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September 25, 2018

Phil Mickelson

Guyancourt, France

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Mr. Mickelson, welcome.

PHIL MICKELSON: How's it going, guys? The coffee here is unbelievable, isn't it? It's so good.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: That's a big compliment coming from you.

PHIL MICKELSON: The chocolate, the food.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: I'm just going to let you talk, man. Go.

PHIL MICKELSON: Michael, you know what I'm talking about (laughter). (To Michael Collins) I had two pieces of bread last night; I can't remember the last time I did that.

Q. I had two pieces of bread an hour ago.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Phil, great to see you. Playing your 12th Ryder Cup, I believe.

PHIL MICKELSON: You would think that you would get kind of desensitised to it, but I have come to love and cherish being a part of these weeks even more, and this week, especially, with the amount of not just talented players, but quality guys that are on our team, being with them has been so special and fun, and to be part of the team, and along with one of my lifelong friends, Captain Furyk and many of the guys that are our vice captains, it's been a really special week so far and I'm very appreciative to be part of it.

Q. Obviously the European side is going to set the golf course up the way they want it to be. It's obviously very different than Hazeltine. Can you talk about what you saw out there today, and you know, do you feel like that's an advantage for Europe? Or how do you think it plays in for you guys this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's an incredible golf course. I think the consensus amongst all the players is that it's a wonderful test of golf. The setup is as good as it could possibly be. It's just in pristine, immaculate shape, and yet provides a very good challenge that's a fair challenge. I think it's a wonderful test.

At Hazeltine, you saw a lot of birdies. You saw a lot of aggressive play and I think you'll see less aggressiveness, more conservative tee-to-green, but once you get on the greens, they are a little bit flatter and you can really make putts here. You can be aggressive from 20 to 40 feet. I think you're going to see a lot of putts made, and that will be most likely the difference.

Q. With all the work that you've put in to try to get things going in the right direction for this team, with a chance to end the road-losing streak, do you think this week in particular has a chance to be one of your crowning achievements in your career?
PHIL MICKELSON: I would not look at it that way because this is a team event, and this is an event for all of us to cherish and to be a part of, and every person, from the players to the caddies to the spouses to the captains and vice captains, every player plays an integral piece of the puzzle to do well and to succeed.

But because I've played in these events for so long and have never won over here, it would be one of the moments I would cherish the most if we were able to come out on top.

We have a quality team. We have great leadership and opportunity to succeed, but we still have to perform and we still have to go out and play some great golf to achieve that. But if we were to do that, it would be something that I would remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

Q. When you look at the relationship you now have with Tiger and how much friendlier you two have become, how much do you trace that back to the last Ryder Cup and the sort of shared experiences you guys had from being on task force, all the way up to the event itself?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that's a big part of it. I think that when we started to really work together to succeed in The Ryder Cup, going back even four years ago; and then at Hazeltine and last year at the Presidents Cup, those team events where we've worked together, I think we realised that we both have a lot more in common than we thought, and I think that we both have really come to appreciate working together to achieve things.

I've really enjoyed my time with him. It's really been fun.

Q. What did you learn about him that you didn't realise before?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just a lot of little things, little things. The way we go about things and the way we look at things. Our work ethic and so forth; I think the way we look at details. I think our minds work a lot more similarly than what we might have thought, and working together has been not just special but it's been really fun.

Q. You won in México this year, and the people, all the fans are going nuts. Tiger won on Sunday, and the people went crazy. We got all the young guns, like Patrick, winning the Masters; Brooks winning the U.S. Open again. Do you think that golf in the world, but especially in America, is at a peak where it's never been before?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to say. It could very well be the case. I think that what Tiger has done over the course of his career, though, has been remarkable as far as making golf popular and exposing it to so many more people outside the golf world. It was evident last week when he won, to see the response and the way the people responded to him and the way that people responded to the game, and the excitement level, the energy that he brings. You know, he's been playing some remarkable golf.

This is the best I think I've ever seen him swing the club, even going back to 2000, when I thought he was at his best. He's striking it so solidly that nobody was surprised that has played with him that he won, and I think that now that that first win is out of the way, I think he's going to start rattling off some more.

Q. Going back to you having never won over here, what's the -- for you, certainly all the matches are different, but what's the toughest part or challenge when it comes to playing these matches on the road?
PHIL MICKELSON: There's been some things in the past that it's hard to articulate, but I think the people here are very respectful and have been great to us. I think the crowds, as much as they might be biased or partisan, have treated us great over the decades.

I don't think that that's been a part of our lack of success by any means, even though it's more challenging. We've never had an issue where it has affected our performance. We just need to come here ready to play, and I think the FedExCup is a big asset for us. I think it's a big asset for the U.S. players because in the past, we've had six weeks off in between our last competition and The Ryder Cup.

This year, although we might be tired, we might have had a long stretch, our games are much sharper because of our consistent play week-in and week-out heading into this event.

Q. You spoke about your relationship with Tiger. You spoke about how well he's playing right now. It's been 14 years since you two were partners in The Ryder Cup. If Jim came to you and said he wants to get the band back together, what would your reaction be?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think we would both welcome it. I think we would both welcome it.

Q. Any feeling on whether that might happen?
PHIL MICKELSON: I do have an idea of what Captain Furyk is thinking, yeah (laughter).

Q. Could you give us the --
PHIL MICKELSON: What a good looking man you are.

Q. Why would it be different if you were paired with Tiger now versus 2004, and how many more Ryder Cup teams do you have as a goal to make and compete on?
PHIL MICKELSON: So when we go over like little details as to why we were or weren't successful, when I talk about it openly and try to share insight, sometimes it comes across as though I'm taking -- like I'm trying to take a shot at somebody, and I don't want to do that. So I'm not going to go into that anymore.

The bottom line is going to be preparation. When we can eliminate the variables; eliminate the uncertainties, it eliminates the pressure.

So the more questions we have answered well before The Ryder Cup, the more prepared we are and the better -- the more time we have to prepare our games the week of The Ryder Cup.

And so that's probably the best way to answer it. I'd say we would be more prepared, most likely, would be the general answer. But if I answer that, it never comes across -- if I try to share an insight as to why things went well or didn't went well, it always comes across as I'm taking a shot at somebody, and I don't want to do that anymore (laughter).

MICHAEL GIBBONS: You sure? Last question.

Q. Given how well he's positioning the golf club, are you nervous for Thanksgiving?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was talking about it today. Tiger striped it today. I think he missed one fairway for the round, and I'm trying to negotiate a shot a side. It didn't go over very well in the initial -- oh -- discussions or -- but I'm still working on it. We've got some negotiating to do; given how well he played last week.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: You two want to swap positions?

Q. Curious what you're working on. I know you probably weren't very happy with last week.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, the last two weeks have been the two worst putting weeks of the year for me, so I'm going to spend more time with the putter.

It's Tuesday. We have two more practise rounds. I don't want to putt too much time into it. I'm not trying to get fine tuned. I'm just trying to get posture, alignment, basic fundamentals matched up for the swing, so I still have a little bit of work to do. I didn't strike it the way I wanted to, but the last two weeks were the worst putting weeks of the year, and hopefully I can turn that around.

Q. Given you can't count on how many more of these you have as a player, do you find yourself soaking things up more than other Cups?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've always cherished and appreciated every minute of these weeks. I wouldn't say that I'm cherishing it any more. I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally. I think it would mean a lot to our team and to the United States Ryder Cup to have a victory on foreign soil. It's been 25 years.

But it's a very difficult task. We've got a team -- European Team that's extremely talented with some great young players and great experience and great leadership, and although I love our team and I love our players and I love our leadership, it's going to be a very difficult match for both sides.

I think it's going to be close, and something that if we were able to come out on top, it would be something I would cherish the rest of my life.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Phil, thank you as always.

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