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March 2, 2006

Phil Mickelson


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Phil Mickelson to the interview area today. You talked about your putting out there.

PHIL MICKELSON: I putted well today. You can't shoot 6 or 7 under par without putting well. I ended up rolling some good putts in today. It was a fun day. It was a fun start. A lot of low scores, obviously a lot of 5, 6, 7s, but I'm glad to be one of them.

Q. Leaderboard look familiar to you at all?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, Steve, it seems as though this guy, Tiger, seems to play well every day, every week. I'm just trying to keep pace. I'm trying to maybe have another shot at dueling out with him on Sunday, and I'm glad that he's playing well. I've got to do my part and stay with him.

Q. Do you look at the board to see where he is?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't see it today. I don't look too much Thursday, Friday, I tend to on the weekend more. I was walking up on 9, 9 green, or maybe it was 8 green, my 17th hole and saw that he was 8 under and I was trying to get the one on last to pull even with him but I just couldn't quite do it.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: I know the greens are bumpy but I've putted well with them in the past. I spent the last few days working with Rick trying to make sure that the setup and the stroke looks the same from last year. I had to make an adjustment or two but the final thing was trying to get the right speed, trying to get the ball rolling so it has a chance to go in. I ended up making some good 6 footers today, a couple of 10 footers which was nice.

Q. Is that a deviation, since you usually do the putting stuff with Dave?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we don't work on mechanics, Dave and I. We just work on practice routine, drills and so forth. Rick works on my chipping technique, putting technique, as well as ball striking.

Q. It looked like the chip shot on the par 5 was halfway in the hole?

PHIL MICKELSON: To be honest, I thought it was going to run a good five or six feet by. It was a good break and I had a tap in par.

Q. How much is it, with no wind, it's basically defenseless, how much do you need to really

PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's great. There's just nothing wrong with letting us make a few birdies every now and then.

The way the last couple of years, I think the setup of the courses this year have been very fair and very fun to play. And just because there's not any wind doesn't mean that we should go out and make ridiculous pins and trick up the course. It's a very fun test of golf.

With the greens being receptive, without any wind, we're going to make birdies. I think that leads to exciting golf this week.

Q. Does 18 really favor the long hitters for some reason this year?

PHIL MICKELSON: Part of that lake, no doubt about it. If it's into the wind, I don't think anybody is going to be able to get over that water.

Q. What's the carry?

PHIL MICKELSON: 290 over the edge of the fairway, as far left as you want to go. The line I'm looking at, it's 290. Obviously if you go further left, it's longer.

Q. Are you turning that one?

PHIL MICKELSON: I actually draw it there. I turn it, usually depending on the wind, but usually left to right there.

Q. A first round can feel like setting a pace, but today is seemed like a sprint out of the box; how did it feel for you guys?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't sprint, I'll tell you that (laughter). Kind of meandered down the fairways.

But I enjoyed the day. It was a nice day where you know you have to make birdies, but you try to be patient. You have 18 holes to make a bunch of them. Try to use all 18 holes and you'll have a good round.

Q. Do you find coming off your last two tournaments at Pebble and La Costa, do you find the ball flying quite a bit farther in this weather or no?

PHIL MICKELSON: It should. It should. I haven't noticed that much of a difference yet because it was warm at Pebble and warm at La Costa, where usually it's pretty cold. I haven't noticed as much of a difference as I do normally.

End of FastScripts.

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