home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 27, 1999

Phil Mickelson


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate your patience and waiting. Maybe just a couple thoughts about your round today, and we'll open it up for questions.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we're seeing a lot of guys bunched up on top of the leaderboard, and that's going to lead to an exciting finish on Sunday. I'm glad that I'm hopefully going to be a part of that. I feel like the first two rounds went fairly well, and I put myself in the position that I wanted to be in, where a couple more good rounds should be able to do it.

Q. How important is the, at the level that you guys play, to have confidence on a certain course, and since you've won here --

PHIL MICKELSON: It's a big factor. I think that there are some courses that I've played really well in the past. I think this course has been one, but the International, Castle Pines has been another, for whatever reason, those golf courses set up to a guy who likes to hit the ball high and somewhat -- somewhat out there. I think that I have hit this week more 3-, 4-, and 5-irons than I've hit in a long time. That means that the golf course is playing awful long. And I think that guys who move it out there just a little bit more have a distinct advantage, especially as soft as the fairways have been. I think because the greens have been soft and putting so good -- really, they are as good as I've seen them in the years that I've been here. I think that's why we're seeing a good grouping of players is that it's very difficult to make birdies because the holes are so long. But if you don't hit a perfect shot, you can get up-and-down and you can save par. So we're seeing a lot of pars and very few birdies and bogeys.

Q. It seems like an awful lot of the medium-range putts were being made --

PHIL MICKELSON: I've overread them quite a bit these first two rounds, and have missed by one or two inches on the high side. As soon as I started taking out on inch or two of break, I made a couple of putts there in the middle of my round. I think the greens are rolling so perfect, the ball just tracks. I think a lot of it has to do with the softness. But also, they are in such great shape, you really feel like over a 15, 20-footer, you should make it. And that's not always the case at a lot of courses we play. A lot of them they go hard and crusty, and the ball is wiggling. You feel like you can make a lot of putts here. I think that's why the scores are a little bit lower than we've seen in years past. I think 5-, 6-, 7-under par have won in the past. I would think I would be surprised if that did it this year. Somebody is going to have to get to 9, 10, 11 (-under).

Q. Jose Maria came in yesterday and he talked about Sergio. One of the advantages he had in his mind was that at the age of 19, he's playing with no fear at all. You accomplished a lot around that age. Are you playing with -- did you play with less fear when you were 19 than -- I know you're still a young guy -- than you do now?

PHIL MICKELSON: I certainly tried a lot more shots that consequently have won some tournaments for me, but also have knocked me out of contention a number of times. And so, what I see is that -- I just see a lot of talent and a lot of confidence and a lot of aggressive and smart play from Sergio. I played with him at the PGA, and he just hit a number of good golf shots, and he's a super player. What I'd really like to say about Sergio, the 36 holes I played with him, he is one of the nicest guys you could imagine. I thought he treated me and all the players with a ton of respect; and yet, he came out and played excellent and has beaten a lot of us. So I think that he has -- he's a guy that you enjoy being around. And I think that that's as good a quality to have as his golf game -- as great as his golf game is, he's that good of an individual. I really enjoy being around him.

Q. In the Ryder Cup there seems to be two sides on him: Some people say he doesn't have experience playing Ryder Cup, and other people say, again, he has no fear. Which side do you come down on?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, you know, I would say this: I would rather have a guy that's playing well. O'Connor -- and I don't know how many Ryder Cups he's played in. He's won a bunch of Senior events, and he's been playing great. And he's probably played in, what, eight Ryder Cups? But who would you rather have playing? He or Sergio? It comes down to who is playing the best. And I just think that -- to say a Ryder Cup rookie is just -- I just don't buy that. I think that that's really not -- it's not a fair statement to assess somebody's game like that. It's like saying, well, I don't know. I just -- I don't buy that. I would much rather -- I think it would be much more difficult match playing against him than some of the other players. And I think that also, the fact that they have six or seven guys who have not been on the Ryder Cup is going to make it very difficult for us, because these guys are going to be extremely motivated. They have heard a number of times that they are underdogs, which is ridiculous. You've got the British Open champion, Paul Lawrie, and a guy who very well could have won it also, John Van de Velde, and you've got a bunch of strong players. Just because they haven't played on the team, in years past, guys who have not played on the team have really been their heros. It came down to Ignacio last time at Valderrama. It was his first. In '87 80 Ian Woosnam played phenomenal. It was his first one, he may have played before that.

Q. Peter Baker?

PHIL MICKELSON: Peter Baker. Walton played really well one time. Exactly. They've had a bunch of guys in their first Ryder Cup step up and I think there's a huge motivation to play well. The preparation is intense, and guys play very well on their first one. I played probably my best that I'll play in a Ryder Cup, my first one going 3-0. I just think that that's kind of a cop-out to say that just because they haven't played won they are not going to play well. That's just not -- I don't think there's any validity in that.

Q. In this tournament, does it feel at all because of the limited field, more like a regular event or what?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think, in my opinion, I think this tournament is extremely important to the game of golf, because it is our opportunity to present to the public our best product. This is the best that we have to offer to the fans, who support the game of golf. To take the players who have played in the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup and to put them together in an event, 41 of the guys who are at the top of their game, to present that to the public, I think, is important. I think that we need to have some tournaments like this where every player in the field is the best we have. I think that it's just like expansion football and baseball. The more teams that you come up with, the more -- the more the product gets diluted, because you have to create more jobs and so you reach down to lesser and lesser players. And I think for us to present this product to the fans can do a lot for the players and do a lot for the game of golf, in my opinion. I could be off. But I just think that it's important to take the top of the game right now and present it.

Q. How do you see the atmosphere in what does it feel like to you playing in it?

PHIL MICKELSON: You know, it just feels like a regular huge tournament. It feels like one of the -- this is honestly one of the tournaments that I am more focused on and more nervous to play in. I think that this tournament is a tournament I've been looking towards the entire year. And I really hope and I really believe that these World Golf Championships will become a huge part of the game of golf.

Q. My question is sort of a spinoff of that: You played in one here when the purse was 2.whatever million bucks, and now you're playing in it when it's a $5 million, and $1 million for the winner, and the format has changed. Do you think the pressure was about the same for the World Series of Golf or for this one, do you feel more pressure?

PHIL MICKELSON: I would say that they are similar as far as how I feel on the first tee. The World Series of Golf was always a tournament that I looked forward to, also, because it was a very prestigious event. There was a lot of history that was created here when the tournament was created. When I played it, there was a 10-year exemption on TOUR. That's a huge deal in our game, because we don't have guarantee -- we're not guaranteed to be able to play the following year. To have a 10-year exemption means that I'll have job for ten years. That was pretty big. There was a lot of excitement about this tournament, as there is now, with the huge purse.

Q. Being a Top-5 finisher every year here, and sometimes even better, do you notice a pattern in the scoring after 36 holes? Do you find yourself a couple under par and you've got a target score that you shoot for?

PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't noticed a pattern as far as target scores, but I have noticed that it's very difficult for guys to run away. In '90, Olazabal did, and that's really been the only time in this tournament that somebody has ran away from the field. It seems as though there's always a clumping of players near the top, and because of that, I feel like I don't have to do anything exceptional. I just need to make a lot of pars, and just one or two birdies here or there, shoot 1- or 2-under par and I should be right in contention. I think that makes it a little bit easier for me to get in contention, knowing that, that I don't have to go out and shoot 6-, 7-, 8-under par, and knowing that as good as the field is, they are still not going to run away from the rest of the players.

Q. You used the word "nervous" a second ago. What is the most nervous you've ever been on the golf course?

PHIL MICKELSON: Gosh, I don't know. I think that playing in the biggest events I get the most nervous on the first tee. I think my first Masters was like that. I think my first Open was like -- first U.S. Open was like that and I think my first Ryder Cup was like that, and my first Presidents Cup was like that in '94. And there's just a certain feeling of intensity, excitement, anxiety that just kind of culminates when the first shot is struck. I think that also could be combined into motivation, too. Those also create a great motivation for me to play well and get focused.

Q. The first one of these so-called "super tournaments" is match play, and the next two being medal. Do you have a preference of match or medal?

PHIL MICKELSON: I like the mix. I think there's a place for match play in professional golf. It's difficult. We don't do so much of it because of television, basically. But I think that it's always been part of the history of the game. That's the way it always used to be played. I think for us to have a couple of tournaments like that is good. I think it's a positive testify thing to have thing to have. The biggest amateur tournament that we play is match play, the two biggest. The Western Am is also match play. Because we have one like that, I think that it gives it some credibility. I think that the history that the PGA Championship had as a match play event would certainly separate it from the rest of the majors and make it a much more individualized tournament, as opposed to just being the 4th major. So I think to have match play is a real positive deal. I don't mind if it's match or medal. It seems to be pretty comparable. It probably would make more sense to have this tournament a match play event, because of the fact that the guys who are playing have played in the Presidents Cups and Ryder Cups, and those are match-play events. That would be a little bit more consistent if this were a match-play tournament, but it doesn't really matter which one is which.

Q. You talked about putting, and you talked about how it seems like nobody really runs away here. Does that make it easier for you? Like yesterday, I noticed -- it looked like the first six were a couple of inches, and you would have been 5-under par.

PHIL MICKELSON: I feel like I have to just run the table. I feel like I want to make just a couple birdies and a lot of pars. In the first round, I made three bogeys and that was disappointing. I really need to limit that to zero or one or two at the max. I can make three or four birdies, and I only need to shoot a couple under par per round. That's all it really takes to get into contention here.

Q. You don't look quite as exhausted as Hal Sutton or Paul Lawrie. Are you fairly tired?

PHIL MICKELSON: I only played seven holes today. They were on hole No. 4, I think; so they had another nine holes to play, almost. And I was able to go back to the hotel and take a nap before coming out for my second round; so, I had a little bit more rest. I also think though -- I enjoy playing 36 holes in a day. I feel like if I can get into a good rhythm and a good feel, I have more holes to play, and go low if I'm playing well. And so it could work either way. The other way being, obviously, you get tired and you lose some concentration the last few holes. Hopefully, I'll see you over the weekend.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297