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April 8, 2001

Phil Mickelson


WILLIAM MORRIS: Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to have Phil Mickelson with us, who had a 70 today. He finished 13-under par in third position. Phil, I'm going to ask you for some general comments to start with, please.

PHIL MICKELSON: Let's open it up to questions.

WILLIAM MORRIS: Okay. We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Looking at your back nine, could you talk about 11 and 16 and what happened there and do you think that was the key to your round eventually?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't feel as though 11 was that big of a deal, although I lost two shots on that hole. I hit a poor drive. I tried to hit a sling hook around the corner and hit it right into the tree. I had a chance to make par and just missed about a seven or eight footer. 16 was a real killer, because I finally got within a shot, and I needed to step up and make a really good swing there and attack that pin and make birdie and I just pulled a 7-iron up on that slope, and that was a very disappointing shot, because I needed to put some pressure and have at least a good birdie opportunity, and when I was looking at that putt, not only was I not really looking at making it, but I was going to have a tough time 2-putting, which I ultimately did not do.

Q. Can you put into some historical perspective what Tiger has been able to accomplish, both within golf, and just as a sports accomplishment really winning all four?

PHIL MICKELSON: I really haven't been thinking about it. I couldn't answer that right now.

Q. Did you get any satisfaction out of the fact that you played right -- you and David played right there and made this a great golf tournament, or the fact that he didn't win, sort of takes all the joy out of it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that today was a day before if I did not have an opportunity to win this tournament, I would be much more disappointed than I am now, where at least I had the opportunity and just didn't come through. But, I'm certainly more disappointed right now, and really, I am not thinking about the joy of having the chance to win. It was -- it was disappointing not to come out on top today.

Q. The putt after a very good second shot on 14, was that a misread of spit or a miss-hit, leaving it short?

PHIL MICKELSON: It was. I should have known it was a slow -- slower putt. I saw in 1986 Tom Kite had basically the same putt and leave it short. I knew it was uphill, and I just wasn't thinking about it as I was putting it. I was thinking about the break, that it just stopped breaking a little bit at the hole and I played a little bit less than I was originally thinking. I got so into the line that I forgot to make an aggressive stroke. I left it right in the heart, too. If I had just hit it, I think it would have gone in.

Q. Do you feel like you played well and just got beat or one got away?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that looking back on it, this was a tournament where I've got to take some positive and some negative out of it. I feel as though my game is to a point where I feel like I can finally win these tournaments and contend in them regularly. I really do have that confidence. When I look back on this week, though, if I'm going to win with Tiger in the field, I cannot make the mistakes that I have been making. I've got to eliminate those somehow. I may be able to make one or two, but I can't make as many as I've made all the week, from double-bogeys on 12 and 14 earlier in the week, to four bogeys today that were really not tough pars. So, I just can't afford to keep throwing shot after shot away. But all in all, I don't feel as though I'm that far off. I just think that mentally, I'm not there for all 72 shots. I feel like I'm just slacking off on two or three and just kind of letting momentum take over and not really thinking through each shot, and it's cost me some vital strokes.

Q. You talked yesterday about how you have been aiming for this day for a long time in your life. Can you put into words now the frustration that you feel right now?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what words to say. I mean, I'm certainly disappointed, but I'm getting to the point now where I've got to look back on the round and figure out how to improve more next time and see if I can come through for next time. It's disappointing, because I felt like this was a great opportunity for me and I felt like I was ready for it.

Q. How much did the missed opportunity on 14 take out of you?

PHIL MICKELSON: It didn't really take that much. 14 wasn't the big one to me. 16 was the big one. I've got the momentum. I've got the honors. If I can stack one on 16 and hit a good golf shot, I think the whole momentum changes, and to pull it up on top, the one place I can't hit it, don't even give myself a putt at it, even if I'm 30 feet short where Tiger was, it's a great look at a birdie and I just didn't do it. That was the swing that hurt the most.

Q. Were you surprised that the ball didn't trickle down and his hit a foot away from yours and did take the slope?

PHIL MICKELSON: No. His was moving right-to-left and mine was moving left-to-right.

Q. On 8, he made a tough 8-footer. On 9 he made a slick 6-footer to save par. 10 he made a 6-footer to save. It is frustrating to watch that or can you comment on his ability to make those hard 6-footers?

PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I didn't watch him play a stroke, so I really couldn't tell you. I just -- looked up and I saw the ball going in and just kind of expected that. So, I really didn't watch.

Q. Can you talk about your putting today?

PHIL MICKELSON: Very erratic. I didn't feel bad with the putter. I just missed some crucial putts. I made some good ones. I made some really nice putts. I made a great putt on 2 from eight feet, and then follow it up with kind of a 3-putt from off the fringe on 4. Make a great putt on 5 from about ten, 12 feet and follow it up with a missed 3-footer on 6. I make a 20-footer on 7, and then I can't remember the last miss. I missed an easy six or seven footer on 11. It just seemed like it was a make-or-miss, make-or-miss. I had a good chance on 13 and 14 and missed both of those and I come back and make a tough one on 15 for birdie and I 3-putt 16 missing that short one. I just didn't feel bad with it. I just was on a roller coaster. I couldn't stay focused, I guess.

Q. Have you ever had a putting day like that before?

PHIL MICKELSON: Sure. Sure. I've played enough golf to have all kind of rounds. (Laughter.)

Q. Did you feel the crowd this year get behind you more than past years, building up as the week went on as well?

PHIL MICKELSON: I certainly felt support. I think all of the players here felt support from the crowd. They really are the best fans that we have in the game, and we see the same spectators year-in and year-out, and they are very respectful of the players. I think that not only myself, but I think all players felt the support.

Q. Is there any time when you think that maybe you're playing your best golf at the wrong time in history?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, not really. Not yet.

Q. Do you feel when you look at your 70 that you -- the tournament was there and you didn't take it or that Tiger beat you?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's tough to say, because he seems to do just what is required, and I think that if I was making a run, I think he may have followed suit. That's tough to say. I certainly in walking away from it looking back saying that I threw so many shots away that I just can't afford to do it anymore.

Q. You've had a nice run since the British Open. You've had a couple of tough patches with the short putting. Can you address that part of your game, please?

PHIL MICKELSON: I've worked pretty extensively on my putting, trying to become more consistent. And day-in and day-out, I feel like I'm more consistent of a putter. However, the last -- last few weeks, I have not been. I have missed a number of short putts, and I'm not quite sure why. I feel like -- I don't know quite if it is the read or if I'm just a little off on my stroke or what. But, it has not been as consistent as I expect, but, again, I really, statistically, I have not looked at it, but I don't think it has been a bad year putting-wise. I actually have been putting fairly well. I don't expect to make every four and 5-footer. It's just not physically possible. But, the ones that I've missed certainly sting.

Q. What were the distances on the two putts on 16?

PHIL MICKELSON: The first one was what, 35 feet on top of the hill and the second one was only about seven feet.

Q. You said that you didn't watch Tiger hit a stroke all day. Was that part of injure strategy?

PHIL MICKELSON: Was it part of my strategy? It wasn't so much part of my strategy. I just chose not to.

Q. After the disappointment of 16, you still came back, hit two good shots and gave yourself one more chance. What was the thought process there as far as what you were feeling?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I thought that on 17, after Tiger hit it in the rough, I knew he was going to have a tough time getting at the pin, and if I could birdie 17, I could get within 1 going into 18. Hit a good drive in the fairway and hit a good wedge to about 18 feet. I would have liked it to have been closer, but hit it a little long. I really had a good look at that putt. It just broke a little bit right-to-left and I missed it just slightly low just like I did on 18. Hit it a little right-to-left and missed it slightly low.

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