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October 3, 2019

Phil Mickelson

Las Vegas, Nevada

Q. What a nice round of golf. Nice way to finish it off. I thought that 60-footer was down on your 9th hole.
PHIL MICKELSON: It had a good chance; just caught the lip.

But it was a good day. I felt like I just needed to make a subtle fix here or there from last week. Even though I missed the cut, the par-5 play was poor; played today's par-5s 3-under and I shoot a good round.

That was a pretty easy fix.

Q. Yeah, hard to take anything from last week. Really in essence you had one bad hole and you hit fairways today. Is that the new sing stinger you been working on?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well I am hitting just a low cut. Out here the fairways are pretty tight and you can get at every hole here. You can birdie every hole here if you hit it in the fairway.

So I'm just hitting these little low cuts. They're not going very far, but they're in play. My iron play right now is really good, so I just want to give myself chances with my irons.

Q. One thing I have been meaning to compliment you on is your attitude. Last year you were so excited about a new golf ball. You couldn't wait to get out here. This year you reinvigorated with weight loss, swing speed. To be very close to 50, for to you maintain that optimistic and enthusiasm for the game is really impressive.
PHIL MICKELSON: I appreciate you saying that. It's just I love what I do. I have the greatest job in the world. I love playing the TOUR. I love the guys out here. I love the challenge of beating the guys out here. I love the travel, the cities we go to, the courses we play.

And the challenge of playing golf at the highest level brings out the best in me. Meaning, it forces me to get it the best shape, forces me to work hard and to focus on something positive, improving my game. It gives me a direction, and it's been a big part of my life and I love it.

It's a fun challenge for me right now to play my best golf.

Q. Nice welcome back to Vegas with on opening round of 65. How satisfied are you with this round?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was a good round. Got off to good start today. As far as the round, after the bogey on the 1st hole I played some really good golf. I kept ball in play and hit a lot of fairways. Right now my iron play is really good, and so if I continue to give myself chances from the fairways I'm going to hit it close enough to make birdies.

Excited to play some good golf again.

Q. Kind of interesting, the fall schedule. You want to get into a groove. Second event of the season before you go off to Asia. What is the state of your game right now? You mentioned the iron play. What else?
PHIL MICKELSON: I can tell it's a lot better than the scores. I've had an awful six months. Let's separate that for a second. I was very close last week to playing some good golf and I played the par-5s 4-over par. Played them 3-under today and I shoot 6-under, so it was a pretty easy fix. It's an area that is usually a strength to my game that last year was the worst part of my game.

So just fixing par-5s, playing them a little smarter, making birdies on them, and not making mistakes. So of it's been a pretty easy fix. I'm really looking forward the next three rounds. I feel like my game is a lot better again than the scores have been showing. I'm excited to play and play some good golf.

Q. Got to ask about the obvious. Everybody is talking about your fitness, those calves for example. How does that affect what you're like on the golf course and maybe ways it's helped your game?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, when you have calves like these you can't help but have high self-esteem, walk around with incredible confidence. Whether I'm wearing shorts or not and they're hidden I know that they're there, and so I hold my chest out.

Q. But the fitness aspect, walking around the golf course. Are you feeling better energy levels?
PHIL MICKELSON: It certainly has helped towards the end not being as tired I've noticed. I noticed in the pro-ams the last four, five, six holes usually I'm limping home. I've have a bunch more energy. Actually eating less has helped me have more energy. I find the more I eat the more lethargic I get.

It's helped create a little bit better focus to finish the rounds off, so it's been a big part of it. But more than that, it just allows me to be my best and practice a little bit harder.

Q. What were you most happy with today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I drove it well. Hit a lot of fairways. I did that yesterday in the pro-am too. I did it at home. I had a great few days at home practice session. Right now my iron play is back. It was a very weak spot of my game this past year.

It's back to where it has been. My scoring average on par 4s is going to go -- drop and be under par now because my irons are being struck the right distance and much more accurately.

Q. Was that a new putter, mallet putter?

Q. What was the decision there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I always try clubs that Callaway makes. Our product line is incredible, and I always try whatever comes out. Sometime things click and sometimes they don't. Putters is a very hard thing for me to get fitted in. I usually use a mallet or a blade and there are reasons for that, the way I stroke and the way I set up to it.

So it's very hard to get the right look, feel, performance that I'm looking for from a putter because I don't stoke it the same as a lot of guys do. The first few putts I hit with this I noticed a real difference. It was more stable. The guy that makes it for me has the right hosel, right amount of offset, the White Hot XG insert that I love from years ago.

It's got a stability -- doesn't block. Usually those mallets I block them. Don't block that one. I hit them online. And what I found was from six feet in I was much more efficient. For me, a good putting round is making every putt inside six feet. A great one is when you make every one inside six feet and you add a few 12, 15, 20-footers.

I didn't really make any 12, 15, 20-footers today, but I made every putt inside six or eight feet and didn't give away any shots because of that.

It feels much easier to do that with this putter, which is why I've gone to it. Now, I'll go do a little more work and see if I can get my speed on the 12 to 20-footers a little bit better because the speed was off. Started them online but my speed wasn't right, and I ended up not making any of those.

Otherwise could have been an exceptional day.

Q. You've been enduring a frustrating summer. There were good rounds in there. Is it more a case of just trying to put together a whole week's worth?
PHIL MICKELSON: That would be -- I mean, that would be the logical conclusion if you look at the last six months, but you have to throw that out. I've had an awful six months on and off the course, but things are great now and I'm excited to play good golf. It takes a lot less energy, stress to perform well.

I expect to play some good golf. I knew going into this tournament I was going to get off to a start and have a good round. I was patient even after the 1st hole bogey. I'm looking forward to the next three days because I feel like I can shoot some low scores out here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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