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June 18, 2006

Phil Mickelson


Q. Talk about the disappointment that you must be feeling.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I still am in shock that I did that. I just can't believe that I did that. I am such an idiot. I just couldn't hit a fairway all day. I just couldn't hit a fairway all day.

I tried to go to my bread and butter shot, a baby carve slice on 18 and just get it in the fairway, and I missed it left. It was still okay, wasn't too bad. I just can't believe I couldn't par the last hole. It really stings.

As a kid I dreamt of winning this tournament. I came out here and worked hard all four days, haven't made a bogey all week and then bogeyed the last hole. Even a bogey would have gotten me into a playoff. I just can't believe I did that.

Q. How is it different with this loss than the last two times when you finished second at the Open considering the success and the work you've made and the confidence and maturity in your game or have you had time to think about it?

PHIL MICKELSON: This one hurts more than any tournament because I had it won. I came out here a week or two ago in the evenings, just spending the evenings on the last four holes thinking that I would just need to make four pars, that there's a good chance if I can just make four pars on Sunday, I could do it. I made a good par on 15, bogeyed 16 and doubled 18.

So it hurts because I had it in my grasp and just let it go. As opposed to somebody making a long putt or what have you.

Q. What happened on the second shot? What was your lie like?

PHIL MICKELSON: I had a good lie. I had to hit a big carving slice around the tree and over cut it, just like I over cut the tee shot and some of the other shots. Obviously, in hindsight, if I hit it in the gallery and it doesn't cut, I am fine. I can still make bogey, even par. I ended up hitting the tree.

Q. You were trying to go around the tree, not over it?

PHIL MICKELSON: Around, yeah.

Q. When it didn't clear, what ran through your mind when you didn't do that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Again, I just couldn't believe it.

Q. Was there something that was right in your eye?

PHIL MICKELSON: I was far enough back where I could move it around and get it up on the green, or certainly by it. I had a nice lie and just over cut it, just cut too quick right in the tree.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: 17 was a little bit easier because I didn't have to move it as much. 18, I had to move it quite a bit and just over cut it.

Q. Were you playing for par on that second shot or bogey?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I was playing for a par. If I would make par, I'd win the tournament. I just thought, "I can slice this." I had 185 front, 201, I think, to the hole. I thought I'd just put the 3 iron on the green, or if not on it, around it, and get up and down.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I didn't have a 3 wood. I carried only a 4 wood. I felt like if I hit 4 wood and missed the fairway, I'd be too far back to do any good, to be able to chase one down there. I just tried to go to that little bread and butter carve slice, like I used at 13 at Augusta and some other holes, and over cut that, too.

Q. What were your options on the second shot at 18? Was one to hit it into the bleacher?

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't think that was an option. I had it cutting around the tree, but just too early.

Q. It was hard to stop, I imagine?

PHIL MICKELSON: It was buried. It plugged in the lip on 16, plugged in its divot on 18. I don't know what happened in those bunkers. I've never seen so much sand all week. Where those balls were, I just had very difficult shots.

Q. (Inaudible) what did you see there and what were you trying

PHIL MICKELSON: On 5? Well, I hit that shot better or can get it better out of the rough than a sand wedge, and I couldn't get a sand wedge back to the fairway it was sitting down so much. I kind of figured that might happen, but I didn't really have another shot at it.

Q. The second shot on 18, how close was that to being a perfect shot, maybe a foot or two?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, it wasn't that close. It over cut quite a bit. It had to go through it. Instead it hit a branch and went right back at me.

Q. How do you think you'll bounce back, Phil?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'll head over to the British and try to get ready for that tournament. This one is going to take a little while to get over. This one is pretty disappointing.

Q. When do you go to the British?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure yet.

Q. (Inaudible).

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure yet.

Q. Do you still believe that your preparation this week and the groundwork that you laid up until about the 16th hole are what put you in great shape?

PHIL MICKELSON: No question, the preparation helped me today. I couldn't get the ball in the fairway and I was still able to make pars, putting it in the right spots and so forth.

Q. You might be calling up Roger Cleveland for another special club?

PHIL MICKELSON: Possibly, we'll see. We'll see what it looks like.

Q. About the Open, you weren't the only one who had trouble coming down the stretch. Colin double bogeyed the last hole, as well. What is it about the Open that creates such anxiety with you guys?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a hard test of golf. I mean, it's just hard. Fairways are tight, they're brick hard. I hit two good 4 irons right in the middle of the fairway, on 15, on 11. Neither one stayed in the fairway. I mean, they were perfect 4 irons in the middle of the fairway. It's just hard to hit fairways here, and I made it look extremely difficult.

Q. We know that every U.S. Open course pinches the fairways and grows the rough. Do you feel that Winged Foot may be our toughest U.S. Open venue because of the severe contours of the greens?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know why it has played out as the toughest venue, but it certainly is the toughest U.S. Open venue we play, and the scores certainly reflect that.

Q. You mentioned that after a major gets over you spend three days in bed. Is that what's on the menu?


Q. When you look at missed opportunity, is it more than that because you had a chance to really write a legacy here as a guy that can win majors and go to the next level?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know why. All those reasons I'm sure play some part. But I think the biggest reason why this is so disappointing is that this is a tournament that I dreamt of winning as a kid, that I spent hours practicing I mean, countless hours practicing, dreaming of winning this tournament, came out here weeks and months in advance to get ready and had it right there in my hand, man. It was right there and I let it go. I just cannot believe I did that.

Q. What will you do tonight?

PHIL MICKELSON: Nothing special. Get home and leave tomorrow. Get back to San Diego tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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