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April 26, 2007

Phil Mickelson


Q. How are the greens?
PHIL MICKELSON: They're fine.

Q. Talk about how well you were hitting it, and obviously the end of the round, it didn't finish the way you had hoped. Were you hitting it a lot better, and how much did that have to do with Butch and the changes?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to say, but we're working on obviously driving the golf ball, and I felt that I drove it much better, which was a good sign. Hopefully as the week goes on, I'll improve and get better, and as the month goes on and so forth.

Q. What was the wind like out there today, variable?
PHIL MICKELSON: It wasn't overly difficult. It was a little bit of crosswind and it was challenging, but it wasn't as hard or as strong a wind as we've seen in the past.

Q. Were you surprised at all they didn't disqualify you after you missed the Pro-Am?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, because the rules make exceptions for that, and the Commissioner couldn't get in, either. They closed the airport on him, too, so he got rerouted, as well.

Q. We were wondering if it wouldn't have been possible to come in at like 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. yesterday. Was that at all possible or was that out of the question?
PHIL MICKELSON: We got stuck in Little Rock, as well. They closed down the airport there, too, so the weather moved up that way, as well.

Q. What time was the next plane?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure, but we ended up sitting on the runway for a couple hours and then decided to stay over.

Q. Was it hard coming off 18 and not having Mr. Nelson there?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes. I saw Peggy, and it's great to see her out here. It is a little sad to not see Byron here. I really miss him. I didn't get a chance to see him very often, a couple times a year, but I really miss him, and the game of golf really misses him, too. But I don't think he's very far away from us. We still have all the great memories he's provided.

Q. Can I get your thoughts on what he meant to the game of golf?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I love obviously his record; the way he played was incredible. But I thought the way he acted as a true professional, the way he treated people, he was really a model for everyone to follow.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the changes and what you're working on with Butch?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'd rather not.

Q. Are they working so far?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm pleased so far, yeah.

Q. Butch told me Monday that "I think you'll see a different-looking swing from Phil in Dallas." I said, "That quick?" Does the swing feel different to you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it feels good. It feels good.
I hit the ball well, gave a few shots back in the end, but I was pleased with the way I was playing. I'm looking forward to getting over to Cottonwood and putting together a good round and hopefully getting in contention for the weekend.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 5 over here, how are the greens, 5 being the worst?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, I don't know, they're fine. The hole locations are making accommodations, putting them in the best parts of the green, so it's fine.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the finish? You were playing very well and had it to 4-under. Was it a combination of things?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, just I went over the green with three iron shots, and you know, I don't know what to say. I just over-clubbed a little bit.

Q. Are you surprised that more of the Top 10 players in the world aren't here?
PHIL MICKELSON: Maybe a little, yeah.

Q. Why do you think not?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, I don't know.

Q. It's been said that you have the same reasons as Tiger and a lot of guys to not come this week, but you did come. Talk about why you did come when you had pretty much the same reasons they did not to come.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think there's a lot of reasons. In addition to me coming to show respect for Byron and what he's meant for the game of golf, I think the Salesmanship Club has done a great job of having this tournament stand out. I think that the accommodations are second to none. We have a wonderful hotel here right on the golf course that the players take advantage of, and I think the golf courses here are very fair and fun to play, and I think that next year it'll be even more enjoyable when some of the greens and some of the bunkering and tee boxes get redone. It's going to turn out fabulous. I think D.A. Weibring knows what he's doing, and he's going to do a great job, and I think it'll just make it an even more enjoyable golf course.

Q. You were paired with Vijay. Can you talk about what it's like to play with him and to be in a marquee pairing like that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I enjoy playing with guys ranked in the Top 5, Top 10, and it doesn't happen very often. You know, I can't remember the last time that -- Tiger and I are always on the opposite sides, either late or early or different tees, so I never get to be paired with him.
It's rare I get to be paired with Vijay, and I enjoy it. I enjoy watching him play, and I feel like I learn every time I play with other good players.

Q. Would you talk just briefly about the fast start?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it wasn't lightning, but I was 3-under at the turn. Birdied 14 and just hit some iron shots over the green the last three holes, four holes.

Q. Things were feeling good and --
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, felt good.

End of FastScripts
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