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September 14, 2017

Phil Mickelson

Carmel, Indiana

Q. It was a bonus for that. You got selected by Steve Stricker to get to your 12th Presidents Cup. How much has the last couple of weeks just filled you with more confidence to deliver a performance like you did today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I certainly feel a lot less pressure now. I wanted to get on the team. I was really feeling the heat, because playing well in Boston made it a lot easier. I'm so excited to be on the team.

These guys are just terrific guys and such great players, a real privilege and honor to be on this team. I really wanted to be there. I'm so glad that I am and this week is more continuation of Boston where I was able to get my energy back up, get my focus back up and I think going bogey-free it shows that I'm much more in tune with each shot and really only hit one or two tee shots that I wasn't happy with and then from there was able to recover and play a good, solid round.

Q. You've got Atlanta in mind. You want to get into the Top 30, make it to the Tour Championship yet again. Talk about your driving the golf ball. Despite the drive on, was it 12 and let's say 16, vast majority of driving was really strong, some of the best we've seen this season.
PHIL MICKELSON: 10 and 16. Andrew and I have been working on that. I didn't hit any of those in Boston a week ago and was 5th in accuracy, which is a real novelty for me. I felt like I was on to something. We'll go work on what was the problem on those two swings. That shouldn't happen anymore.

I believe we fixed that and I was able to hit a decent number of fairways and then from the fairway my wedge play and iron play has always been the strength of my game. I was able to make some birdies.

Q. You gave yourself lots of opportunities. Well done. Great stuff. Good luck.

Q. Phil, nice round today. Get some comments on your opening round, please.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's fun to play a good, solid opening round and not feel like I'm having to play catch-up the whole time thereafter. It was fun to get a good day.

I also feel that it was as high as I could have shot today given the number of birdie opportunities I had and how well I played. I did get away with one or two shots. Other than that, I struck the ball really well.

It feels great to be able to have energy throughout the round and keep my focus up. I'm really excited with some simple changes I've made in the last month to get my game back.

Q. Bogey-free means a lot to you.
PHIL MICKELSON: It does mean a lot to me. It means I'm focused, I'm into and I'm dialed in on each shot and playing well.

Q. What kind of changes, swing stuff?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, just more medical, just making a few changes that I was having like the mental fog and I made a few changes and I'm starting to really have some good energy and all the swing changes that Andrew and I have been working on and all the positives that I had last year which weren't showing in my scores this year are -- I think are starting to show now.

I mean it's only been five rounds but after Boston I feel the momentum is starting to kick in.

Q. What has helped the most, being mentally sharp --
PHIL MICKELSON: Visualization on certain shots.

Q. What about putting?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's huge, yeah. You have to be able to get connected to the hole so that no matter how perfect the stroke is if you don't tie in the speed with the line that you've chosen and get it connected to the hole you're not going to make putts and that's one of the things I've really struggled with on the greens is getting connected to the hole.

Q. Which is the story.
PHIL MICKELSON: That's it. That's why I feel like the scoring is starting to feel easy again. Last year one of the things that I was most proud of I had four out of five final rounds that were bogey-free and that's something that I really wanted to build on this year but I wasn't -- haven't been sharp and to play a round bogey-free today is really a positive sign.

Q. Great birdie on 18. You talk about that. Pretty far off on the second shot.
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit a good drive and hit a 3-wood that I thought was going to hang in there and the wind pushed it in the left bunker. I had a terrible lie on the downhill. I think I made that shot look a little easier than it was.

Q. Keegan said you texted him some encouragement yesterday. You've known him for awhile and when he came out.
Are you surprised at the dips he's gone through here in trying to kind of climb back to where it was?

PHIL MICKELSON: We all go through highs and lows in this game. He and I have been on a stretch where we are not playing at our best and we are close to getting it back. I can see in it his game, I can feel in it my game and I really enjoy playing on the events with him.

I really want to be on the Ryder Cup next year, I want him to be on the Ryder Cup next year and I just sent him a little text hey, let's have a special week, we're close, we're playing well, let's put it together this week, because his upside, his potential as a player is as high as just about anybody.

Q. Any thoughts of laying up on 18?

Q. Seriously.
PHIL MICKELSON: I had 260 to the front and I fly my 3-wood 275. I had ten yards -- 270 the carry the bunker. I wasn't concerned about the carry. Just a good 3-wood that was going to take the water out of play. Just directionally to get it right.

Q. The fact you have to wait so long, that doesn't factor into it?
PHIL MICKELSON: It doesn't help because it just takes you out of the -- out of your rhythm and it also let's you overthink and I tried not to overthink it but -- I hit an okay shot, didn't end up in a great spot but it wasn't a bad shot.

Q. Does making East Lake serve as a potential validation for your season?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know if validation would be the word I would use. Certainly encouragement and be a real positive given the lack of results. I won't say I won't have played well but I haven't shot the scores.

If you watch on the range and through the round it looks better than the score is. Now the score in the last five rounds have matched up. So, to make it into East Lake would be great and also great to play the week before the Presidents Cup and help me keep my games sharp.

Q. Your results at a Conway Farms have been okay. How do you feel this course suits you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I actually really like it. I really like it because it's got a nice mixture of holes. It's got some challenging tough pars and some birdie holes that we saw some low scores, I believe Furyk shot 59 here, did he not? It's out there. But we also see a lot of scores over-par because there's some penalties, too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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