March 18, 2001
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Phil Mickelson for joining us for a few minutes. Great round today. No bogeys, six birdies. Couldn't quite catch him but you sure did try. Why don't you talk about your emotions right now.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I actually caught him and passed him and he just came out in the and he passed me. I felt like I played a good round today. I played like I felt like I did what I needed to do to ultimately win and Tiger did the same. He just did what he needed to do. And I know that he didn't hit it the way that he had wanted to. I know that he hit a couple of tee shots that he would have liked to have had back. He birdied 16 and 18 to win by one and I thought that was pretty impressive.
Q. Did you see what was going on with him on 18 from where you were?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I had heard that he had hooked one pretty good there, yeah. I didn't see the shot.
Q. Do you feel that maybe you had one stolen -- (inaudible)?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, those things happen. Sometimes you need a break like that to win. I don't know what else to say. I thought that the second shot he hit was pretty impressive and the putt was equally as impressive.
Q. Brad Faxon said it was playing almost like a U.S. Open course with the wind. How good was your 66 in that kind of weather?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was a good round, mainly because the greens were so firm; that it was tough to get at some of the pins. So it had a feeling feel of make par on certain holes and try to make birdies on the birdie holes. So I fell like it was a good round in that I didn't make any mistakes like I had the first three rounds. I don't know that if felt like a U.S. Open or not. I knew that I had to go low, I wasn't thinking about shooting even par or 1-under. I felt like I played well; so I'm not overly disappointed. I just thought that that was going to be enough and it turned out not to be.
Q. Talk about your 18th hole.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well it was a poor drive that I hit and I tried to change the trajectory of the shot. I tried to hit a low runner down the fairway. It altered my swing when I tried to do that, and it unfortunately was not a great drive. So I was scrambling for par from the start.
Q. So your second shot you had no choice?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was buried. It was sitting really low in the grass. So I wasn't even sure I could hit it as far as I did. But I was trying to give myself a better angle for my third.
Q. How far did you hit the second shot?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know how far it went. I had 82 left.
Q. And that was L-wedge?
PHIL MICKELSON: L-wedge, yeah.
Q. On TV when Tiger was about to putt, it looked like you told your wife you thought he was going to make it. I tried to read your lips. Did you say that?
PHIL MICKELSON: No. But I did think he'd make it, just because he normally does that. He normally does make it when he needs to. I noticed that a couple of the groups that came through, everybody was missing that putt short and low, and he was only one that not only read it correctly, but hit it correctly.
Q. It looked like yours, it scared the hole on 18, that wedge -- I don't know what it looked like from where you were --
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it had a chance. It looked like it might go.
Q. Talk about your week, you had an amazing roller coaster, a lot of birdies and eagles and more bogeys than you usually have?
PHIL MICKELSON: Today there wasn't really any part of the round where I could have maybe improved a shot or two. I felt like to shoot 6-under was a really good round today. Early in the week, I felt like I through away 10 to 15 shots and that's really where I lost the tournament, not today on Sunday. The first three days were very sporadic, to say the least, and seven bogeys the second round, and two doubles, a bogey the third round, I don't know how you expect to beat the best player in the world doing that, but I came within one. Today was how I need to play the next three weeks. If I'm going to do well at THE PLAYERS Championship, that course is so penalizing, I need to play the way I did today, without making mistake, missing the ball in the proper spot and playing smart when I make it, when I do hit a poor shot, and that's the way I need to play Augusta.
Q. Any thoughts of your final round in '97 going through your head?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's funny, I thought I needed a 31 which is ultimately what I did need. I shot 4 and I was pushing to get 5, from the back and I just didn't get it done. I had a bit of an unfortunate break on the one birdie hole on 13. 13 was a hole that the pin was easy to get to. I hit a nice 2-iron down the middle and I was in a divot. Instead of birdie, I'm thinking about not hitting in the water, which is a poor thought process. That was the one hole that I thought I could have birdied coming in. But 14, 17 and 18, those are tough birdie holes.
Q. On top of an old divot?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was just a sand-filled divot.
Q. Are you even standing on 18 thinking about trying to make a birdie?
PHIL MICKELSON: From the tee I was. I thought that -- the thing is, that second shot, if you hit a good second shot, you are going to have a good birdie putt. There's no place to miss it short or long, so you have to get aggressive at it. I just didn't hit a good tee shot, so I didn't have a chance.
Q. Did you ever have a yardage for your second shot at 18?
PHIL MICKELSON: No.
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