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August 21, 1997

Phil Mickelson


LEE PATTERSON: Sir, maybe just a couple of thoughts about the round today.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, obviously we have seen a bunch of guys grouped together with similar scores. I think a lot of it is due to the rain, and the greens are softer. The fairways are softer, which makes it much easier to hit. A lot of fairways, No. 9 is a good example, where if you get 280 yards off the tee, it kind of falls off on both sides. It is very difficult to hit. But, because the fairway was soft, it is much easier to hit. I think that is why we are seeing a bunch of scores that are together right around par.

LEE PATTERSON: Bogeyed 1 and--

PHIL MICKELSON: I bogeyed 1. I drove it in the right bunker and went way to the right and ended up making 5. I birdied 2. I hit 3-iron up there just off the green to the right, 20 feet. Just up-and-down. You guys care about this? You guys really --

Q. Yes.

PHIL MICKELSON: Okay. No. 3, I hit a driver 9-iron, 25 feet. Made that for birdie. And then 6 I birdied. I hit driver, 6-iron to about 15 feet. Made that for birdie. Then parred through 'til 10. Hit a 3-wood, 9-iron to about four feet. Made that for birdie. 11, hit a 3-wood, sand wedge to ten feet. Made that for birdie. Then I bogeyed the next hole, next two holes. Bogeyed 12 and 13. 12, hit 8-iron just left of the green. And didn't hit very good chip and ultimately got up-and-down again for a bogey. On 13, I hit driver in the left first cut of the rough, had a good lie, hit 4-iron right of the green in the bunker. Chipped out to ten, twelve feet, missed it. Then I parred all the way through until 18 where I hit a driver, 7-iron to about 30 feet; made that for birdie.

Q. Above the hole?


Q. Yes.

PHIL MICKELSON: Just pin-high left.

Q. Phil, are you finding the actual yardages longer than last year? It has been mentioned that the course is actually playing long.

PHIL MICKELSON: I think they are saying the course is playing long because the ball is not running in the fairway, and also into the green, you have to fly it all the way to the pin. You can't plan on 10, 12 yards of roll, if you will. So, it seems to play a little longer. But, in my opinion, it is playing a little easier because you can take that 4-, 5-iron that you might be hitting instead of the 7-, 8-iron and attack the pin because the ball will stop right about where it hits. It is much easier to get at some pins and it has been even with 7-, 8-iron, as hard as the greens have been the last couple of years. So, yes, it is playing longer, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it is playing more difficult.

Q. How much does it motivate you to see the leaderboard with this many big names on it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it is pretty cool, but I think that is the way this tournament -- this tournament tends to lead to that, in my opinion. Because, first of all, you have only winners here, so, guys who are here are guys who know how to win, know how to close it when they get in contention. But, also you have a golf course here that is very traditional and very challenging tee-to-green. And the better players tend to come out at this type of golf course as opposed to a course we normally play that might lead to 16 to 20-under winning. That doesn't tend to favor a guy who can maneuver the ball well and keep it in play.

Q. Phil, the two guys who said that the course was playing real long are both in their 40s. You and Tiger are both in your 20s. Do you think that has anything to do with it?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. Maybe they have played here a number years and remember it playing shorter. But, to be honest with you, I didn't think it was playing any different than in years past. I mean, I might have hit driver couple more holes instead of 3-wood, but I still felt like I was hitting the same irons into the greens and I didn't think that, you know, there was that big of a difference. I hit 8-iron into No. 9 today and I have hit 8-iron into there the last few days, or last few years. I don't think it was playing exceptionally long. I have normally hit 6, 7-iron into 18 and I hit 7-iron in there.

Q. What did you hit at 16?

PHIL MICKELSON: I hit a pitching wedge, but again that is just it.

Q. First two clubs?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, I hit driver, 3-iron. Now, 16 was evident because 16 in years past we have even thought about reaching that green as much as the ball has been rolling. It wasn't even a thought today.

Q. Number 4?

PHIL MICKELSON: 4 was, you know, it is a hole where I lay-up normally anyways. I just hit 3-wood, 4-iron into that green and the pin was all the way back and it was, you know, what I normally play to that hole. I try and play back short of that bunker on the right and the reason is the fairway -- once you get past that bunker, it slopes to the left and you can't keep it on that fairway normally. Today you can probably. So I didn't think it was playing that much different, to be honest.

Q. Is it important to keep playing well between now and the Ryder Cup to you?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, this is my last tournament 'til then. I'll take the next four weeks off, so, I am looking at this as I am approaching this week as give it all I can because I have got four weeks to rest and recuperate and get ready for the Ryder Cup. And, I am not going to be -- I am not worried about being too tired at the end of this week because I do have some time off. But, no, I am not going to be playing every week and worry about how I will play at the Ryder Cup.

Q. What did you do last year, did you continue playing?

PHIL MICKELSON: Last year's schedule was different: It was -- I think I did take some time off after this as well until The Presidents Cup. I did the same thing pretty much at the end of August is when my season kind of ends, I'll play a couple more tournaments but that is about it.

Q. Are you concerned at all about not playing, being off that long, going into the Ryder Cup?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I am not. I think that the more time that I take off, the fresher I come back or the more my -- I am sorry -- the desire, my desire to play is increased. Because of that, I tend to work harder and perform better. I am not saying I am not going to play golf. I am going to play a bunch of golf in that time. It is just not going to be in competition. Other than friendly games.

Q. Combination of things in the last year's win here and 30-footer on the last hole today, do you feel like you have got a little magic?

PHIL MICKELSON: I have a lot of positive thoughts playing here and it wasn't necessarily the case when I first started playing here. The first couple of years here I didn't play very well and struggled in this tournament and then after last year -- the year before last, I missed the playoff by one shot and after last year winning, I have a lot of good memories and I also have a belief that I can score well on this golf course because it is a golf course that requires some patience. It is not a course that you can just attack and expect to go low on. I feel like I have learned how to play it a little bit more conservatively and then attack the right holes. Because of that, I have a lot of confidence at the golf course and when I see some putts going in, like on 18, kind of reaffirms how I am reading the greens and so there is some good thoughts. But, also I don't want to get overly excited over this one round. We have still got three left. But it is cool to get off to a good start.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?

Q. Do you have any thoughts as to why nobody has ever gone back-to-back here?

PHIL MICKELSON: No. How many years has that been?

Q. 1976, nobody has --

PHIL MICKELSON: Last 21 years.

Q. Yeah.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know. It will be kind of nice to end that streak, wouldn't it?

Q. For you, yeah.

End of FastScripts....

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