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February 11, 2018

Phil Mickelson

Pebble Beach, California

Q. Back-to-back great weeks. I know probably you're thinking lots of missed opportunities, but overall what's your take away from two really good performances?
PHIL MICKELSON: This has been a really fun week. I had a great partner, Jimmy Dunne. We had a fun first three rounds and I gave it a shot there on the back nine and it was a good solid round. It wasn't enough because Ted's been playing so well. But it was nice to feel the nerves and to make a couple birdies coming in down the stretch.

Q. Moving forward to L.A. we heard a lot of players at the beginning of the season talk about the importance of really proving that they can be in the mix early. You've done that. What's it going to take for you to really step through?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think it's going to take much different than the way I played the last couple of weeks and Riviera is a golf course that I played very well in the past, I like a lot, I know a lot of the nuances in it. If I drive it the way I've been driving it, strike it the way I've been striking it, it's a perfect course for those that are striking it well. And right now I'm hitting it as well as I have in a long time.

Q. Good play out there.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. It was fun to play a good round. Had a great week though, we had perfect weather here, I had a great partner in Jimmy Dunne and had a lot of fun this week. It was nice to make some birdies coming down the stretch. It's a little disappointing it wasn't enough, but it's another great week here at Pebble Beach. And I'm appreciative of AT&T and all they have done to make this such a great week.

Q. You feel good about your game and I'm guessing now heading to a place next week that you feel really good at as well, you're excited?
PHIL MICKELSON: I am. Riviera is a great ball-striker's golf course. And if you drive it well there, the second shot is where Riviera thrives and challenges you. And I'm driving it as well as I have in a long time and if I continue to strike it the way I have, it's going to be another good week. And I can't wait to get started.

Q. I asked you yesterday about what it took to get it done. You talked about the front nine. How did that go for you overall and obviously the back nine was great?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a little different wind today than we had yesterday and I thought that the back was going to play a little easier than the front. I didn't get off to as great a start as I wanted to. I was even through 5, but the birdies on 6 and 7 got me back into the, to where I felt like I had a chance. I had opportunities on 10 and 11 that didn't quite go. But the back nine, I made a few good birdies coming down the stretch there on 14, 16, 17 to feel the nerves again. Unfortunately it's not enough, but it was a great week, a lot of fun, perfect weather and really had a great time.

Q. Extremely aggressive approach on 18. In your mind at that point was it eagle or bust?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wanted to give myself a good luck at it. I knew that the green was firm and I wasn't going to be able to get it too close. I had the -- I hit a really great drive, I had 5-iron in, and I was trying to turn it left-to-right, which I did, but I overturned it a little bit. If I had landed it about five yards less on the front edge, I think it would have given me about a 20- to 40-foot look and you never know if those could go. If so, it might be a different story. But unfortunately I pulled it in the bunker. And usually in years past it's not a very hard up-and-down, but it's very difficult today with as firm as the greens are.

Q. Four weeks out, what are the biggest strides you've made?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've played very similarly all four weeks, but I've had much better results these last two. By simply kind of getting out of my own way. By that I mean not worrying so much about technique and start getting into the rounds, playing and hitting shots and having fun and trusting all the work that I've put in the past a couple years getting my technique where I want it, is now where I want it and to trust it. That's what I was saying to myself on 18 when I had to hit the fairway with a drive and I hit the best drive of the day. So I think I'm going to try to take this momentum and carry it over into next week at Riviera and see if I can improve on it just a little bit.

Q. Have you played with Ted at all and what does it say about the game. The guy hasn't played on TOUR in a couple years and comes out --
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't but I think Pebble Beach and Augusta are left-handed golf courses. I think that's obvious.

Q. Is it about the driver for you right now? If you hit the fairway, the rest of your game is where you pretty much want it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Almost. Certainly when I drive it well I'm playing to the strength of my game, which is my iron play. But distance is also a factor too. I've really had to increase speed to hang with a lot of the younger guys. And fortunately I've been able to increase my club head speed about four miles an hour. So although I'm not going to be with the longest guys out here, I'm in the top third again and I feel like I can compete from there.

Q. Obviously taking a week off after next week --
PHIL MICKELSON: Then I'll play Mexico. I'll go down to Mexico City. Then I'll have a couple weeks off before I start the run to Augusta. I'll probably play Match Play, Houston and then Augusta.

Q. (No Microphone.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I think the field's going to be strong and hopefully we can have conditions like we had this week, because this is very close to U.S. Open conditions with the firmness of the greens. Maybe the fairways are a little bit wider than the U.S. Open will be and maybe the rough is a little -- not as thick, but the shot value into the greens is what we'll probably see. So I think we'll see a really strong field and probably all the best players compete.

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