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March 24, 2001

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: I was glad that I had that pairing, absolutely. Somebody birdied -- I think Billy birdied coming in.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I was excited. I just came out and played disappointingly poor today. Actually, I felt pretty good striking the ball, but what happened was is I continued to miss putts and have it carry over into my iron play, because now I've started to press a little bit. I didn't feel comfortable knocking it 10 or 12 or 15 feet. I felt like I had to knock it in. Even the one on 18, I don't know how that one went in, to be honest with you. It just barely caught the lip. I thought I missed that one low, too. And it was really evident on 10 when I had a pretty basic 8-footer and it just wasn't even close. So I struggled today just trying to get the stroke and the alignment down a little bit, and it was -- on these greens where there is no margin for error as firm as they are, it was a tough day because of that. But, the way I look at it is I shot even par on a pretty tough course putting pretty poorly.

Q. Are you the type of guy that does not want to burn one this week, so to speak?

PHIL MICKELSON: No. That's not it. I'm going to go out tomorrow and try to shoot 8- or 9-under and see if I can win this tournament. Certainly, I'm not in the best of position. Eight or nine may not even be enough, but that's certainly what I will be trying to do tomorrow.

Q. What about the Masters --(inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: That's the last thing on my mind now, to be honest.

Q. What's it like playing with Tiger?

PHIL MICKELSON: I just have a lot of respect for him, not just as a player, but as a person. I enjoy playing with him. I don't know what else to say. It's not like I really even watch him swing. I may have watched him swing once or twice. I just think that -- I like playing with the best. I don't want to -- I want to play with the best, I guess.

Q. A huge crowd following you guys --?

PHIL MICKELSON: You don't see it, though. You really don't. Big or little crowds, you just don't see it.

Q. You've been riding more of a roller coaster lately than normally, like yesterday a lot of birdies and a lot of bogeys?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it has been a little up and down, with the only good round being the last round at Bay Hill where I was solid and didn't -- didn't really lose any concentration throughout the round. I had my bouts today, as I have every day. I don't know what to say, because I feel like I've been playing well. I feel like I'm just looking -- it seems like I'm looking ahead, as opposed to staying in the present. I just remember on Sunday's round at Bay Hill when I made a putt on 5 for birdie. It was my first birdie of the day, and I didn't feel like I was forced to make that putt. I missed birdieing the par 5, No. 4, and normally I would feel a little bit anxious to get one -- one birdie out of the way. I didn't really feel that. Here, if I'm not 6-under after three holes, I feel like I've got to push it. I've had a difficult time the last few -- couple of weeks, being patient. Today, I actually thought I did a really good job on that, in that my goal after being 2-over through three, and not feeling really good about where I was at with the wind -- it was windy, too, was to get even par at the turn and try to light it up in the back. And I ended up hitting a 3-iron 210 yards dead into the wind on No. 5 to within two feet, which I needed to because I was not going to make a putt, or I didn't feel like it and I got that one out of the way. Even the one on 9, it was about a 5- -- about a 6-footer, just kind of got on line. Started it; didn't start it on line, but it was going slow enough that it just caught the lip. I'm going to go work on it, though, because I've been putting well. That's what's disappointing.

End of FastScripts....

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