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August 5, 2000

Phil Mickelson


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you for joining us. Nice run today. Very good charge. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about that, then we will open it up for questions.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I ended up making seven birdies today. I was very pleased with the round. I felt like if I could -- the object or goal today was to play well enough so that, if I can get really hot tomorrow, I might be in a position to catch Ernie. Obviously, Ernie has a huge lead coming into today. He has a huge lead going into tomorrow. That was certainly the case at Colonial this year. And I felt like on Saturday, if I can just get-- got off at that poor start, if I could just get myself in position for Sunday, I might be able to get a low round and catch the leaders. So that was certainly the goal today. Obviously, being way back, I understand it is going to be difficult and it is unlikely; but still, I was pleased with the round today, because tomorrow I feel like if I can get hot, make some birdies and possibly an eagle or two, I may be able to catch him.

Q. Whether you are in the first or the last or next-to-last group tomorrow, how important is it to put some numbers up real early and make Ernie pay attention to what is going on the rest of the day?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, -- I don't think that making a couple of birdies early is going to alter the way Ernie plays or the way he feels, or what have you. But because the round has to be so low to catch him, it is important to get off to a good start. It is important to get off to a good start to get a little bit of momentum and be in position where maybe an eagle might be able to open his eyes. But I think that it is not going to alter the way he plays, because he does have such a big lead. He knows that if he goes out and plays solid golf, makes the birdies on the par 5s, an odd birdie here or there, he is going to be almost uncatchable. So that is why -- Well, I think that getting off to a quick start will do two things. One, it will put us in a position so that a good back nine might be able to catch him. The reason I say that, the year Steve Lowery won, he eagled both 14 and 17 and made up a huge discrepancy right away. I think that that is where I want-- want to have an opportunity for that, so that if I were to get fortunate to make an eagle or two, I may be able to catch him. If I don't get off to a good start, I won't be able to do that.

Q. Because you are behind, do you do things maybe tomorrow that you might not do if you were closer? Shoot at the pins that are going to be hidden?

PHIL MICKELSON: Every pin, you can fire at. There has really not been one pin that I have not tried to go after. So it won't alter the way I am playing. I just need to get hot with the putter and give myself a lot of opportunities.

Q. Did you feel lucky on 17?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, whether I feel it or not, I was lucky on 17. The marshal told me that my ball hit a rock in the stream and just skipped it right across. And so it kept me out of the water. I was able to advance it by the green, get up-and-down. So, yes, I was very fortunate there.

Q. Even the rocks and trees are pulling for you, bouncing on the tree on 1 yesterday...

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, you know, I will be the first to admit, I have been all over the place this week. I have not struck it the way I want to. I even haven't putted that well. But I made some putts on the back side today; and hopefully, I will be able -- actually hit some good shots today. So if I can carry that into tomorrow -- work on it before I tee off.

Q. Given the success that you have had here, do you perhaps take some more hope into a situation like tomorrow where you are going to be quite a ways back than you would in another similar situation?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think so. I think that the format allows you to make up ground quick. And the first two days, I was only 5-under par. I was all over the place, but I made a number of birdies to offset a number of bogeys. Because of that, I was -- I still had a decent amount of points. So even though Ernie was 16-under and 11 shots ahead of me, I was still only 16 points back, which is only 8 birdies. So this format, you can make up a lot of ground quick, especially if you can start making eagles. But my game plan is to try to chip away with two pointers, a two pointer here, two pointer there. Try to chip away at some of the lead, and maybe on the back side get fortunate and have an eagle opportunity and make it. So I kind of lost track of the question. But anyway. . .

Q. You kind of -- you are going to kind of jab, jab, jab, and then look for the knockout?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it is going -- if I am going to be able to catch Ernie, I am going to have to use all 18 holes and take advantage of this format. I still don't know if it possible, but I am certainly going to give it a good try. I am certainly going to be out there firing at birdies, trying to make as many as I can. And on the par 5s, I am going to be ultra-aggressive trying to make eagles. So that is -- it is fun to have that opportunity tomorrow. Had I not played well today, had I not shot 65, I would not be in the position where I can go low tomorrow and maybe catch him. It is fun having a chance on Sunday. It might be a long shot, but it is fun.

Q. It's a pretty marquis leaderboard, Phil. Do you think that this course just brings out the best in the best type deal?

PHIL MICKELSON: That is -- I don't know. I think that I really haven't seen the leaderboard too much other than Ernie, Norman, and Garcia are up there. I haven't been looking too much. It is interesting, because a lot of the past champions are -- Davis Love, Greg Norman, and some strong players, so they certainly have had a good -- a good field and good winners. I had a lot of opportunities the front 9, a lot of 12-footers that I just didn't make. Only ones I made were a one-footer and two 2-putts. But I went on the back side, that is where I started to make some putts. Right on 15, when I was playing 15, 16 is when the wind started picking up and the course started to play more difficult.

End of FastScripts....

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