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January 31, 2018

Phil Mickelson

Scottsdale, Arizona

Q. What do you think of today just going around nine holes with these guys?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's really a fun day and it gives the amateurs a two-pro experience. I think that's really good for them and then it gives Brandt the chance this morning to come out and work on his game, it gives me a chance this afternoon to go get ready for the tournament. I think it's kind of a win win for everyone everybody and it's always fun to come back to Phoenix here with such perfect weather.

Q. I heard some of the guys in your group saying, he gave me some lessons, he gave me some tips out there.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we had a good time. They hit a lot of good shots and again, it's just about having fun. I might throw one thing here or there, but we don't get too in depth, we just try to enjoy the day.

Q. What are you looking forward to this season?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I just love what I do. I love playing golf for a living. I love the West Coast and I'm excited to be back here in Phoenix. The golf course is in great shape, we have got great weather, it's just a fun place to play, one of the places I look forward to every year.

Q. You've been top-50 in the world since 1993. What value does that have for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's cool, I don't really think much about it, but I think it's cool and I've got some work to do though, I feel like my game is sharp and yet I haven't scored the first two weeks this year the way I want to or expect. So I'm hoping to put it together this week, because it's a great place to do that. It's one of my favorite places on TOUR.

Q. The strength of this field has gotten a lot better in the last six years, is there one element you might attribute that to?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think everybody appreciates what this tournament is and that is a special week, different than any other that we have on TOUR and guys that kind of embrace that and embrace this environment. And the way the Thunderbirds has made this the place to be this week, it has that cool factor I think a lot of guys really enjoy coming here.

Q. You've been close to Jon Rahm since he started. What do you think about his chances to be No. 1 and also what would be your advice on dealing with expectations?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, he'll get there eventually. He's so talented and to have him do it as quickly as he had right out of college, very impressive. Not only that, he's such a nice guy to be around and enjoyable. I'm very appreciative of him for what he's done for my brother and our family, he's just a terrific guy.

Q. How about expectations? How do you deal with expectations?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, it seems like he's doing just fine.

Q. How do you keep from being frustrated when your game is sharp and you're not putting the scores up?
PHIL MICKELSON: You just have to be patient and kind of slow it down a little bit when the scores aren't quite coming or aren't what you expect, because I feel like the game's been really sharp heading into these couple of weeks, I had two good first days last week at Torrey Pines and I'm going to try to do the same thing here, I'm going to just try to get in it and get in contention for the weekend.

Q. It's hard to believe it's been five years since your last victory here. Does it feel like that long? Are there any memories from that week that kind of sneak up?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to believe it's been that long, because I just, I just look forward to this week every year and I can't believe it's been that long since I've won here. But I cherish every time that I've had success here. I cherish coming down the back nine having an opportunity to win. It's an environment unlike any other and it's just really fun to get in the thick of it here in Phoenix.

Q. You mentioned patience. How do you look at patience now compared to maybe five or 10 years ago in terms of your game?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's really doesn't change much from even when I was in junior golf. You just have to kind of be patient and not try to force too many things if you want to play your best.

Q. What's the perception been like for you with your Arizona State background at this tournament?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's been awesome coming back here. The Arizona State background and the fans here have been tremendous to play in front of and I love the fact that I went to school here and had so many great years of my life spent here in Arizona.

Q. Tell us about your thoughts on 16.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it -- it's unique to this tournament because of the setup of the hole, the stadium affect of it, the sponsors, the number of people out here, I think that it's very difficult to do, nor do I think you would want to duplicate it. I think it's a one-of-a-kind type hole and I don't think anybody else should try to replicate it. It's special in and of itself and other tournaments have done a great job of finding their own identity.

Q. What do you like about ASU's new facility?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's going to be -- I'm very optimistic it's going to be spectacular and allow the college players to play their best. It's such a massive piece of property that, if it's done right, and I know that it will, every blade of grass will be usable and allow the players at ASU to develop their games and play their best golf. That's what the goal is.

Q. Were you personally an advocate of changing this pro-am format?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wasn't involved in it, but I loved it, I did it in Memphis last year and I thought it was really a great thing. Especially in Memphis where it was so hot and difficult to play all 18 holes, it went over really well. And then to do it here, I didn't know we were going to do it anywhere else, I think it's, again, I think it's a win win. I think it's a win for the amateurs because they get a two-pro experience and it's a win for the professionals because they have more time to get ready and prepare for the event. And it also isn't just using the same 50 guys every week, it's using over a hundred pros, so I hope that it takes hold a little bit more, because I think it's a good thing for everybody involved.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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