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July 12, 2018

Phil Mickelson

Gullane, Scotland

PHIL MICKELSON: Not trying to dodge anybody these first few days. I have been a little bit busy. I went over to Paris and played The Ryder Cup course. I was over at Carnoustie the last couple of days. I didn't get a practise round here. Just didn't have time. Anyway. Fire away.

Q. Been a bit of a month for you, hasn't it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it's not been my best month, okay. I've had a rough month. I haven't been my best. So I'm working at trying to fix that.

Q. Do you have any regrets then about what's happened the past month?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, sure. I made a big mistake and you know, I wish I could take it back, but I can't. Yeah, it wasn't a great moment and I wish I could take it back, but there's not much I can do about it now other than just try to be -- act a little better.

Q. You got a warm Scottish welcome on the first tee. How pleasing was that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I love it here and I've had some of my best moments here right down the road at Muirfield was one of the highlights of my career, the greatest accomplishment of my career. The people here have made the experience here very special.

Q. The American golfers always talk about how knowledgeable the British crowd is with respect to golf. With that in mind, are you worried that you may have to win them over again this week and next week?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, the thing -- I don't know. But the thing about this is throughout my career, 25 years, there have been a lot of times where I have had to be accountable for decisions I did not make. And the reason why this has actually been easier, it was my own fault. Like this was my own fault.

So the articles and the things that -- what is it, the flat -- what is the word I'm looking for, the backlash, the backlash is my own fault. So it's much easier to deal with than some of the times where I have not been involved in the decisions and had to deal with that.

Q. Do you have to work harder now to try and get your reputation backup to what it was previously then?
PHIL MICKELSON: Maybe. I mean, if you want to focus on the worst moment in a 25-year career, if that's -- there have been, you know, four or five really bad moments, and it's easy to focus on those.

Q. Tends to be those that tarnish a career?
PHIL MICKELSON: Could be. But it wasn't the greatest decision.

Q. When you look at conditions like this where it's this firm and fast, do you feel like that gives you an advantage, just based on what happened at Muirfield and your experience?
PHIL MICKELSON: I would say that when it's windy, it really is an advantage for me because drivers are not necessary. In fact, they are not encouraged, because you get the ball up in the air.

A day like today where you can throw the ball up in the air and a lot of guys are hitting drivers, it doesn't really -- the ground isn't as important. But when it gets windy like it was at Muirfield in 2013 and the ground was firm like it is this year at Carnoustie, in 2013, it's very advantageous for me because I don't have to hit drivers. I can hit long irons, and I can get the long irons on the ground as quick or quicker than anybody.

Q. Any update on your potential match with Tiger?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, but hopefully in the next week or two. I think we're close to having some stuff finalised.

Q. Do you think the backlash has been over the top?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, like I say, it's much easier for me to deal with it because it was my own fault rather than dealing with somebody else's decision. You know, you have to be accountable for yourself. I do a lot of dumb stuff, right. I remember, you know, I had that rules deal at Greenbrier last week, right. Well, last year at Greenbrier, I picked up my ball in the middle of the fairway, marked it and cleaned it.

I have these like just moments where I, like in a cloud, if you will, I'm not really sure what I'm doing or I'm just kind of going through the motions and not really aware at the moment, and I've done that a bunch in my career. I've picked up the ball and marked it and cleaned it, probably four or five times after -- the first couple days was lift, clean and place and I kept doing it.

I keep doing stuff like that. That's the way my mind works.

Q. Are you grateful for the Scottish crowd, the welcome they gave you? Were you nervous about what the reception would be?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wasn't, when I came here, when I was over at Carnoustie, people were great. I wasn't nervous. I didn't know that I should be. I think most people realise, you know, we all make mistakes and that wasn't -- that was certainly one of them.

Q. One of the confusing things for people is that you said after the round at the U.S. Open on Saturday that you thought about doing it a lot of times before, and that indicated that maybe it was premeditated what you did or deliberate?
PHIL MICKELSON: Not only was I not great on the course, I was not great after the round, either. So it was just not a great day, and it was my birthday. So I tend to do dumb stuff on my birthday, too.

Q. Where do you think the reaction came from at your reaction, because you almost went on the attack and told people to toughen up.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, at the time, and it took me days -- I was pretty angry. I'm not -- the way I show anger is not the traditionally accepted way of, you know, throwing clubs and berating the fans and marshals. I tend to be a little more passive aggressive in my actions, and that was kind of what I was doing.

Q. Were you angry at the USGA?
PHIL MICKELSON: There was just a bunch of stuff. But I had to let that go. Took me a few days to kind of let it go.

Q. What do you think about Le Golf National as a Ryder Cup venue?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's phenomenal because it's got the best viewing of any golf course I've seen, as well as the risk/reward, the last four holes are spectacular, 15, 16, 17, 18, I think is going to be some of the best viewing and best environment for the end of Ryder Cup Matches. I think it's going to be wonderful.

Q. Will it play for any team?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm sure it could, and I would expect that the European side would try to set it up in a way that they thought was advantageous to them. What's nice for me there is, again, like links golf, not a lot of drivers there, and that helps me.

Q. How important was it to actually make a trip? A lot of times Americans don't go to the venues beforehand.
PHIL MICKELSON: The reason I thought it was important and I got a lot out of it was it gave me advance warning as to club setup, what clubs I'm going to be hitting there. It gives me a chance to work on the shots I'm going to be hitting. Most importantly, the tee shots, and I have a much better idea of what clubs I want in my bag for that week. There's very few drivers there, if any.

Q. It was suggested yesterday it would be more interesting your match with Tiger if you were playing for your own money -- or will it be a sponsor?
PHIL MICKELSON: I would hope for a sponsor (laughter).

Q. What do you think of Carnoustie?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was incredible. I was really excited with my time there because I think I got to see Carnoustie for its greatness, and it's firm and fast, and the bunkers were in play and very hard to avoid. The first time I ever played it was '99, and it was a rough week. The course wasn't setup its best, and this week it is. I think it will be one of the best Opens.

Q. Will you carry driver in the bag?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's unlikely. I'm either going to carry a driver or that hot 3-wood, but there's only two or three holes -- there's actually only two holes I plan on using it, both par 5s. I don't see me hitting -- I see me hitting a lot lower shots. I have kind of a low 1-iron that I've been putting in the bag and if you notice, I'll hit it probably five or six times out here today and it's very low. Gets on the ground quick. I'll hit that on probably the last ten holes, almost every hole.

Q. Where could you place 18 in terms of scariest Open Championship holes?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, we all saw tragedy there and we know what it's capable of. It's one of the scariest because there's so much trouble everywhere. You know, you have water right, you have water left, you have the rough, you have water short, out-of-bounds left is a major factor. There's just a lot of trouble everywhere. That's a tough hole.

Q. Since México, you haven't played as well as you were going in. What have you been working on and where do you feel your game is going from here?
PHIL MICKELSON: My ball-striking actually feels pretty good. My game doesn't feel far off but I haven't been sharp. I haven't been real sharp, kind of like today. I'm playing fine but I'm not real sharp. That's kind of the only word I can think of.

So that's where I'm kind of -- that's what I'm kind of working on.

Q. And your putting?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've had a great putting year. I mean, phenomenal. In the statistics that I care most about, I'm in top five in just about every one of them, so my putting has been phenomenal.

Q. Have you had a think about things since the U.S. Open, since last week, about maybe tuning in a little bit more to the rules and what's going on?
PHIL MICKELSON: Like I said, I have mental lapses just -- it's been throughout my whole life. It's not like it's new. That was just one of the worst ones.

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