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July 4, 2007

Phil Mickelson


Q. How is the wrist?

Q. Felt fine today?

Q. If you had to give it a percentage, what would you say?
PHIL MICKELSON: Not quite a hundred, but it will be all right.

Q. How was the course?
PHIL MICKELSON: The course is very difficult. The greens are very receptive. So I think we might see some birdies but it's a very difficult golf course. I think the players enjoy playing a U.S. Open-type venue.

Q. Is the course the reason you played this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I love coming here and playing a U.S. Open-type venue. I had made my schedule up before the tournament was scheduled to come to Washington, and so I had planned on playing through Hartford and Hartford was going to be my fourth one. And because I've missed some events, I wanted to add it when I was able to. And now that the Doc said that I won't be doing anymore damage to the wrist; that I can go ahead and go at it 100%, I wanted to get back out and play.
So I played last week. I've played the last six, seven days probably and have been able to play fairly -- reasonably well and not have to worry about being injured. So I wanted to get back out on TOUR and this is a great place to do it.

Q. Can you talk about how special it is to be playing in the nation's capitol on July 4 with all the military?
PHIL MICKELSON: I love what Tiger has done incorporating the military here. It really is a cool feeling. I think that it is such a great position to be in that Tiger's been in to be able to host an event and to be able to have such an effect on so many lives, as well as the community here with his Tiger Woods Learning Center. It's just such a great asset for the TOUR and the way he's incorporated everyone here in Washington, the community, the military, it fun to be a part of this event.

Q. Do you see this becoming like the Memorial, a real fixture?
PHIL MICKELSON: With the purse increase, we're playing on a great venue, the way he's incorporated, again, the community, the military, I think that this can really be one of the elite events. It looks like it's already starting.
The only reason why a number of players weren't able to play is they had already made their schedule before the tournament had even come here.

Q. Would that change though, if the venue changed and this goes to Avenal?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't necessarily think that that's a negative given that there's going to be some great renovations there and I think there could be some great sites here to host it every bit as good as Congressional, although Congressional is unique itself.
Given there are Amateurs coming here in '09 and '11, it's not feasible to hold a tournament here every year.

Q. Tiger talk about the gift that you and Amy got him and how much he liked it; he wouldn't tell us what was it?
PHIL MICKELSON: We gave him a little miniature ping-pong table. We wanted to give Sam Alexis a little head start. Given that Amy and I seem to own Tiger and Elin, we just thought that our kids have had a head start; we wanted to give Sam and Alexis a little jumpstart on her game.

Q. Do you abuse him in ping-pong?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'd like to think so. Probably not in reality, but I'd like to think so, at least say I do.

Q. Is hosting an event something that you could do down the road?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I don't know if I'm in the position to have an impact on so many people like Tiger does. I think that the way he's utilized that ability or that position that he's in, I think it's been so great for the TOUR and so great for the other players and so great for the communities in which he gets involved. The Tiger Woods Learning Center in southern California is a tremendous hit and has affected so many lives.
This is a natural fit. What's interesting is this is probably the direction that Earl saw from day one, his father. I'm sure that he's sad that he's not able to be here to see it, but I think this is the way his father kind of lives on because this is affecting what his father did in the military and I this is also implementing a game plan that he saw many, many years before.

Q. Tiger was telling us yesterday that he was gratified that you chose to come back at a tournament that he has his name on -- has he expressed that to you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't seen him yet. I think he's had a little bit going on the last two weeks.
I know that when we had our first child, the first two, three weeks were a blur. We hardly remember it. We didn't get much sleep. It was the most emotional experience of our lives and I'm sure it was for them, too. There's just a lot going on.

Q. After your first child was born, did you get back out there? How was it different?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was certainly different. I didn't host a TOUR event. Yeah, there's a little bit more responsibility when you're hosting an event rather than just coming and playing.
I don't remember when my next event was, but it was sure fun to get back out and play because after such an emotional experience; it was almost a calming. You didn't feel the same nerves or nervousness on the first tee.

Q. How different does this feel when you played -- you played at Avenel a few times and obviously this is a dramatic difference.
PHIL MICKELSON: It is. I liked Avenal. I really liked it because there was great risk/reward on the back nine, reachable par 5s, drivable par 4s but water everywhere and bogeys and doubles. I liked the course, but a lot of guys didn't really care for it for this reason or that.
Congressional is just a U.S. Open venue, straightforward, good, hard test of golf and I think that's why so many people are enamored with the place. It's just a wonderful challenge.
There can easily be that same type of challenge on another site here in the area, there are so many great courses here. I think whether it's another course or whether it's renovating the TPC, I think this course or this tournament will find a wonderful home.

Q. What do you remember about it being an Open-like challenge?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I certainly don't like the rough like it was, but I love the green complexes, the distances, the 11th hole, 500-something; 490 par 4 uphill. 6 is 520, roughly. And so I like it where you don't have to shoot six, seven, 8-under par every round to keep pace. More strategy is involved, thought process as well as being challenged physically with your game.

Q. When you reflect back, is it almost better to have not played the other two days at Oakmont physically for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Possibly I could say that but I certainly didn't feel that. I mean, I wanted to play. But I guess I could say that.

Q. Your back nine today looked like Sawgrass on Sunday.
PHIL MICKELSON: The front nine wasn't so great. The difference from Sawgrass is there's less curvature, too. I carved a lot more shots in the fairway at Sawgrass.
I saw Butch Saturday and spent a couple of days with him now over the last four or five weeks and we're trying to get it straightened out so there is not as much curvature and that was more apparent on the back nine today.
But again, this will be a good week to test it because the fairways are tight. There's a lot of great definition with the contrast and color from the rough to the fairways. If I can move it off certain spots can control it, if I can drive it well here, hopefully I can have a chance on Sunday.

Q. Did you watch the last two rounds of the Open?

Q. What did you think of it? What was going through your head when you were watching?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was an incredibly exciting event there at the end. I thought the last four or five holes was some of the most exciting golf we've had all year.

Q. Can you talk about your experiences last time around at Carnoustie?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've kind of suppressed those memories. I'm looking forward to getting back and hopefully having the Carnoustie and everyone knows and loves.

Q. What do you remember from the Open in '97 here?
PHIL MICKELSON: I remember I didn't play that well. I made the cut and just didn't play that well. I remember it was a hard test of golf. But I didn't have a chance, and so it wasn't fun. You want to have a chance to win.

Q. What would it mean to you to win a tournament with Tiger's name on it; would it be a little more juice or fun or bragging rights?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, if he passed out the trophy, it would be pretty cool. (Laughter).

Q. Was it the emotion of not making the cut --
PHIL MICKELSON: Probably. That's it. Probably.

Q. Do you think you'll be hesitant at all out of the rough or will you take a full whack?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm going to be leery all year. It's not like I'm going to ever be confident and going aggressively at it, but I think it will be okay.

Q. What do you see as some of the opportunities for birdie here on this course?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought that 8 and 9 were the two birdie holes. That was it about it that I can remember.

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