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June 3, 2018

Phil Mickelson

Dublin, Ohio

Q. Can you talk about the conditions out there today? And do you feel like it was a little bit more gettable than maybe it was earlier in the week?
PHIL MICKELSON: The course is soft, so the ball's staying in the fairway. They're stopping on the green and you're able to get the ball a little bit closer around the greens because of the softness. But the challenge was the wind, because it wasn't consistent, it was kind of swirling. And judging the wind with a golf course that has this much water on it is difficult. So you'll see a lot of birdies because a good shot will be rewarded, but you'll also see some big numbers.

Q. What you do you take away from this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: A little bit of momentum. After that first round I kind of got better and moved up the leaderboard each day. And the game, ball striking and so forth feels sharp. I didn't score that well. I played like hole number 11 2-over par, I gave up four shots there. If I had laid up, I've got to do a little bit better job course management, figuring out how I want to play holes to make easy pars for Shinnecock and some of the other courses. But I felt like I played well, I didn't score as well as I should have.

Q. What do you think the key is, I think you were at Shinnecock earlier this week, what do you think will be the keys to playing that golf course well?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think driving. You've got to drive the ball straight, obviously, in a U.S. Open, you've got to chip and putt. I think that those two areas are going to be huge.

Q. Do you plan on going up there still?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I'll head up there tonight, so I'll spend the next couple of days. It supposed to rain tomorrow, but I'll spend the next few days there. I spent earlier this week there. And that way when the week comes of the tournament, I don't really have to go there and do too much.

Q. Do you think 7 at Shinnecock is a good hole?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's a great hole until the USGA gets a hold of it.

Q. When you say that, are you concerned that that could be the case this time around as well?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm concerned every time they get a hold of it, yeah. But I think it's a great hole. I think it's one of the core designed foundations of a great golf hole. I think that you see a lot of holes replicated off of number 7 at Shinnecock that are spectacular.

Q. If they didn't change the green from 2004 to this year, how do they keep what happened in 2004 from happening this year?
PHIL MICKELSON: They need to measure the green speeds with a halfer (phonetic), what's called a halfer (phonetic), instead of a piece of wood that they lift. And they need to keep it at 12 and a half or less, and if do you that, it's fine.

Q. Did you even play, you didn't play to the green on Sunday there, did you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I know that -- I know that their basis was once somebody 4- or 5-putted, they watered the green. And so it was really important that the group in front of you 4- or 5-putted and then you had a chance, but that didn't happen. We were the group that 4- or 5-putted and then they watered for the guys behind us, that was nice.

Q. Rory yesterday talked about the fact that someone asked him a question, do you think the USGA thinks you guys are better than you are, and he says, no, I think the USGA thinks that, I messed this had up somewhere along the way, go ahead, help me.
PHIL MICKELSON: Let me say this, on a different note, it's always best to do a golf topic with your questions. Shinnecock, when we were -- when I was there last week, I think it's the greatest setup I've seen in a U.S. Open. I think that the fairways are a very fair width, the rough is brutal, it will be as penalizing as a hazard, trying to just get it back to the fairway. But the fairways are so wide that a well-struck shot ends up in the fairway. It's not like in the past where you could hit a great drive, get a bad bounce, and you have no lie. It rewards great shots and around the greens because of the old school grading, being soft, it's not like these big bulldozers with huge pitches. When they make it fairway, the ball stays in the fairway. A lot of times on modern day courses you make it fairway, the ball runs 20 yards away and then goes in the rough. But at Shinnecock it goes away from the hole, but it stays in the fairway and have you a shot. It's a difficult shot but you have a shot. So skill is brought into play with the short game there. I think that this year's U.S. Open is the greatest setup going in that I have seen in my 25-whatever years of playing the U.S. Open. I think that it will reward the best player as opposed to having luck be a big element on some of the bounces in the fairway, bounces around the green, how it comes out of the rough, so forth. Skill is going to be the primary factor this week. It's just a, it's a tremendous setup that I've seen.

Q. Would the fairways have been too wide if they hadn't planted the late fescue?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know because I didn't see it before. I don't know. But just the holes that I saw, a well struck shot was, would end up in the fairway. I thought that the greens were, the greens are difficult, obviously, they're going to be the challenge. But around the greens it was a challenge, they're challenging, but it's fair. Like you could -- you hit a good shot, you'll get it up-and-down. You weren't relying on luck of how it comes out of the rough. I just think it's a tremendous setup, I really do, it's the best one I've seen.

Q. Did you struggle with the old kind of format of when you're in the rough, you got to just knock it out?
PHIL MICKELSON: Six seconds, yeah, so it was just a little bit shy. I did okay with it. I can handle the rough as well as anybody, but it's not as -- there's still a much bigger element of luck to it than if it's, like it is at Shinnecock, where it's fairway around the greens. I actually think you're going to see a few, quite a few under par, especially if it rains. If it rains, you'll be able to get the golf course.

Q. What would you like to see, rain or no rain?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that to make a golf course where even par is a great score with the players today and the talent level, the skill level, the equipment, and so forth, you would have to cross over that line of fair, 5- or 6-under is kind of like that line of where a very fair and hard golf course is. I think we're going to see that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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