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February 3, 2008

Phil Mickelson


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Phil, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the FBR Open. Great work today. You've got to be proud of yourself. You got yourself into a playoff and J.B. just kind of came out ahead.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was an up-and-down interesting day. I had some chances. I had made some birdies on the back to make a run, and I had some more chances that slid by the edge. Starting the day I would have gladly taken getting into a playoff, but I've got to give J.B. a lot of credit for birdieing the last hole and birdieing again to get in the playoff. That's pretty impressive golf.

Q. Did Bones try to talk you out of the 3-wood or 5-wood into 15 during regulation?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wouldn't say he tried to talk me out. He liked laying up but he didn't have a big problem going for it. He knew the situation. If it were a different pin, a front pin or maybe just over the bunker on the right, I would have laid up. But the back left and back right pins I felt like I needed to get back on the green.

Q. You've won this tournament in a playoff, now you've lost it in a playoff. Can you talk about how disappointing that is?
PHIL MICKELSON: I liked the first one better (laughter). It's disappointing because this tournament has got a special place in my heart, and I love playing here. I love coming out and doing well, and I would have loved to have won it again. But I'm happy for J.B. I think he's a credit and a talent for American golf. I think he's going to hopefully make the Ryder Cup team and Presidents Cup team, to be a mainstay on those teams because he's just got a lot of talent.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the conditions out there today, the wind and the weather?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a perfect day for guys to make up ground because it was not easy. There were some tough pins. There was a little bit of cold, a little bit of wind, so it was harder to make birdies. It was harder for the leaders to take off and separate themselves. So it gave guys who were behind an opportunity if they could make a few birdies here and there to move up.

Q. What was your strategy in the playoff? You played it the same way as you did in regulation off the tee?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah. You know, I hit a gap wedge in from there. It's not like I was back there hitting 7-iron. I didn't have a sand wedge. I left the sand wedge out, so I would have had to have hit it far enough to get to an L-wedge number. But I felt comfortable with 3-wood. I hit it well the first time. I didn't want to let the fact that he is going to have 60 yards in affect how I played the hole. But I did figure that he was going to birdie. I needed to hit a better wedge shot. I yanked it or pulled it, and I felt like if I could get past the first playoff hole I had a better chance on 10 and 17.

Q. It looked like you really liked your line on the putt on the playoff hole.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes. I hit it right where I wanted to, and ten feet out I thought it was going to go right in the middle, and it stopped breaking at the rate that it was, and I missed high. But I thought with eight, ten feet to go that it was going to go right in the middle.

Q. What does it do for your outlook for the rest of the year?
PHIL MICKELSON: Nothing (laughter).

Q. No boost, no confidence? You're feeling good going forward?
PHIL MICKELSON: I played okay last week. I played better this week. I feel like my game is improving. I'm looking forward to next week's tournament at Pebble. I feel like I'm starting to play better each round as the year goes on, and I expect to improve my play next week, too.

Q. What was your number going into 18 in the playoff? You said you hit wedge?
PHIL MICKELSON: I had 139, I hit gap wedge. And I had 137 in the playoff and I hit gap wedge.

Q. The missed birdie putts on the back, which one will you think about the most?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I would have liked the eagle. But 14, I hit a good putt and I misread it and I played it just a couple inches of break and it snapped across the hole, and I hit it good with good pace, too, so it's not like I eased into it and it died off. I just didn't read enough break. That putt would have put me in a better position. But I thought that I made the putts on 16 and 18, but they just fell on the lip.

Q. Was there a point where you thought I'm right here in contention? Where was that point where you thought I'm right here?
PHIL MICKELSON: Probably on 16 tee because I had just birdied 15, I was tied for the lead. I knew I was going to be one back because he was going to birdie 13 most likely, which he did. But I felt like the last few holes were into the wind and I'd have a good chance to make up ground.

Q. J.B.'s birdies late, is it particularly impressive to you because of his youth? I would imagine sometimes young players in that position cannot necessarily rise to the occasion like that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wouldn't agree with that, no. I thought that he hit a lot of good shots, a lot of good putts. He very well could have won the tournament outright had the putt on 17 gone in or the chip a little closer. So I was probably fortunate to get in the playoff. But I would have taken it starting the day. But at the end there I would have liked to have won, obviously.

Q. What were you doing while J.B. was finishing up there the last few holes?

Q. The golf course only got to 14-under this week. The last two years it's been 21-under. What was it that made this so tough this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: It played a lot longer. A lot of the tee boxes had been moved back, almost every single hole has been over the years. Fortunately, we didn't play the tips the whole week, but the rain softened the fairways, we weren't getting roll there. I think that was probably the biggest reason it played long.

Q. Did the temperature have anything to do with it, too?
PHIL MICKELSON: It very well could. The ball doesn't go as far with the colder air.

Q. We saw you give the Super Bowl tickets away on TV. Can you talk about why you did that and why you gave them to who you did?
PHIL MICKELSON: He was wearing a Callaway hat. I thought that it would be fun to give it to a father-son. I cherish the time I have with each one of my kids and I just thought it would be a cool experience for them. I wasn't going to be able to use them because my family is in town and we're all going to watch it together.

Q. Are they nosebleed seats?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think so. I think they're decent (laughter).

Q. Before you putted on 18 in regulation were you aware of what J.B. had done on 15? I saw Bones talking to Peter trying so see what had transpired.
PHIL MICKELSON: I knew that they both hit it in the water. I knew they hadn't bogeyed yet, but I knew they both hit their second shots in the water, he and Charles Warren.

Q. Do you think J.B. had a lot to prove today, because he said afterwards he felt like it was a bit of redemption for all the people who had kind of given up on him. Do you think people gave up on him? He won here two years ago. He hasn't done much since.
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I don't think anybody gave up on him, but I think that everybody's expectations are a lot higher than the way he's played the last two years. We expect him to play like he did today or like he did this week, and we expect it to be almost every week because he's got such control over the golf ball. He's got such length, he's great around the greens and putting, and we just expect him to play at that level.

Q. You alluded to the Ryder Cup. Can guys like J.B. and Bubba Watson in match play, can they be more intimidating more so than say a shorter, straighter hitter?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, very well, especially at Valhalla where distance is a big key and the fairways are reasonably fair or wide. And coming into the greens they're all forced carries, so distance can be a big factor there, yeah.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Phil, for joining us.

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