys that have a shot at it. Anybody at even par has the ability to go low and win the tournament. I haven't looked, but it seems like it's going to be a real shootout. And I don't think it's going to be a shootout with birdies, I think it's going to be a shootout with a lot of pars. I don't think there's any more birdie pins. It seems like they've used them the last few days. And the Sunday pins are going to be high and in the back of the green. It's going to be difficult to get to.
Q. Is it weird to see a scoreboard without Tiger?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's always up there somewhere, this time it's on the bottom, and Tiger is at a couple of over. What did he shoot today?
Q. 1-under, plus 4?
PHIL MICKELSON: I guess everybody at 4 over has a shot.
Q. He seems to be of the mind that a Johnny Miller score could come out of here?
PHIL MICKELSON: It certainly can, absolutely. He could go shoot 8- or 9-under par, sure.
Q. And somebody else could, too?
PHIL MICKELSON: But I think with as many guys as there are on the leaderboard it's not a matter of one or two guys faltering. You're going to have to have six, seven, or eight guys faltering. I don't see that happening. He's going to have to go catch everybody. If there was one guy that was eight or nine shots ahead of him, that's another story, he could shoot five or six over and come right back. As many as there are at the top of the board, I don't think that the winning total will come back too much.
Q. You don't think there will be a lot of birdie pins out there tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I don't.
Q. Could you talk about the gallery. There are a lot of screams with your name. What does that feel like, what does that do for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's pretty cool. I think that it's very -- it's very nice to have the support, and everybody feels it. They've been supportive of everybody. I think that because it's been an ongoing saga for me to win my first major, I think that it's nice to have the support.
Q. Is it tough sometimes to kind of set that aside and to not get kind of wrapped up in some of that emotion that comes out?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly it's hard to not focus on the result. It would be easy to think about winning and what it would mean and so forth, but the fact is that the process is what's going to get the job done, so what I'm trying to focus on is how I'm going to go about doing that tomorrow. First tee shot, how I want to hit it. And try to stay more in the here and now, as opposed to getting ahead of myself.
Q. Phil, you've done a really good job as far as not getting down, at least outwardly, with some of your missed chances. Have you worked hard on the positive mental attitude, knowing that if you miss one week, you've still got another chance to come back the next week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Maybe, I think what has happened is that I've had -- in the past I haven't had that many opportunities, so when I get one I get greedy, I go after it and I've been able to capitalize on it. And this year I've had a number of them, and I seem to almost take it for granted, and I haven't been as tough on Sundays and as greedy on Sundays to win the title. But there's only one U.S. Open, and tomorrow I won't take it for granted.
Q. How do you feel -- if you could compare how you feel tonight to how you felt on Saturday night going into The Masters?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, I don't remember.
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