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February 8, 2020

Phil Mickelson

Pebble Beach, California

Q. 22 putts, nine fairways, nine greens, but it was the Mickelson magic around the greens that was so entertaining.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, thank you. I felt like I had a pretty good day with my short game and had some pretty good shots. So it was a nice score, like I scored well today on a day that wasn't easy, the greens were firm, I thought the wind made it difficult, and I ended up playing really well and making a good score, getting up-and-down, holing a couple shots off the green. I did a good job getting the ball in the hole.

Q. I know everyone's going to want to talk about the hole outs, but your bunker shot at 7 from behind the green, I thought that was extra special.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it's No. 2 in my all time greatest bunker shots. So yeah, I made one in the final round at Memorial, Muirfield Village, the old 16th hole from under the lip, plugged, and I holed that one. This one didn't go in, but it was the second best I've ever hit. And it was, I was just trying to not make 5. I was trying to get on the green and just make a 4, give myself a putt at a par. But it came out great.

Q. You've worked so hard on nutrition, technique. Really has to be positive to see some validation of all the hard work.
PHIL MICKELSON: It is. And what's nice is I knew I was playing well start of the year. In the first couple of tournaments I ended up not really controlling my thoughts and my visualization very well, and these last two weeks I've started to see things a lot clearer and execute a lot better without any type of negativity. So I've been much more assertive and aggressive and controlling my mind a little bit better.

Q. What's it like playing with Steve Young?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, he's terrific. He's hit a lot of good shots and he's a fun guy to be around and he understands competition and how to perform at the highest level, so it makes it very easy being in the same group with him and having him as your partner.

Q. And finally, what is it about this place that brings out the best in you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it's a special place. I love the courses. Obviously, I love the way they set up. I read the greens well. I've putted and chipped very well around here on all three courses. But having that history here, having that special connection with Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula through my family going back to the first year Pebble Beach opened, my grandfather being one of the caddies and being able to share last year's experience with my brother, this has been a really a fun family experience.

Q. You always want to make birdies, but is it some way more fun to do it this way occasionally where you hole out from here and you hole out from there?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, you just got to get the ball in the hole somehow. And on a day that was tough, conditions with a lot of wind and firm greens, I thought it was difficult to make a lot of birdies. And I ended up saving some pars and made some good saves and then holed out a couple too.

Q. That bunker shot at 7, you said it was your second best. Where does this chipping round rate?
PHIL MICKELSON: It seemed like my short game was pretty good today, I thought. So yeah, it was a good day. It was a really good day in saving shots and hitting shots, but I'm usually okay with a wedge.

Q. Mark O'Meara talked about being tied with five titles. Have you talked with him?
PHIL MICKELSON: So at last year's Augusta Champion's Dinner he brought it up, sure, and gave me a little ribbing for matching his record. But we're jumping ahead here. We got a lot of golf tomorrow.

Q. What's the one thing you need to focus on a little more tomorrow to hope for a win?
PHIL MICKELSON: I have to do the same thing that I've done previously and just go shoot a good solid final round and get off to a good start and take advantage of those first six, seven holes where you can make some birdies and then carry that momentum through some of the challenging holes and then finish strong with some birdies too.

Q. Did you see any of this coming leading into the week?
PHIL MICKELSON: So I felt like after playing well last week and actually I was playing very well heading into the year even though I didn't get the results the first two weeks and I had some challenges controlling my visualization and controlling my thoughts and letting some negativity creep in. And I had a much better control of my mind and thoughts last week and it's carrying over this week too.

Q. You've won a lot of tournaments, is winning still important at this point in your career?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I think it's what drives me and what really motivates me is the challenge to win, compete and beat such great players in the game today.

Q. Are you going back to what you used to do with the mental visualization or something different?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just the stuff that I've done easily throughout my career and I've just struggled with it a little bit lately.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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