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May 11, 2017

Phil Mickelson

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. When did you make the decision not to play a practice round this week? Was it late in the game or did you enter this week thinking that you weren't going to be seeing the course?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was going to play it Tuesday, and I had something on Monday where I was out playing and I was just a little tired, so I just kind of took the day off. And then I was going to go out Wednesday, and I just thought, gosh, if I walk around in the heat, I'll get tired. I'd rather just get a nice practice session. So I ended up doing that.

The course really isn't that different. No. 12 is a little bit different, but it's -- I've played here 25 years, so it's not like that one round was going to make a big difference. I just felt like I wanted to conserve energy and sharpen my game.

Q. The last few years you haven't been making the cut. Was there anything to shaking it up that way for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, maybe. I think this is a course where knowing it doesn't really matter because you don't know what kind of shot you're going to have. No. 9, right of the green in two, you miss it over there, usually if you miss No. 2 at Augusta a little bit right, you know exactly what you're going to have. You're going to have a nice lie, uphill chip, you're going to hit a little bump shot. Over there you have no clue what lie you're going to get, what kind of shot it is. So there's so much randomness that you just have to execute. There's no place to bail out. There's no place to miss. This is a course you have to just execute and hit great shots, and rather than go out and validate what I already know, I just worked on my game. I thought it was fairly sharp. I hit a lot of good shots today.

Q. With the birdies and the eagle, are you happy with where you're at or do you think it should have been lower?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'm happy because I've been a lot worse the last few years, so under par is good. I did a lot of really good things, a lot of good shots, a lot of birdies, made an eagle, it's great. Sure, I made some mistakes, but you're going to do that here. That's going to happen. So I thought I did a good job of letting it go and coming back with some birdies.

Q. Your take on the new turf, new changes? Anything strike you as noteworthy?
PHIL MICKELSON: I really liked a lot of it. I thought a lot of it really turned out well. I like how there's a lot more roll-off areas around the greens, a lot less rough around the greens so you can potentially run shots up. I thought the firmness and speed of the greens was firmer and faster, and you really had to take that into consideration. I thought strategy was a little bit -- shot making was a little bit more important. I really liked it, too.

Q. Physically you feel 100 percent right now, or is it still something that might affect --
PHIL MICKELSON: I feel fine. It takes longer to recover, and I want to make sure my energy level is high. The issue I've had this year is I've not finished rounds off strong. I've not finished the tournaments off strong, and so I want to make sure that I'm rested going in. I'm minimizing a lot of the other outside stuff that I do throughout the week in an effort to be a little bit sharper throughout the four days.

Q. Do some of the changes give you a chance to be more aggressive?
PHIL MICKELSON: I guess potentially, sure, but I think a lot of it is situational, too, where the pin is, how you're feeling, how the wind is, how the shot sets up. But there are situations like that. No. 11 the back left is shaved off a little bit. There's more room left that you can recover, so you're more inclined to go for that green in two than lay up.

That was one example, yeah. I don't know, there are probably a couple others.

Q. Like behind 9 there's no bunker behind 9 anymore, right?
PHIL MICKELSON: Right, but it's harder to get there than it is to the green. It's unlikely to be there.

Q. They've been talking about changing the date back; if it were to happen, any thoughts on that? Do you like it here?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I don't really have any thoughts on it. I mean, I liked it in March. I like it in May. I like the tournament. The course has always been in really good shape whenever we've played it. I don't really have a preference. I just have always enjoyed the tournament. But the last few years it's beaten me up pretty good, so it's nice to get off to a halfway decent start.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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