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March 7, 2019

Phil Mickelson

Orlando, Florida

Q. First time you've been here since 2013, how happy are you to have this back on the schedule.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's fun to get back here. I've always liked the golf course, I've always had the utmost respect for Arnold Palmer. It's been a scheduling issue because I play so much on the West Coast. But with the PLAYERS being next week this worked out well.

Q. Let's talk about two things in particular that happened to you. We'll get to 18 in second, but first let's go to 10. Tell us what you saw here on the 10th going from the right side for you.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I hit it solid, so I actually thought it was going to get on the green because -- yeah, that fence seemed to stop the ball. I didn't even see it because the ball was underneath the fence. And I was able to get solid contact on the ball first, and obviously I hit it, the fence moved forward enough to grab the ball. I thought I was going to hit the ball first and it was going to get out in front of the fence. I thought I had -- I thought it was going to be fine. I didn't think it was an issue.

Q. Most people might not remember you play left-handed but you're naturally right-handed. How much golf have you played over the years as a right-hander?
PHIL MICKELSON: Enough to do better than that. That was not the -- it didn't turn out the best. But I can make contact with it.

Q. Let's go to the shot at 18. What did you see there with your second shot, it was so beautifully executed.
PHIL MICKELSON: This sets up so different for a lefty than a righty because I'm able to go right at it. And if I pull it, it's going to hook back into the wind. So this is a go pin for me, even though it doesn't normally look like it, because if a right-handed player cuts it a little bit too much it over spins into that right-to-left wind and it comes up short in the water. But for me, if I'm missing it right, I'm hooking it and it goes longer, carries the water. So I felt like that was one I could get at or at least try to get at and had a big margin of error left-to-right if I didn't pull it off.

Q. When you see a golf course in this pristine condition and weather like this, and you see low scores in the morning, what are you thinking about as you go to the tee playing in the afternoon?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I didn't really worry too much about what they shot in the morning because the course plays so differently that I thought anything in the 60s was going to be phenomenal. And I ended up playing really well to do that. So you have to kind of take what you're given. We'll have our opportunity tomorrow, so if we can just keep it in contention somewhat close this first day, tomorrow we'll go out the greens will be a little bit softer, we'll be able to attack, the ball will stop a lot quicker we should be able to hit the greens easier, the greens were kind of tough to hit because the balls were kind of running off the sides.

Q. It's been since 2013, you played awfully well today, hit a lot of good shots. Any difference in the golf course from six years ago?
PHIL MICKELSON: Not too much, no. But the greens were redone at some point, I don't remember exactly when, and some of the slopes were softer. I feel like you can make a lot of putts. They're tough to hit because they're a little bit firmer and the ball's releasing and running. But I've always enjoyed it, I've always felt like the fairways were generous, I felt like they're fairly wide and the front of the greens are open in a number of spots, you can run some shots up if you get in trouble. I've always liked the golf course, it just hasn't worked out schedule-wise.

Q. We're in Orlando, theme park, rides everywhere, the wind blowing on 10, can you take us through there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit a poor drive, I was lucky to have it even be in bounds. I was able to get clear, I thought, clean contact on it from a right-handed shot perspective. I thought I hit it pretty good, but I moved the fence forward enough in my follow through that it grabbed the ball and ended up ricocheting out of bounds. So it happens, and I didn't think it was that big a deal. I actually, I, I've made a lot of doubles in my day, it's one more, it doesn't even hurt.

Q. What club did you hit?

Q. Did you give any thought to taking an unplayable right off the bat there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't think about that, no, because I could have chipped it out left-handed from the other side of the fence sideways, I thought, made contact with my 3-wood or something, and just run it up, had a little wedge. So no, unplayable lie wasn't a thought. I actually thought I could get that on the green, I really did. I had 117 front, flip a 9-iron over, I thought the ball was going to take off fine, I had clean contact with it I thought, and it obviously didn't work out.

Q. Were you trying to go under the fence, through the fence?
PHIL MICKELSON: The ball was already under it. So -- and again, I could get to the back of the ball, so I thought it wasn't going to be a problem. I don't quite know how the follow through got ahead of the ball, you know?

Q. What was your immediate reaction when you saw where the ball ended up?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was surprised because I thought I hit it pretty flush. So it surprised me.

Q. What were you most happy with today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just hit a lot of good shots. It's not easy, it's a lot -- the guys out here are making this course look a lot easier than it is because the balls just run off the greens and you have to hit really solid shots, working it back into the wind to get it to hold. Some very difficult par-3s. It's just not as easy as it looks. So I was pleased that I hit a lot of overall good shots, made a lot of birdies. That's a lot of birdies out there, seven of them, I didn't expect that.

Q. Seemed like a situation where the new rules actually worked in your favor. Were you aware of that one club length part of it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was. That's part of the simplification of the drop rule is the same throughout. So I kind of figured it was, and that definitely helped. I didn't want to play that shot again, yeah. That was helpful.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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